GI Bill Versus Voc Rehab: Why Not Use Both?

one life two roads

by Levi Newman on June 16, 2011

For the past couple years, I’ve been getting questions from veterans who qualify for both the GI Bill and Voc Rehab. Usually, these vets that write me want to know which program has the better deal. Personally, I’ve used Chapter 31 Voc Rehab to fund my undergrad, law school, and now know just enough to be dangerous. Now, the answer to the question of which is better has changed with new legislation governing the GI Bill.

So the answer is… Veterans will be able to use both programs at the same time as of August 1, 2011, according to the VA National Call Center. This does not mean you can get both stipend and funding amounts simultaneously. It means a veteran can opt for the BAH stipend of the GI Bill while using Chapter 31. This is potentially the best of both worlds. You receive $1300 per month for living expenses, full tuition and fee coverage, a computer and related equipment, and you get job placement counseling after completing your degree.

First, in order to qualify for Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation the veteran must have an employment handicap and a 20% disability rating. Disabled veterans with a 10% rating can apply but they must have a “serious employment handicap” to qualify. The difference between these two classifications is somewhat subjective and depends largely on the opinion of the Voc Rehab Counselor. Once you apply for Chapter 31 and are approved, you will have some decisions to make if you still have GI Bill eligibility remaining.

Again, this option is only good as long as the veteran has available Chapter 33 eligibility, up to 36 months. Once that entitlement is used up, the stipend will revert to the measly $554 per month for a single veteran from Chapter 31. Generally speaking, most veterans can only receive up to 48 months of educational benefits. In theory, this means you can use up 36 months of GI Bill benefits and still receive 12 months of Chapter 31 Vocational Rehab.

Problems tend to arise when veterans try to jump from the GI Bill to Voc Rehab (as opposed to starting the educational process while in Chapter 31), because Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors have specific guidelines they must follow. This means veterans are not free to study whatever they want. Ultimately, the counselor has the final say. Many veterans see this as a usurpation of their ability to be independent adults, and they are right. On the flip side, if you can play the Voc Rehab game well enough, you may be eligible to receive even more benefits beyond the 48 months.

How do I know this? I personally have been approved for 80 months of training and will finish my law degree in two years. You can read more about extended educational benefits here.

Good luck!

Photo thanks to koalazymonkey under creative common license on Flickr.

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Bertha Villanueva June 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Does this also apply to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

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Ben Krause June 16, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Hi Bertha ~ as far as I know, this only applies to Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill. Veterans eligible for both the Chapter 30 MGIB were already able to opt for that program while using Chapter 31 Voc Rehab. Supposedly, the only difference was that the old GI Bill folks would not be able to use the full tuition payment portion of Chapter 31. Regardless, most vets using Chapter 30 are gone since that program only lasted for 10 years, and it’s been almost 10 years since 9/11. Hope this helps.

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Corie McWain July 22, 2011 at 9:48 am

I am a disabled vet with a 30% rating. I am currently getting my undergraduate degree with the post 9/11 GI Bill but I only have about 9 months left of remaining benefits and almost a year and a half of my degree to complete. Is it possible for me to use Voc Rehab when my GI Bill benefits run out?

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Audrey Beebe August 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Corie, the short answer is yes. It is possible. The long answer is how to get it accomplished. This page has a few articles written by Ben :http://www.disabledveterans.org/category/vocational-rehabilitation/ These tell some more specifics about voc rehab. Using voc rehab benefits himself to go to law school, he knows much more about exactly how to use both the GI Bill and voc rehab.

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Shawn August 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I am 60% with SMC. I have used all 36 months of my Chapter 30 and I have 9 months left on my Post 9/11. I have an employment handicap that makes my current employment hard to perform. I have been denied Voc Rehab twice because they said I make way too much money. To make matters worse, I can’t even get the counselor to return any phone calls. What are my options? thanks in advance….

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Justin Taylor October 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Talk to a lawyer in your area. Some lawyers that are also veterans, will provide you free services to fight the VA/military.

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Michael G. March 11, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Shawn, contact an organization like the Disabled American Veterans and let them know of your condition. They have helped me plenty in the past with issues pertaining to the medical side of the V.A.

