Veteran’s benefits get facelift

Veteran’s benefits are going through some remodeling.

On Jan. 4, 2011 President Obama signed The Post-9/11 Veteran’s Education Assistance Improvement Act of 2010, also known as GI Bill 2.0.

Under this new legislation almost 400,000 new veterans will be eligible for benefits. In order to do this, some veterans who are currently using the GI Bill will have some of their benefits lowered.

Under the Post 9/11GI Bill 1.0, veterans were unable to rate a housing allowance if they were not physically taking courses on campus. This stipulation made it so disabled veterans, whose only source of higher education was through online courses, had to pay for their housing out of their own pocket.

With GI Bill 2.0 veterans who take online courses will now be eligible to receive a housing allowance.

With the new amendments to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, veterans of the National Guard who performed full-time service are now eligible for educational benefits.

According to the veteran’s organization, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), this affects over 85,000 veterans who were previously excluded from these benefits. This will include National Guard service members who were called to service to help with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

GI Bill 1.0 limited veterans by only allowing them to use their benefits for seeking a college degree. Veteran’s are now able to use their benefits to cover non-college degree programs, on the job and apprenticeship training, flight training, and correspondence training.

According to IAVA this will effect around 6,000 veterans who before could not pursue the education they wanted.

With the increase of veterans who are eligible for benefits the amount received for housing allowance will be decreased.

Students now only receive payments for the days they are physically at school.

During mandatory breaks from school, veterans will no longer receive their benefits. Also veteran’s housing allowance will be pro-rated to the amount of schooling they are taking.

For example, a student taking 12 semester credits is considered a full time student. So if a student takes only 6 semester credits they will only receive 50% of their housing allowance.

Veterans that are attending private schools will now have a cap on how much of that school will be paid for. While under GI Bill 1.0 all of the veteran’s schooling was covered, GI Bill 2.0 puts an annual cap of $17,500 for veteran’s who attend private school.

The benefits individual veterans receive can be very complicated.

There are many resources veterans can use to make sure they are getting the benefits they are entitled to. Some websites include www.va.gibill.gov, www.iava.org, and www.newgibill.org. Students can also visit the Veteran’s Center H.2300 on campus if they have any other questions.