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What is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The following information was taken from the VA.Gov VA Web site. It represents the newest information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill Education veteran benefit.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after September 11, 2001, or individuals discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 days. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill became effective for training on or after August 1, 2009. The amount of support that an individual may qualify for depends on where they live and what type of degree they are pursuing.

Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, and vocational/technical training. All training programs must be offered by an institution of higher learning (IHL) and approved for GI Bill benefits. Additionally, tutorial assistance, and licensing and certification test reimbursement are approved under the Post- 9/11 GI Bill.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill will pay your tuition based upon the highest in-state tuition charged by an educational institution in the state where the educational institution is located. For more expensive tuition, a program exists which may help to reimburse the difference. This program is called the “Yellow Ribbon Program”.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill also offers some service members the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill to dependents, for more information see the link below.

Any member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted) on or after August 1, 2009, who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and:

• Has at least six years of service in the Armed Forces on the date of election and agrees to serve four additional years in the Armed Forces from the date of election.

• Has at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or selected reserve) on the date of election, is precluded by either standard policy (service or DoD) or statute from committing to 4 additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute, or

• Is or becomes retirement eligible during the period from August 1, 2009, through August 1, 2013.  A service member is considered to be retirement eligible if he or she has completed 20 years of active duty or 20 qualifying years of reserve service.

• For those individuals eligible for retirement on Aug. 1, 2009, no additional service is required.

• For those individuals who have an approved retirement date after Aug. 1, 2009, and before July 1, 2010, no additional service is required.

• For those individuals eligible for retirement after Aug. 1, 2009, and before Aug. 1, 2010, 1 year of additional service after approval of transfer is required.

• For those individuals eligible for retirement on or after Aug. 1, 2010, and before Aug. 1, 2011, 2 years of additional service after approval of transfer are required.

• For those individuals eligible for retirement on or after Aug. 1, 2011, and before Aug. 1, 2012, 3 years of additional service after approval of transfer required.

Eligible dependents

An individual approved to transfer an entitlement to educational assistance under this section may transfer the individual’s entitlement to:

• The individual’s spouse.

• One or more of the individual’s children.

• Any combination of spouse and child.

A family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits, at the time of transfer to receive transferred educational benefits.

A child’s subsequent marriage will not affect his or her eligibility to receive the educational benefit; however, after an individual has designated a child as a transferee under this section, the individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.

A subsequent divorce will not affect the transferee’s eligibility to receive educational benefits; however, after an individual has designated a spouse as a transferee under this section, the eligible individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.

Nature of transfer

An eligible Service member may transfer up to the total months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, or the entire 36 months if the member has used none (unless DoD/DHS limits the number of months an individual may transfer).

Family member use of transferred educational benefits is subject to the following:

Spouse:

• May start to use the benefit immediately.

• May use the benefit while the member remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.

• Is not eligible for the monthly stipend or books and supplies stipend while the member is serving on active duty.

• Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member’s last separation form active duty.

Child:

• May start to use the benefit only after the individual making the transfer has completed at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces.

• May use the benefit while the eligible individual remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.

• May not use the benefit until he/she has attained a secondary school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or reached 18 years of age.

• Is entitled to the monthly stipend and books and supplies stipend even though the eligible individual is on active duty.

• Is not subject to the 15-year delimiting date, but may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age.

DAV vans

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) organization is running a VAHC van from Durango on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call Mike Dunaway, 247-2198, and from the Farmington area on Mondays and Wednesdays, call Harriet Mulnix, (505) 793-1782.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 1970 E. 3rd Ave. Durango, CO 81301 (the old Mercy Medical Center). Phone number is 247-2214.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans’ benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at the Senior Center in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Blvd. The office number is 264-4013, the fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.