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Audrey Beebe August 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Shawn, your best option, and the popular one of late, is to visit your congressman/woman. If the policies are straight about income and they’re telling the truth about your income being too high, the least you can get is a good solid answer instead of avoided phone calls.

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LaQuan August 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

So I can use my post 9/11 GI bill and Voc Rehab at the same time. Who exactly do i talk to about trying to do this? I would like to use my post 9/11 to get a degree and the voc rehab to get IT certifications (such as Microsoft, Comptia, or Cisco). Is this possible with that scenario?

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Michael G. March 11, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I strongly suggest that if you haven’t resolved your question on your own, to read the following the link in detail…

http://www.military.com/education/content/gi-bill/guidance-for-choosing-between-gi-bill-programs.html

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Audrey Beebe August 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

LaQuan, First, you do have to be eligible and qualify for Vocational Rehab. You need to prove several things, as mentioned in the article, such as an employment handicap. Visit here: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/ . This page has some questions and answers to some who and how too questions for Voc Rehab, as well as a link to let you apply online.

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Nate August 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

Hi,
I have completed 4 years of education using Chapter 31 (VocRehab) Would I be eligible to for the post 9/11 GI Bill. I really hate my degree and I cannot presently find a job. I thought going back to school would be a good idea considering the present economical circumstances.

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Audrey Beebe August 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

Nate,

If you still have GI Bill eligibility, there is nothing preventing you from using it. Talk with your Voc Rehab counselor, or contact the GI Bill people http://gibill.va.gov/contact/ to find out if you still have eligibility.

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Michael G. March 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Audrey to correct you previous statement, there is one thing that can prevent anyone from using their G.I. Bill. It’s not a common occurrence but the term of importance is the “delimiting date”. In essence, your G.I. benefits will expire if not used by this date. Each and every person must determine what this date is and to exhaust all of their education benefits before their delimiting date. For my information, please visit this following link… http://www.military.com/education/content/gi-bill/guidance-for-choosing-between-gi-bill-programs.html

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Jason August 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Hi I’m currently getting my undergraduate degree at Columbus Technical College and I’ve been using my post 9/11 for only 3 months so far. I want to work but i have a 70% rating and my injury prevents me from doing a lot of jobs out there. I want to major in gaming design. I just applied for the Voch rehab and after i didi it one of my fiends told me that once i use the vouch rehab then i can’t use the go bill 9/11. I’ve read some of the posts on here and i just want to know if it is possible for me to use both and use the voch rehab to get certifications in certain areas to apply for a job that is suitable to my injury. Thank you in advance.

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Michael G. March 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

When I made an appointment and spoke with a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) counselor in January of 2010, you were unable to use Chapter 30/33 and Chapter 31 at the same time. It is known to the VR&E as “double-dipping”. My suggestion to you is to make an appointment with your local VR&E counselor and ask them these questions. If you feel that what they are telling you may be false, ask them from documented proof. If they cannot furnish such proof, it is more than likely that they are lying to you. Good hunting.

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Daniel August 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Hello I was wondering I have currently been using the post 9/11 gi bill for the last 10 months. Is it possible to stop the gi bill and use voc rehab. I am a junior pursuing my undergraduate degree and I want to go to law school after. Is there any way possible to work it to where the VA whether it be GI bill or voc rehab pays for all of this? Any help is better than no help please respond thank you

Daniel

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Audrey Beebe August 29, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Jason and Daniel, I have emailed both of your questions to Ben. He knows much more about the details of how to use both the GI Bill and Voc Rehab benefits. You should hear back from him.

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Rob August 31, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Hi Ben, I am a 40% disabled vet using going through vocrehab now. I have just started and currently fall under chap 31 with the $500 subsistence rate. I have seen that I am now eligible for the chap 33 subsistence rates without giving up my chap 31 benies. My problem is that I am not sure how to get the higher rate. I started the the application VONNP but that appears as if I am changing benies. Am I doing it right? My voc rehab councilor has been relatively unhelpful or does not know.
Thanks for your help and service.

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Audrey Beebe September 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Rob,
The internet seems absolutely devoid of any “how to” on this. (and normally I can find anything!) Use this map to find your regional office, and ask for the number for the regional education office. Ask them. Sorry that I cannot find any information to help on this.

