Since the passage of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the Forever GI Bill, a list of milestone dates has become a very important part of planning when it’s time for eligible service members and veterans to use the GI Bill.
Here is a list of milestone dates to keep in mind when planning to use your benefits. Some of these dates have already passed, others are good to keep in mind for long-term education planning.
Forever GI Bill Milestone Dates
Forever GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance Changes January 1, 2018
Eligible applicants who have never used their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits prior to first January 1, 2018 will be paid a monthly housing allowance “based on DoD’s reduced basic housing allowance (BAH) for monthly housing rates”. Eligible service members who used GI Bill benefits before January 1, 2018 will continue to receive “non-adjusted” BAH rates.
Forever GI Bill Milestone Dates: August 1, 2018
The list of changes to the GI Bill program that occur under the Forever GI Bill on August 1, 2018 are extensive enough to warrant their own article. Check this article for important changes to the following aspects of the GI Bill as of August 1, 2018.
- Transfer of Benefits (TEB)
- General Reserve Component Benefits
- Reserve Duty That Counts Toward Post-9/11 Eligibility
- GI Bill Eligibility For Purple Heart Recipients
- Yellow Ribbon Extension to Fry Scholarship and Purple Heart Recipients
- Monthly Housing Based on Campus Student Attends the Majority of their Classes
- Reserve Components Monthly Housing Allowance
- Pilot Programs for Technology Courses
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance
- Informing Schools about Beneficiary Entitlement
Changes to Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance October 1, 2018
On October 1, 2018, there is an increase in benefits for those eligible under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program. The adjusted payment rates total $1,224 for full-time attendance, $967 for three-quarter time, and $710 for half-time class loads.
Forever GI Bill Milestone Dates: Extra Benefits for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs August 1, 2019
Those attending under the GI Bill who are enrolled in STEM programs will have an additional nine months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits available to them if they have already used up or will soon use up their entire GI Bill benefit. This extension is not automatic and must be applied for.
To qualify for the program the student must have completed at least 60 “standard semester” or “90 quarter credit hours” in a qualifying STEM field, or the student must have “a post-secondary degree in one of these fields and is enrolled in a program of education leading to a teaching certification” according to the VA official site.
There are some caveats to this change to GI Bill benefits; the Department of Veterans Affairs will benefits for up to nine additional months, but there is $30,000 cap and Yellow Ribbon payments are not allowed. STEM program benefits are not transferrable to dependents.
Forever GI Bill Milestone Dates: Consolidation of Benefit Levels August 1, 2020:
GI Bill applicants who do not meet the minimum time-in-service requirements for 100% GI Bill benefits are eligible for a percentage of those benefits depending on how much time was served. The August 1, 2020 changes eliminate the 40% benefit category, and makes substantial adjustments to who is eligible for 50% and 60% benefits.
As of August 1, 2020 those with “aggregate service of 90 days but less than six months of active-duty service (excluding entry and skill training) now qualifies at the 50-percent benefit level” according to the VA official site.
Those who have “aggregate service” of at least six months but less than eighteen months of active-duty service (again, excluding entry level training) are as of August 1, 2020, eligible for 60% of the full benefit.
Forever GI Bill Milestone Dates: Work Study Deadline Removal June 30, 2022
Under the Forever GI Bill, there is no longer a work-study program expiration date of June 30, 2022, “for certain qualifying work-study activities for which an individual may be paid an additional educational assistance allowance”.
The VA describes certain work-study programs which include but may not be limited to outreach services for a State Approving Agency (SAA), providing hospital or “domiciliary care” and/or medical treatment to veterans in qualifying state homes, or performing “an activity relating to the administration of a national cemetery or a state Veterans’ cemetery”.
Forever GI Bill Changes: Yellow Ribbon Extension to Active Duty Servicemembers August 1, 2022
Beginning on August 1, 2022, the Yellow Ribbon program is open to active duty service members. The Yellow Ribbon program offers additional funds to qualifying GI Bill recipients who want to attend private and non-state schools where the state tuition cap is exceeded.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News