I have tried talking to a VA rep over the phone about my issue but he didn't really seem to understand me. So hopefully I can type this out and someone will understand my situation.
Before I joined the Navy I went to college using Chapter 35 benefits. I got money because my dad was discharged with 100% disability(Don't get confused here, most people think I mean I was using chapter 30 for some reason, but it was chapter 35, this benefit had nothing to do with my military service and it was not my dad passing it down. My dad, my sister, and I all used Chapter 35 benefits for education benefits). I joined the navy before I used up all my benefits. Currently I have 25 months of Chapter 35 benefits remaining.
I verified with VA that I still have those 25 months. I am 26 but I was told that because I did 4 years active duty those 4 years get added to the age cutoff for the benefits and I can use my Chapter 35 until I'm 30.
I filed my VONAPP to receive Chapter 33 benefits and included the Chapter 35 information requested. I have been approved for Chapter 33 and because of my situation at the moment I will be using those benefits.
My question is, what will happen to my leftover Chapter 35 benefits? Are they gone because I chose to use the POST 9/11? When I was on the phone with VA the rep first told me that I couldn't use both I had to choose just one, but then he said that I could have 45 months total between the two chapters. So I can use my 36 months of Chapter 33 and use 9 more months of Chapter 35 after?
I think I've included all the relevant details. Any opinions or help on finding my answers is appreciated. Thank you.
|Lead Moderator, Veterans Issues & Education |
If I remember the rules right, once you take the Chapter 33, the Chapter 35 are gone. Here is one rule.
§ 21.3022 Nonduplication—programs administered by VA.
A person who is eligible for educational assistance under 38 U.S.C. chapter 35 and is also eligible for assistance under any of the provisions of law listed in this paragraph cannot receive such assistance concurrently. The eligible person must choose which benefit he or she will receive for the particular period(s) of training during which education or training is to be pursued. The individual may choose to receive benefits under another program (other than 38 U.S.C. chapter 33) at any time, but not more than once in a calendar month. The individual may choose to receive benefits under 38 U.S.C. chapter 33 at any time, but not more than once during a certified term, quarter, or semester.
(a) 38 U.S.C. chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill—Active Duty);
(b) 38 U.S.C. chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment);
(c) 38 U.S.C. chapter 32 (Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance);
(d) 38 U.S.C. chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill);
(e) 10 U.S.C. chapter 1606 (Montgomery GI Bill—Selected Reserve);
(f) 10 U.S.C. chapter 1607 (Reserve Educational Assistance Program);
(g) 10 U.S.C. chapter 106a (Educational Assistance Test Program);
(h) Section 903 of the Department of Defense Authorization Act, 1981 (Pub. L. 96–342, 10 U.S.C. 2141 note.);
(i) The Hostage Relief Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96–449, 5 U.S.C. 5561 note.); and
(j) The Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986 (Pub. L. 99–399).
(c) Period of eligibility for a child who serves on duty in the Armed Forces as an eligible person. If the child serves on duty in the Armed Forces as an eligible person (as defined in §21.3021(a)(1)) after the child's 18th birthday and before the child's 26th birthday, the child is eligible for a modified ending date based on the provisions of this paragraph. Under the provisions of this paragraph, the period of eligibility ends 8 years after the date of the child's first discharge or release from such duty, or the child's 31st birthday, whichever is earlier. VA may extend the ending date for one of the reasons shown in paragraph (g) of this section. See paragraph (h) of this section if the child is ordered to active duty as a reservist.
I an find nothing say you loose it, but the age rules would apply. And you can only use one at a time.
Thank you for your response. Now that I've read that I remember reading it prior to calling VA, but I'm pretty sure talking to that rep made me more stupid and confused to the point that I had forgotten the research I had done on my own.
Selecting chapter 33 has no effect on your being eligible for chapter 35. You just can't use them both at the same time. And you can go back and forth between semesters with what benefit you want to be paid under. On your original post you said you only had 25 months left of chapter 35, that would mean you have already used 20 months of the 48 total months of education benefits you are qualified for. So 28 months remain. Chapter 33 is more than likely your best benefit. So if you use the 25 of chapter 35 benefits then you will only have 3 months to use under chapter 33. So select the benefit that will pau the most money.
Wait, so you're saying that even my pre-navy months count towards the total months now? This would be reflected in my eligibility letter though wouldn't it? In the letter I gave to the school it says that I have 36 months remaining, not 28.
Whoever worked your chapter 33 claim at the VA probably did not see that you had used chapter 35 previously. Or maybe they just ignored it or forgot to put it in their software program. But yes, the number of months of VA education benefits you used prior to joining the military do count against the 48 month maximum.
Most people who work the chapter 33 benefits for the VA wouldn't know how to find a chapter 35 record because that would be under your father's social security number or a claim number assigned to his name. So whoever worked your chapter 33 claim wasn't all that thorough at their job. Now you can go ahead and use the 36 months VA gave you under chapter 33. But if someone who knows what they are doing sees you have used more than 48 months under both benefits, then one of 2 things will take place.
1) VA will stop you at the end of 48 months and give you a debt for any amount of time used over 48 months. This is where you ask for the debt to be waived.
2) VA will call it an Administrative error and eat the money.
What to do? Your choice. But like I said above, the 20 months used under chapter 35 does count against the 48 month maximum.
When I filed for my benefits the VONAPP actually asked about the Chapter 35 and my Dad's information as well as the file number and payee code or something like that anyway. Which is why I called VA because I didn't have any of that information since it's been 5 years since I was claiming benefits. I guess I'll just wait it out and see what happens. Thanks for the info.
Good luck with your schooling
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