If you get a good answer, please, let us know.

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Lance September 1, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I am 60% SC. I was an MP and currently a police officer. We have recently had a large influx of Somolians and middle easterners in my town of 13000. I cannot stand dealing with these people again and I assume this is due partially to my PTSD somehow. Just to mae sure I understand this right. I can get Voc Rehab if approved, and they may send me to college. And if I go to college I could get my Post 9/11GI Bill BAH? Is there any health insurance available for my family if I enter Voc Rehab?

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Will November 18, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I don’t see how a large influx of Somalians to your town pertains to this question… So long as you have GI eligibility left (36 months) it will apply to your Voc Rehab (usually 48 months), once the 36 months are out, it will revert to the subsistence payments.

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Audrey Beebe September 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Lance,

As long as you are also eligible for the Post 9/11 BAH, you can use it while using Voc Rehab regardless of if they send you to college as part of the Voc Rehab program.

Unfortunately no, there is not a health insurance program specifically for veterans and their families using voc rehab.

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Tiepo Si September 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Hey .
My VRC told me that my subsistence will be $1,100 on top of my salary .I need to know if I will be able to have a salary while going to school .
My mortgage is $1,700 and I have have car’s note of $400 ,my cell phone is $200 ,my food is $700 ,my insurance is $160 .In one word, my cost of living is $ 3,800 each month .
I need to know if VOC Rehab will be able to help me out .
BAH in my location is $985.
Respectfully .

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Sam Filion June 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

With all due respect, the VA is not here to pay your bills. They do not owe us! why would you have a car that is $400 a month? too many people geting the post 9/11 gi bill feel entitled. Before 9/11, veterans barely got enough to go to school. It is a privilege to be able to have these benefits and it’s too bad that vets abuse the system and take away from other vets.

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Kevin S. April 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Sam, the price of freedom for our nation is incalculable and many of us sacrificed our share to provide it for all. Why start a post of with “with all due respect” then say something so blatantly disrespectful? All who qualify for the post 9/11 GI Bill earned it. Anything of value we earn, we are certainly entitled too. No one gave him this benefit, it was earned. If you own a home with a mortgage the bank actually owns it until you pay it back, are you entitled to live there if you pay your mortgage on time? Yes. Its a contract that the bank must honor. GI Bill is also a contract that must be fulfilled.
You are a complete douchebag. I bet you are or will collect Social Security when your time comes as if you are entitled to it. It, like the GI bill is a contract made between us and the government that must be honored. It is not a privilege as you imply.
I wish evil cold hearted SOB’s like you pass away on the day your first SSI check hits your bank because you are a hypocrite and would actually accept the money and gripe at the very government that gave it to you, or did you earn it?
Before 9/11 we had VEAP and it was plenty to go to school on. I put in $2,700 and for that received $27,500. I think that’s plenty. Viet Nam era got nada, WWI and WWII got barely enough pay to feed a family and got drafted. Do you really want to make asinine comparisons just to prove how unhappy you are with your pitiful life. Miserable people make people miserable. Crawl back in your hole.

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Audrey Beebe September 12, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Tiepo,

If by “will I be able to have a salary” you mean, “can I have a job while going to school,” then the answer is yes. If you can manage to maintain quality schoolwork and a job at the same time, that’s awesome. If you’re asking if VOC Rehab will be able to also pay you a salary, no, that’s just not how it works.

Some veterans find that their education benefits just plain don’t cover the cost of living. I am personally in this situation. If I had zero bills, and ate less than a kitten, I’m sure I’d be fine. Unfortunately that is just not reality. I work a part time job, but also take out federal student loans. Combining the GI Bill, student loans, and a part time job, is simply the only way I have found to pay bills. (The only “necessary” bill is the cost of taking care of my dog.) A similar path could be an option for you. Remember that colleges often offer scholarships and grants to those with financial need. They do not take your veterans education benefits into account before assessing financial need. Additionally, if you wish to keep student loan amounts as low as possible, you can always decrease the amount awarded. You only ever have to accept the amount you need, not the amount they award you.

