Chapter 34 VA Educational Benefits

Vietnam veterans can still use their GI Bill benefits.
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Veterans of the Vietnam era can still use their remaining VA educational benefits that were given to veterans through the Veterans Readjustment Act. These benefits can be used for a wide-range of educational opportunities, including traditional college and universities, professional certificate and licensing programs, on-the-job training and correspondence courses.

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Chapter 34 VA Benefits Basics

Educational benefits until 1952 were only awarded to wartime veterans. The Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966 provided benefits to all veterans, regardless of whether they had seen combat or not. It was revised in 1972, increasing benefits. The Chapter 34 VA benefits were then replaced by the Veterans Educational Assistance Program in 1977.

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Veterans who served on active duty between January 31, 1955 and January 1, 1977 are eligible for the benefits of the Vietnam Era GI Bill. The benefit expired in 1977; however, veterans can still convert their benefit to the Chapter 30 Montgomery GI Bill benefit if the veteran has remaining entitlements under Chapter 34 on December 31, 1989. The VA considers these veterans Chapter 30, Category II. There is also a post-9/11 GI Bill you might be eligible for.

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Applying for and Receiving Benefits

Previously, the most efficient way to apply for benefits was to use the Veterans Online Application, once available on the the GI Bill website. This application determined the best benefit you were qualified for, informed you of the appropriate VA Forms that need to be filed, and calculated your benefits. However, this application is now retired, according to the Veterans Benefits Administration. You can instead apply via VA.gov.

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You can also apply via mail. First, you will need to call 888-442-4551, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. You can then ask that the VA send the application to you. Once you have gotten it, you will need to complete the application and mail it to the VA regional claims processing office assigned to your school. You can also apply in person at a VA office if you need additional assistance.

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Benefit Amounts and Expiration

The post-9/11 GI Bill covers all tuition and fees for an in-state student at a public school. It covers ​$26,381.37​ at a private school or an international school. The entitlement increases when the veteran has dependents. There are conditions for each entitlement, which can differ depending on the type of training being completed. Payments can be received either by a monthly check mailed to the veteran or through direct deposit to a bank account.

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The Montgomery GI Bill offers ​$2,150​ for a full-time student, ​$1,612.50​ for a student attending 3/4 of the time, and ​$1,075​ for a student attending 1/2 time or more than 1/4 of the time. If you attend school 1/4 of the time or less, you get ​$537.50​.

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GI Bill benefits expire 10 years after the veteran's last discharge from service. Veterans that are eligible for more than one educational benefit must choose which benefit they want to receive. The VA will not allow a beneficiary to receive more than one educational benefit at a time. The VA recommends that veterans discuss their educational plans with a VA counselor to determine the best program to maximize the benefits he is eligible for.

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