Veterans Get New Education Benefits
I am a firm believer that veterans need to use their government benefits to enhance their education.
Why shouldn’t hardworking, dedicated veterans take full advantage of the programs available to help advance their careers?
Here is useful information about one of the newest programs from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Labor (DOL):
Starting this month, unemployed veterans between the ages of 35 and 60 can apply for new benefits to cover education costs for up to one year through a joint VA and DOL program that focuses on retraining 99,000 veterans for high-demand jobs.
It’s a great initiative aimed at assisting jobless veterans expand their skills and compete for good jobs.
I absolutely agree with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki’s recent statement: “Veterans are disciplined, hardworking, goal-oriented team members who can play a vital role in helping businesses and the economy grow.”
These are the details on the new program, according to the VA:
As part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, the Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) allows qualifying veterans to receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the full-time Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty rate, currently $1,473 per month. Veterans can apply on a first-come, first-serve basis for VRAP beginning on May 15, 2012, for programs that begin on or after July 1, 2012. Assistance under this benefit program ends on March 31, 2014.
To complete an application, a veteran will need to know his or her direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of his or her school, the program the veteran wishes to pursue, and the applicable high-demand occupation.
To qualify, veterans must:
- Be 35-60 years old, unemployed on the day of application, and not be dishonorably discharged.
- Start education or training after July 1, 2012, in a VA-approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school leading to an associate degree, non-college degree or a certificate for a high-demand occupation as defined by the DOL.
- Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g. Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment).
- Not be enrolled in a federal or state job training program within the last 180 days.
- Not receive VA compensation at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability (IU).
For more information, veterans can visit: www.benefits.va.gov/VOW, or call VA’s Call Centers at 1-800-827-1000.
In addition, veterans are encouraged to visit the nearly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers across the nation. Find a center near you by visiting: www.servicelocator.org.
As veterans, we should be grateful that there are so many opportunities to further our education.
I suggest taking full advantage of them.