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Dan Decker September 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Ben,
I am 30% DAV and I am taking part in VocRehab as of this month enrolled full time in school. During my approval and contract signing, I signed two different documents stating that you CANNOT use GI Bill benefits alongside VocRehab benefits. This was confirmed by the Veteran’s rep at my school. Failure to abide by the rules will constitute paying back benefits.

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chuck October 22, 2011 at 12:29 am

Hello I am a 70% service connected veteran. I have been using my post 911 gi bill to pursue a degree in nursing. I have 22 months left of the 911 gi bill. Being that I am service connected 70% can I use the ch 31 after i use up my ch 33 gi bill? I would like to pursue a bachelors degree but will not have enough benefits left after I use all my post 911 gi bill. Also, since I am pursuing nursing am I able for voc rehab?

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Wes Coverdill October 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I am in my 3rd year of a 4 year apprenticeship with Voc Rehab. Can I receive BAH instead of the monthly stipend or both?

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Jody November 3, 2011 at 1:00 am

I am rated at 70% disabled, but at 100% unemployability. Am I able to use the 911 GI Bill (receive the BAH stipend) without causing a problem with my disability? I am REALLY trying to get my life back on track here, and don’t want to do the wrong thing. I am not finding any info. on this topic. Thx

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James November 3, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Chuck, I believe that if you exhaust your post 9/11 gi bill, you may not be able to use the voc rehab, but again since you have a 70% disability it may work out different. I went for the voc rehab interview today and I was not eligible to receive it due to my 10% disability rating. I am working on that 20% or higher. However, I asked the Voc rehab counselor that specific question and she told me that if I was to choose the voc rehab, then whatever months i used would be deducted from my chapter 33 post 9/11.

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Will November 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

50% SC and using Voc Rehab for master’s. I was curious if you could list all the stuff, along with plausible arguments, that you can get for free while in Voc Rehab — want to make sure I leave no stone unturned and fully maximize my benefits. For instance, they tried saying I couldn’t get parking paid for, but after a long email, they now pay for my parking.

I have heard of voc rehab paying for internet as well. Are there any other valuable resources other than the $1000 semester book thing, computer/printer/computer bag/norton/microsoft office, and parking?

Thanks.

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Adam November 25, 2011 at 2:45 am

Hello,
I am 80% SC, and I think I have around 6 months of post 9/11, my voc rehab training is going to be around 11 months, am I only getting the GI bill stipend rate for 6 months, or the whole program?
Thank you

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Q November 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Hi.

50% SM. My disability inhibits me from working normal jobs as well as limits my ability to focus in the classroom. However, Martial Arts is still a big part of my life and the only thing activity that I have been able to function properly in.

Are you aware if VOC Rehab will fund my Martial Arts training if it leads to a degree/black belt/certification in that style? The VA has been D*icking around with the G.l. Bill supporting this and I was wondering if Voc Rehab would be different. Thanks.

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william November 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm

hello i am eligble for chapter 31 and i just started the prosses i hear amouts between 500 and 2800 living alowance how much can i expect is there a chart to shown what i will get with two children living in westchester county ny is there a cost of living adjstment

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Michael G. March 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

The following link has the information you requested effective October 1, 2011 http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/sa.htm

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Matt December 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Hi, right now I have 50% rating from the VA. I am currently using chapter 33 to get my BA in Anthropology and I was wondering if I could use Voc Rehab along with the ch.33 to go to an outdoor wilderness school that would help contribute to my degree. The only reason I don’t use the ch.33 option for that school is I only have the 36 months and the school is 9 months long and offers only 18 credits. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Chris December 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

I’m really confused and the counselor is confusing me even more!
Here’s my status:
- Currently a DoD GS employee
- 90% SCD
- Current job is making me even more depressed, so I told the counselor I want a new career.
- Counselor stated since I already have a US Govt Job, I do not qualify for voc rehab.

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Miller December 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I hope what I have to say is of some help. I used my Voc Rehab benefits to earn my bachelor’s degree and my GI Bill benefits to earn my MBA. It is possible to be entitled to both services. Many people don’t know that though. Currently, my husband is using his Voc Rehab benefits to earn his bachelor’s degree. His counselor is trying to tell him that once he uses his Voc Rehab, he is not allowed to use his GI Bill benefits. That is a lie. He can go on to use his GI Bill benefits to earn his master’s degree if he chooses and so can you.

