G.I. Bill changes to begin next August

For veterans using the Chapter 33 Montgomery G.I. Bill to attend college, there is good news and bad news.

The good news is that changes in the bill will result in benefits that stretch out for a longer period of time.

The bad news is that monthly Basic Housing Allowance will only be paid during the time periods when veteran students are actually attending classes. The new rules take effect Aug. 1.

“I personally believe it to be good because it extends their time,” said Veteran Services Coordinator Janis Armstrong. “But it could also be bad for those that rely on that money as an income source.”

At this time, the Chapter 33 G.I. Bill, commonly known as the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, pays living expenses to any veteran attending class at an accredited college for a total of 36 months. The bill pays 100 percent of the living allowance for as long as the veteran is enrolled, whether that is full time or three-quarter time.

It pays through the holiday seasons and all other breaks in school terms, according to www.gibill.va.gov.

The change in August will put the Chapter 33 pay scale on the same scale as Chapter 30, the pre-9/11 G.I. Bill. This means if a veteran goes to school three-quarter time, then he or she will be paid 80 percent of housing allowance. Payment will be rounded to the nearest tenth of a dollar. During breaks when school is not in session, there will be no distribution of funds, according to www.gibill.va.gov.

On Oct. 1, Post 9/11 veterans will see an expansion in the way they can use their benefits. The change will not only give students more months to finish a degree program, but also it will extend the uses and applications of the bill.

After the change goes into effect, Chapter 33 education funds can be used for on-the-job training as well as most non-accredited degree programs and apprenticeships, according to www.gibill.va.gov.

Marine veteran Shane Nix said the change won’t make much difference to him.

“I like that it can keep the money going towards what it was meant for,” he said. “But it could hurt veterans who use Chapter 33 as a source of income. For veterans like myself, who go to school year round, it doesn’t affect me much.

“But I will feel the sting during the holiday months and the gap between spring and summer semesters.”

For further information on veterans benefits and how this affects you, contact Armstrong at 405-682-1611 ext. 7694 or at j.armstrong@occc.edu. The Veterans Services office is located in 1F3(A) in the Main building.


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