Step 3: GI Bill
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GI Bill Benefits Can Ease Your Transition
The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is an education and training benefit earned by Active Duty, Selected Reserve and National Guard service members. The benefit is designed to help service members and eligible veterans cover the costs associated with getting an education or training. The GI Bill has several programs and each is administrated differently – depending on a person’s eligibility and duty status.
<span style="font-weight:bold;>MGIB for Active Duty (MGIB-AD) is an education benefit worth over $39,000. This “payment rate” automatically increases on the first of October each year. You get the annual increase no matter when you became eligible or begin using it.
The term “36 months of benefits” refers to academic months. This means you will have up to 8 semesters (four years) of traditional academic education.
<span style="font-weight:bold;>The MGIB for Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) is available to members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Reserves, as well as the National Guard. The MGIB SR benefit is worth over $11,000. This “payment rate” automatically increases on October 1 each year. And like the MGIB-AD, you get the increase no matter when you became eligible or start using it.
Beside the MGIB-SR, activated reserve and Guard servicemembers have two other GI Bill options. The first gives those who serve continuously for 24 or more months on active duty, the option to pay into the GI Bill for active duty. The second program, called the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP), allows activated reserve and guard members up to 80 percent of the GI Bill for active duty payment rate. This program is further explained on the REAP fact sheet.
Get Extra Pay for On the Job Training
If you are a veteran or currently in the guard or reserve, the Apprenticeship and On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program offers you an alternative way to use your VA (GI Bill) education and training benefits. The program can give you a stipend during training and probation periods when you first join a civilian police force. The following is a summary of these GI Bill alternatives.
When you are trained for a new job, you can receive monthly training benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in addition to your regular salary. This means that you can receive up to $825.75 a month ($237.75 for Reserve/Guard) tax-free, on top of your regular salary! That’s over $14,000 in cash benefits over two years, for training in an OJT or apprenticeship training program.
VA pays veteran GI Bill participants on a scale depending on the amount of time they are enrolled in the program. For example from January 1, 2008 to October 1, 2008 the program pays $825.75 a month for the first six months of training, $605.55 for the second six months of training and $385.35 for remaining training.
VA pays GI Bill Selected Reserve participants on a similar scale but at the following rates; $237.75 a month for the first six months of training, $174.35 for the second six months of training and $110.95 for remaining training.
GI Bill and Police Academies
In certain areas of the country it is becoming standard practice for agencies to only hire candidates who have placed themselves through a certified academy at their own time and expense.
If you find yourself in such a situation, you may be able to take advantage of your GI Bill benefits to help pay for the academy, but only if the academy is run through an accredited college or university that will provide you with college credits and/or a degree upon completion of the academy. It is important that you find out before hand whether the school is accredited.
If your academy training will be provided and paid for by the agency you are hired by, then you likely will not receive any benefit from the GI Bill. You may, however, be eligible for a stipend through your OJT benefits. These benefits are not universal, so you will need to check into it further with both the academy and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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