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Jeremy Campbell January 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I am currently using chapter 31 benefits with the $554 a month stipend. I’ve been told I am eligible to receive the post 9/11 stipend, but I don’t how to apply for the post 9/11 stipend. Is there any information on how to apply for this increase stipend even though I am already using chapter 31 benefits?

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DAVE January 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I WANTED SOME CLARIFICATION. WILL VOC REHAB DECREASE YOUR CHAPTER 30 OR POST 911 BENEFITS OR IS IT SEPARATE? I HAVE 9 MONTHS LEFT UNDER CHAPTER 30 GIBILL. I SPOKE WITH A VA REP AND THEY SAID IF I SWITCHED FROM CHAPTER 30 BENEFITS TO POST 911 THAT I WILL ONLY HAVE 9 MONTHS ELIGIBILITY UNDER POST 911. BUT, THEY SAID IF I EXHAUSTED MY CHAPTER 30 THAT I CAN GET 12 MONTH EXTENSION WITH POST 911. MY QUESTION IS COULD I SWITCH FROM CHAPTER 30 TO POST 911 EXHAUST MY 9 MONTHS REMAINING AND STILL GET 12 MONTH EXTENSION UNDER POST 911? THANK YOU.

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Michael G. March 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm

To answer your question Dave, no. You must exhaust your Chapter 30 benefits entirely and then request for an the 12-month Chapter 33 extension. If you switch now from Chapter 30 to Chapter 33, you forfeit any option for the aforementioned 12-month extension.

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Ryan August 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Dave, THERE IS NO REASON TO YELL WHICH IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING IF YOU HAVE ALL CAPS..YOU ARE SCREAMING AT US SO PLEASE JUST WRITE NORMALLY. Thanks

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Roger February 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I am fighing with the VA now about Voc Rehab and Post 9/11 Gi Bill. I gave my Gi bill to my wife and she is using it for school and I am using voc rehab for School. Everything was fine until I took back one credit so I can get the Bah Rate instead of the Voc Rehab Stipend. The VA then took a bunch of months away from my wife. I have talked to both Gi bill counselors and my voc rehab counselor and they both tell me that they are both seperate and Voc Rehab shouldn’t take away from Gi Bill months. I did a notice of disagreement but talking to the VA on the phone is pretty useless. They just tell me that that is how it is. They won’t give me any instruction on the matter at all. So does anybody know of any instruction on what happens with voc rehab and GI bill are used at the same time?

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Daniece March 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Can my husband use Voc Rehab while I use the Post 9/11 GI bill at the same time?

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Brandi March 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Hello ! Just curious if you might know the answer to this question….My husband used his VOC REHAB to get his bachelor’s degree. He is now trying to find out if he can transfer his GI BILL to myself so I can finish my nursing degree. No one has yet been able to give a clear answer. And if he can transfer his benefits to me, does the GI BILL pay spouses like they would the actual GI (meaning can I get the monthly stipend if he transfers the benefit to me) Any ideas?

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sydney May 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I tried to answer the questions above you, but for whatever reason it isn’t working. Maybe this one will. Your husband CANNOT transfer benefits over to you because he is not active duty anymore. The only time a service member can transfer benefits to a spouse or dependent is when they are on active duty. This is because there is a active duty obligation time after the benefits are transferred. I hope that was clear.

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Rique March 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Here is my question I am new to all of this voc rehab.

I am working on my Doctorate and have two years remaining
40% SC
Salary 70k
1 month left on Post/911
questions.
1. Can I get voc rehab
2. Do i make too much
3. Does it pay full tuition even if I get discount through work
4. Pay me or school directly

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Samaria Braman April 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Hi
My husband is 90% disabled and using voc rehab. My daughter is getting ready to enter college. Can she use his GI benefits??

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sydney May 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm

She can only use his GIBill if he transferred it to her while on active duty. This is because there he has to service a certain amount of active time after he transfers the benefits. does that make sense? There is an active duty obligation. So since he is using his vocrehab, he is not active, and therefore no longer has the ability or option to transfer those benefits to anyone.

