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Gibill & Voc Rehab Conundrum

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Hello Folks,
I have a situation that is somewhat complicated and I could not find a clear cut answer of any kind. Have been discharged in 2004, so no Post 9/11 GI BILL available. Once I was discharged due to a service connected disability I applied for the VA Vocational Rehabilitation, and used about 40 months of the Voc Rehab. I was not aware, and was never told that by using the Voc Rehab one would be using up the GI BILL education entitlements as well (seems a non-sense and very unfair). As of now I have used almost 48months of entitlements (about 4 days left).

After having exited the Voc Rehba, I started using the Mont. GI BILL for a while since I was told that one would need to exhaust the GI BILL to be eligible and to maximize his/her 9/11 GI BILL benefits, and that once that was done one would have 12 months extra of 9/11 GIBILL (despite the established overall limit of 48 months). I contacted VA's different departments and they tell me that since I have used up almost 48 months, in case I apply for the 9/11 GIBILL I would only be entitle for the remaining of my benefits (in other words, 4 days); but then they tell me I should apply to see if they would grant me the 12 months of 9/11 or not.

I know for a fact that the Voc. Rehab can provide benefits way in excess of 48 months (some have used for a bachelor, med school, and beyond), but that is Voc. Rehab. GI BILL is a different story, and it is not clear what would the best approach for a favorable chain of events and outcome. Should I apply for 9/11 once I completely exhaust the Mont. GI BILL (only 4 days left, thus with 48 months used), and then expect to have more 12 months of 9/11 GI BILL once I apply for it; or should I simply apply for the 9/11 GI BILL before completely exhausting the Mont GI BILL, and then subsequently apply for Voc. Rehab in order to have more benefits and an initial higher allowance?

thanks for any input,

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I kind of think you should apply for the whole 9 yards! To cover all bases,

And ask in writing for the Voc Rehab Extension.

“The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service after September 10, 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.”


“This benefit provides up to 36 months of education benefits, generally benefits are payable for 15 years following your release from active duty. The Post-9/11 GI Bill also offers some service members the opportunity to transfer their GI Bill to dependents. “


(This link contains the two changes since the bill was passed. VA web site is down for maintance so I couldn't get the change info...it wont be down too long))

Also Military.com has excellent into too,on Montgomery GI Bill and Voc Rehab,as well as VEAP and REAP.

Years ago my daughter, a vet, asked me for some clear info on all these programs because another vet she knew was having a hard time getting through the maze. I sent her the Mil.com site and te VA link and within days she said he understood Mil.com info much better then the VA web site

info....it IS confusing.....

Under the Community button at this page they have multiple forums that cover,I am sure, discussions on these types of benefits.


More info here:


You might be eligible for a Pell Grant, regardless of whether any of the above allow you more educational benefits:

“4. You need to clarify what you talking about on the Grant situation. You can receive Pell Grants with either MGIB or Post 9/11 GI bill and under current Dept. of Education law - the financial aid department and FASFA do not take any monies you receive from any GI Bill Program into the computation for Pell Grants. So using or not using your GI Bill will not affect how much money you receive from Pell Grants. “

(reply from a Mil.com expert)


Sorry for so much to read here but, you are used to that , as college student already!

I am a Chapter 35er , a different VA program then yours, and I was told I was probably eligible for a Pell grant in addition to my VA educational benefits by someone here at hadit.. I never applied but this post above at Mil.com seems to indicate I should have as well as any veteran using VA educational benefits.

Pell Grants are state issued grants and your state's web site should have some direction on that.

Also, in some cases Voc Rehab entitlement dates can be extended:

e. Period of a Rehabilitation Program

Generally, Veterans must complete a VR&E program within

  • 12 years from their separation from military service, or

  • 12 years from the date VA notifies them that they have a compensable SC disability.

Depending on the length of program needed, Veterans may be provided up to 48 months of full-time services or their part-time equivalent. These limitations may be extended in certain circumstances, such as Veterans with serious employment handicaps may be granted extensions of eligibility termination date and/or additional months of benefits.


M21-1MR, Part IX, Subpart i, Chapter 1, Section A page 1-A-3 Change date: Nov 16 2004


Hope some of this helps.

Have you tried contacting your last Voc Rehab VA liason person at the last school you attended?

They might be able to make all of this clearer than these links.

BTW I dealt with VA Edu in Buffalo when I went to AMU. At times I felt VA EDU was an oxymoron.

But then again they did handle some of my stuff very accurately. Did you or the college VA liason person you had, have an email for some direct access to VA EDU person who helped with your last Voc Rehab stuff?

I admire your willingness to continue your education. I am thinking of doing that again myself .

BTW any survivors out there under DEA reading this.....

If VA awarded you Chap 35 DEA due to a 100% P & T SC disability of your deceased veteran spouse, that used their date of death as the beginning entitlement date, if you then prove direct SC death, make sure the VA changes your entitlement date to the date of the SC death award EED, and better yet, if you paid tuition after you entitlement date ran out, make sure you ask VA EDU in writing for a refund of that tuition.

I received over 6 thousand retro under DEA ,due to those circumstances.VA had already paid about 7 thousand before my original Chap 35 entitlement date ran out.

GRADUATE ! Nov 2nd 2007 American Military University !

When thousands of Americans faced annihilation in the 1800s Chief

Osceola's response to his people, the Seminoles, was

simply "They(the US Army)have guns, but so do we."

Sameo to us -They (VA) have 38 CFR ,38 USC, and M21-1- but so do we.

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Berta, thanks for you complete compilation of very useful information.

I talked to almost every VA employees and school certifying officials, most of them simply do not know; and the ones (IRIS contact) that seem to know are simply not sure and states that only after applying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill I would know whether or not I would qualify for an extra 12 months, or if I would otherwise qualify for nothing since I have already used up 48 months of entitlements. It is really difficult to make decisions based on the unknown.

Who would be the VA EDU person? The Vocation Rehab counselor; if yes, then I would say that my experience with them is not a good one either: they do not seem to know much, but the trivial, and often they would play games and lie to me in order to manipulate the situation.

You definitely should consider new educational endeavors, it is always an enriching learning experience. I went to different colleges and universities, later went to MSU (Michigan State Univ); but by far the greatest learning experience I have had was with my books and taking online classes at the MITx (MIT online and Edx) and Udacity (another online initiative) spearheaded by the Stanford Professor Sebastian Thrun. The good thing is that some of these top notch classes are free of cost. Traditional education is also important though and necessary.

It all boils down to the misinformation and wrong information that was given to me by the GI Bill call center's representatives: a long time ago when inquiring about my situation and clearly stating the fact I had used Chap 31 (Voc Rehab) and also have used about 36 months, they simply stated that I would still get an extra 12 months of post 9/11 GI BILL once I had completely exhausted my Mont. GI Bill. Moral of the story is that the VA is amoral. A VA agent whose training and work consists in providing you with information about such benefits simply will give you completely wrong guidance and information, so at the end you have to fend for yourself

Edited by tk3000
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"Who would be the VA EDU person?"

I used BUFFRPO@vba.va.gov..... but I graduated in 2007 so don't know if this is still a good email contact number.

Are your educational benefits handled via the Buffalo RO Edu department?

GRADUATE ! Nov 2nd 2007 American Military University !

When thousands of Americans faced annihilation in the 1800s Chief

Osceola's response to his people, the Seminoles, was

simply "They(the US Army)have guns, but so do we."

Sameo to us -They (VA) have 38 CFR ,38 USC, and M21-1- but so do we.

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