Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

The Veterans Educational Assistance Program, also known as VEAP, was created following the Vietnam War in order to attract servicemen and women to the armed forces on a voluntary basis. The program was created under chapter 32 of title 38 of the U.S. Code, and therefore is oftentimes referred as such.

This program provides educational benefits and training opportunities to veterans who made contributions to the program while they were enlisted in the armed forces on active duty. Benefits from the program can be used for a variety of purposes, such as obtaining a degree or getting training for a career. Although payments can be used for a variety of purposes, the benefits must be utilized within a certain period of time after a veteran has separated from active duty. Learn more about the eligibility criteria for this program and find out how qualified veterans can apply to receive assistance in the sections below.

Who is eligible for the VEAP program?

Chapter 32 benefits are available for a select group of servicemen and women who were in the armed forces during a specific period of time. A veteran or active-duty servicemember can qualify for the Veterans Education Assistance Program if he or she:

  • Enlisted for the first time after January 1, 1977 or before June 30, 1985.
  • Has a VEAP account that was opened before April 1, 1987.
  • Contributed an amount of $25 to $2,500 to the account.
  • Was discharged from service under any condition other than dishonorable.

Additionally, you need to have served for the correct amount of time in order to claim your benefits. The minimum length of service varies depending on when you entered and whether you are a veteran or are still an active duty servicemember. In most cases, you need to have served for a minimum of 181 consecutive days. Be aware that if you are currently serving on active duty, you need to have made at least 3 months’ worth of contributions to receive any benefits.

Related Article: Yellow Ribbon Program

When getting VEAP benefits, note that not all types of active duty service will make you eligible for the program. For example, any time you served as a cadet or a midshipman at a service academy does not count towards your length of service. Furthermore, active duty training for the National Guard or Reserve does not count. Finally, any time that you served at a civilian institution will not be included towards your eligibility for the program.

Special VEAP Eligibility Criteria for Air Force Members

If you served in the Air Force, you must meet an additional set of eligibility criteria for this program. First, you need to have enlisted between December 1, 1980 and September 30, 1981. Second, you need to have enlisted in one of the following specialties: 20723; 20731; 20830; 46130; 46230A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, or Z; 46430; or 81130. And third, to get a VEAP grant as an Air Force member, your enlistment must have occurred in one of the following places:

  • Beckley, WV
  • Buffalo, NY
  • Dallas, TX
  • Fargo, ND
  • Houston, TX
  • Jackson, MS
  • Louisville, KY
  • Memphis, TN
  • Omaha, NE
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Syracuse, NY

What can VEAP benefits be used for?

When you receive benefits under Chapter 32, they can be used for a variety of purposes. First, your benefits can help pay for college degree and certificate programs as well as technical school or vocational degree programs. Second, you can use your benefits to pay for specialized training such as flight school, high tech training, entrepreneurship classes, apprenticeships or on-the-job training. Third, benefits can help pay for licensing or certification tests, entrance exams or remedial tests.

The amount you receive for your VEAP grant will depend on how much money you contributed to your account. In any case, the government matches your contributions two-to-one, meaning that you get $2 from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for every $1 you contributed to your account. The more you contributed to your account, the more benefits you will receive to pay your tuition costs for any of the programs described above.

When to Use VEAP Benefits

You may use your benefits at any time during the 10-year period that follows your separation from service. If you do not use your benefits within this timeframe, the contributions made to your account will be returned to you automatically. Like other educational assistance programs for veterans, your benefits under this program may continue for up to 36 months. However, the number of months you receive assistance will depend on the number of months that you made contributions. For example, if you only contributed to your account for 6 months, you will receive 6 months of government-matched payments rather than 36 months.

There is one exception in which you may receive educational assistance benefits for a longer period of time. If you have established your eligibility for both VEAP and the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD), you may receive a combined total of 48 months of benefits. However, your benefits for either of these programs cannot exceed 36 months per program.

If you decide that you do not want to use your Chapter 32 benefits before they expire, you can receive a refund of your contributions. To do so, you must fill out VA Form 22-5281 (Application for Refund of Education Contributions) and return the completed form to a VA Regional Office in your area.

How to Apply for Chapter 32

Before you apply for the Veterans Education Assistance Program, you will need to ensure that the educational program you choose is covered. You may contact the VA to learn whether your program is eligible for coverage. Next, fill out VA Form 22-1990 (Application for Education Benefits) and send it to a VA office that has jurisdiction in the state where you plan on attending school or completing your training. This application requires basic information, such as:

  • Your Social Security Number.
  • Your military history.
  • Your bank account information.
  • Your educational background.
  • Details on the school or training program you are interested in.

Next, you will need to include a copy of your DD Form 214 if you are no longer on active duty. On the other hand, if you are currently on active duty, you will need to receive approval from the Education Services Office on your base and your Commanding Officer will need to verify your service.

Related Article: Post 9/11 GI Bill

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