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Sydney May 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I answered this yesterday, but not sure why it didn’t go through. Your husband CANNOT transfer his ed benefits to your daughter because it is too late. The only time military members can transfer benefits is when they are on active duty. This is because it has a active obligation time connected to it. Often times the person has to reenlist for another several years. So if your husband is using his voc. I assume he is a veteran and not active.

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Becky Saulnier May 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I just want to say THANK YOU!!! To you anf google! The only way I could find the anwser to this question was to google it! I was told befor I could use both then told no. I had called the number to try and see how to get my certifiacate of eligiliblity. They told me that I could only use one of them. Confused I decied to google it because I’m already threw 1 MOD of school and have not recieved any money yet. Talk about frustrating! So again thank you so much!

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Steven La Plant May 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hello, I am currently going to school to get my BS. I am required by MY university to do a co-operative experience before I graduate. This means I will work in the field of my degree(electrical engineering). I currently use the Post 9/11 G-I Bill, but I was wondering if I switched to the Voc rehab ( currently pending approval) Will they pay me benefits while on co-op?

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Terrill Scott May 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

I need help! I was in the NJ Army National Guard as of March 11, 2012 and was wrongfully medically discharged. STORY: Upon returning home from Iraq in 2007, I was placed on medical hold for my injuries and mental issues. While on medical hold I was diagnosed with PTSD and mood disorder. I went to all of my appointments there at fort bliss, considered to be fit for full duty and in September 2007, I was released back to my NJ Army National Guard Unit. I went to the VA Hospital so that I could continue to get treatment for my conditions and in thr process I got a VA rating of 80%. I was still in the NJ Guard and I knew I couldn’t draw both VA disability and Army National Guard pay, so I called the VA for help on this matter, I was told I would need to fill out a VA form 21-8951-2 and have my Commander sign off on it verifying that I waive my VA Compensation during my drill dates. Every the VA would send me a letter along with a VA FORM 21-8951-2 with the previous drill dates I attended. I would continue to fill this form out waiving my VA compensation during my drill status dates.

August 2008 I was placed on NJ medical hold for my condition of PTSD and my other injuries. No big deal. I went to my appointments as usual and February of 2009 I was signed off from medical hold back to my unit as a fit-for-full duty soldier. After that, I stopped seeing my doctor for my PTSD. August 2011 I get a letter from the NJ medical hold saying I failed my PHA from 2010 and that I did not do a current PHA for 2011. So I called the number on the letter and asked how did I fail my PHA? I was told that I didn’t type in the PHA form I had PTSD. I asked the lady on the phone how do I fix that and she said I would go have to go see my doctor. That made no sense to me so I had her explain how is my doctor going to fix my PHA. I told her I haven’t seen my doctor in almost two years and that I would have to make an appointment. In that letter that was sent to me in August, it had some forms for my doctor to fill out.

So I made an appointment to go see my doctor. November arrives and I go see my doctor, long story short, he tells me that he will not waste his time filling out those papers because he hasn’t seen me in almost two years. He calls the lady whose name is on the letter that I received and explains to her why he will fill out the paperwork. She on the other hand wasn’t trying to hear him and starts mouthing off with my doctor. My doctor hangs up the phone and instead of filing out the form, he writes a letter stating why he will not fill out the form and gives it to me to hand into her. I called the lady to inform her that my doctor wrote a letter instead explaining why he wouldn’t folk out the form and that I will fax it over. She starts mouthing off with me, i’m already bad at arguing because I never do know the right words to say, so in defense, I argue back. The lady said I was going to be placed on medical hold again. I had a bad experience before at the NJ Army National Guard Med Hold, and I told her I was not coming to MEDHOLD and that I am already fit-for-full duty according to my PULHES. I got so frustrated with the lady that before I faxed over my doctors letter, I wrote her a letter telling her I wanted to be medically discharged from the military all because I didnt want to go to Med Hold. I faxed that letter I wrote to her along with my doctors letter in November 2011. I didn’t hear back from that lady.

I went on attending my drills for January, February, and March. I notice that I didn’t get paid for March 3rd 2012 PHA’ s and medical and I didn’t get paid for March 9, 10, or 11th 2012 drill dates neither. I know I was there because, I was issued a 9mm with rounds in the clip, I am a Corporal, so I was the NCOIC over the ammo detail. And I was the one who dispatched a duce and a half to go pick up ammo on Fort Dix. Not to mention, I signed for the ammo for the weekend, distributed out the ammo, and turned in the dunnage also not to mention, that I have been drawing ammo, dispatching military vehicles, being issued a weapon with rounds, going on a military base, literally signing for ammo every drill weekend since January, February, and March 2012. So I texted my platoon sergeant to let her know I didn’t get paid for March 3rd, 9-11th 2012 drill days.

March 19, 2012 I get a phone call from a Master Sergeant of MEDHOLD yelling at me, not talking to me, that the reason why I haven’t got paid was because I was discharged. “WHAT!?” I asked her to explain because I didn’t get any letters in the mail with any discharge papers, no memo, no phone call, I wasn’t briefed nor was I counciled. She stayed yelling at me instead of talking to me as though I done something wrong to her. So I went into defense mode as well and asked when was I medically discharged and what was I medically discharged for? And how is this possible if My unit commandore nor Readiness NCO had no clue of this.

The Master Sergeant said That I was medically discharged December 31, 2011. She said, because I wrote that letter (explained earlier) was the reason why I got medically discharged. All kinds of red flags, bells, and whistles went off in my head because I know the process of being medically discharged and i got upset because I depend on the Army National Guard to pay for my college, fund my Thrift Savings Plan, my kids are enrolled through TriCare, my SGLI and much more. Master Sergeant raved on that I have a service connection rating that I shouldn’t be in the milotary anyway. Had she only talked to me instead of yelling at me, I would had explained to her that I waived my VA Compensation. Despite of all the yelling I tried explaining to her that my VA compensation has been waived, and that my service connection is a catch 22.

“I didn’t get counciled, neither was I briefed. Still to this date of May 24, 2012 I don’t have any paperwork proving that I am medically discharged.”

So the next day March 20, 2012, I contacted IG. Every week since March 20, 2012, I have been calling IG asking about the my status of my discharge, and is it possible for me to get reinstated. The Master Sergeant at IG that has been my contact would just tell me, oh, my bad, I will see about it and give you a call back later on in the day. And every time, he would ask me for my contact information. So from that point on, I have been emailing him. May 15, 2012 I emailed the Master Sergeant of the IG about the status of my medical discharge, he replies back to me:

“MSG… is TDY until May 21, 2012. I will talk to her when she returns. The MEDHOLD is your primary POC.”

I’m running out of options and my next step is getting in contact with my Congressman. I want to be reinstated, keep my current rank, receive back pay for March, April, and May. My question is this: Is it that easy to get medically discharge by me the soldier writing a letter? Please, I need help to get back reinstated.

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Jeff June 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Hello,
I was honorable discharged back in 1995 and had entitlement to MGIB. I used 14 months of my MGIB before my 10 years was up. I currently have an associate degree. I did not apply for disability benefits until 2010. I was given a rating of 50% SC in April 2012. I applied for vocational rehab and met with my counselor this week and was told that I would have been approved if I was not currently working. I told him that I was working in order to help provide for my family and was only making $1500 per month(not guaranteed). I told him I am applying for voc rehab in order to get training/college so that I can find suitable employment. He suggested that if I was to quit my job and reapply then I would be approved. That sounded kind of foolish to me. I would like to know if what he said is true about not being approved for voc rehab because I have a job. Also, since I was recently approved for disability, is there anyway to recoup those lost months of MGIB benefits?

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autumn rosa June 16, 2012 at 8:36 am

My husband is disabled Army with 30% SC injury to shoulder. But he gets attotal pension payout from the VA based on a 90% (30% army + 60% va) He was offered Voc Rehab but has not accepted it yet because we were told by 3 different people that after they completed their Voc Rehab their disability pensions were substantially reduced permanently. We cannot afford to take that chance as we barely make it as it is financially and the job market here is terrible regardless of education. So, we are.wondering if this is common practice that results after use of Voc Rehab (or GI Bill for that matter) or, was this something that may have been specific to these individual’s situations?? Thank You!

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Micah Johnson June 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I am very new to seperation, and would say I know very little about what my benifits are. I am using post 9/11, and I have 60 percent disability rating. I have completed 1 semester of bacholars in interior design and fine arts. My husband received a promotion with his company, and we had to move.

My new school requires a top of the line MAC to run several programs like cad, ect… So I’m looking at a 2,858.00 expense for a laptop alone. I have to have it, and I dont know my options besides taking out a loan, and the whole point of the G I Bill is leaving you debt free and educated.

My new school is also much larger than before and offers a meal plan, and I was interested in incorporating that, to help out as well.

I don’t who to ask, so anything is helpful.

Thank you.

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Pepper July 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Has anyone ever been approved for Chapter 31 for cosmetology school?
I was able to verify that there are some schools approved for educational assistance on WEAMS, but it doesn’t show if the school in question accepts 31 (would VA Once show this?). Still awaiting a response from the school if they were approved specifically for Chapter 31. Thanks!

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Eric July 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I have 8 more courses to complete over the next year for my Associate, and with all of my prior college and military courses and experience, I will have the same left for my Bachelors degree. (2 years total for my Bachelors)
I am currently enrolled in Voc Rehab. The VA pays 100% of my tuition, books, and fees. Plus, they pay me an extra $532 per course (tax free)for BAH. I am wondering if I use the BAH from my MGI Bill at ($976 a month), is it tax free also, or will I have to pay taxes on that if I decide to switch from VA stipend to MGI Bill stipend? Or, should I just leave it for my daughter to use here in the next couple of years when going to college herselfe?

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Calvin Blake August 4, 2012 at 8:59 am

I serve in the Marine Corps 1987-1991 with an Honorable Discharge. I have exhausted the use of my Chapter 30 MGI Bill. I have served in Desert Storm/Shield, and recently seek help from VA for PTSD and other physical problems I sustained while on active duty. If at all, I’m approved for compensation with a rating 20% plus with a salary of 72k, would I be eligible to apply for Chapter 31 to continue my education to maintain the government job I have now? And in addition what is the difference between VA % and SC %?

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Ja'Nise August 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I am currently enrolled full-time in college and I am using my MGI Bill. I have 24 months left and I will than qualify for Post 9/11 which will add an additional year. However, I am confused about what I should do because I am 50% disable and qualify for Voc Rehab. I still have about around 36 months left of undergraduate school before I graduate and I plan on receiving my Master’s Degree and Doctrine if possible. My major is Social Work and Psychology, which I will have to take an examine and become Licensed. What would your recommendations be in regards to which route I should take and what would benefit me the most? What Should I Do?????? :-/

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dan August 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

So I am using CH 31 now, considering returning to the Reserves. If I do that, I’d like to have the option to transfer the Ch 33 benefit to my wife, but I am also considering opting for the CH 33 stipend under the Ch 31 program. If I did that, would I still be able to transfer the benefit to my wife? Even if not, I wonder if BAH would be paid if the spouse was using a transferred benefit. Thanks!

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Chris September 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

Hi. I am 70% SC and have 100% due to unemployability. I am currently a junior at Rutgers and I am using the last of my Chapter 33 Benefit this year. I interviewed with a voc rehab guy and he said that I shouldn’t use the voc rehab because of my condition. Right now I am getting SSDI along with my 100% from the VA. What I was curious about is if I decided that I wanted to put myself back out there and enrolled in Chapter 31, while I am in school I would still get my disability benefits, correct. After I graduate I would have time to look for a job before they take away my disability. Basically, when would I lose my disability compensation. Also, my VA rep was concerned that I may down the road after I re-enter the workforce become unable to work again. What would happen to my eligibility to regain 100% after I use the Chapter 31 program? Thanks everyone. I don’t want to be on disability forever. It seems easy but, I need to be out there doing something.

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Thomas Clement July 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

so by using my voc rehab first I am forfeiting my gi bill? I was initially told this was not the case and I could give this to my wife or daughter or use it for grad school. It sounds as if you are saying if you use three years of voc rehab you no longer have the GI bill

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JM July 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

Hi, I elected to use Chapter 33 before getting my rating from VA. I haven’t used the benefits at all yet, is it still possible for me to use both?

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