Just as a college student can collect a monthly G.I. Bill payment for classroom attendance, so can a registered apprentice who learns a trade on-the-job.
Montgomery G.I. Bill payments for apprenticeship programs, which generally range from one to five years in length, can total between $2,600 and $42,000 depending upon benefit eligibility.
Everyone wins when apprentices collect their military benefits:
- Employers possess a powerful recruiting and retention tool
- Employees can offset their living expenses while working toward journeyman status
- The local economy benefits from the influx of federal military dollars
G.I. Bill benefits
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administers several education programs as set down in law, Title 38 United States Code. Each program is found in a different chapter of the law and this chapter number is often used to refer to the different benefit programs (e.g., Chapter 30 for veterans who began active duty after June 30, 1985. The programs also have specific names. Each program provides different benefits to different groups of individuals.
Veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and certain eligible dependents can use these programs for a wide variety of VA-approved education and training programs. These include apprenticeship and on-the-job training, college degree and certificate programs, flight training and correspondence courses.
Each program offers a specified number of "months" of benefits. This number is typically 36, and the maximum number of benefit months that can be collected under any combination of VA education programs is 48. The 36-month figure was established based on full-time college attendance where students typically attend classes for 9 months each year: 9 x 4 years = 36 months.
Monthly rates for apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs are set to account for the increase in an apprentice's wages as he or she works towards journeyman status. Benefit payments decrease as wages increase.
For the first six months of an apprenticeship program the apprentice receives a monthly VA check that equals 85% of the currently full-time institutional rate for his or her benefit program. During the second six months of the program benefits are paid at 65% of the full-time rate and during the remainder of the program the apprentice receives a monthly check equal to 45% of the benefit's full-time rate.
It is important to note that VA education benefits can only be used for one type of training at a time. Individuals changing from one type of training to another, such as transitioning from a college program to an apprenticeship program, must complete VA form 22-1995 and submit it to their VA Regional Processing office.
Active Duty (Chapter 30)
The Chapter 30 G.I. Bill program is for veterans who first served on active duty after June 30, 1985. Eligible veterans paid into an education fund for one year, received an honorable discharge and also earned a high school diploma or GED.
A 10-year eligibility period begins on the date of discharge from active duty.
Current members of the Guard and Reserve, who served previously on active duty and gained eligibility for Chapter 30 and were federally mobilized with their Guard or Reserve unit for 90 continuous days or more, have a new 10-year eligibility period established at the point of their latest discharge from active duty. This gives many veterans a second chance at using their remaining entitlement.
A maximum of $37,224 can be collected by veterans who completed an active duty enlistment of 3 or more years and are enrolled in VA-approved education and training programs. Veterans who completed an enlistment of less than 3 years can collect a maximum of $30,240.
Reservists and National Guard members
The Chapter 1607 program, established as part of the Defense Authorization Act of 2005, is designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve or National Guard called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency as declared by the President or Congress.
Unlike Chapter 30, service members do not have to pay anything into the program in order to participate. The only eligibility criteria is at least 90 continuous days of active duty service (Title 10 or Title 32) after September 11, 2001, under one of the qualifying operations. Individuals are eligible as soon as they reach the 90-day point whether or not they are currently on active duty.
Disabled members who are injured or have an illness or disease incurred or aggravated in the line of duty and are released from active duty before completing 90 consecutive days are also eligible.
Monthly payment rates under Chapter 1607 are a percentage of the Chapter 30 three-year full-time institutional rate, which, as of October 1, 2005, was $1,034.00. Rates are adjusted for apprenticeship and on-the-job training.
Eligible individuals cannot receive assistance under more than one VA education program at a time. They must make an "irrevocable election" choosing which program they want their military service to count towards.
Those eligible for 1607 will receive 36 months of full-time entitlement at their given rate. A 1607 participant may not use more than 48 months of entitlement under any combination of VA educational programs.
Applicants who have previously filed a claim for VA education benefits, should submit their DD Form 214 and a copy of their active duty orders to the VA.
Individuals who have not previously submitted a claim for benefits should also include VA Form 22-1990 .
Apprentices who are eligible for VA Education Benefit programs must fill out the VA Forms listed below and include them in their state apprenticeship application package.
Certifying Officials can obtain forms noted below as controlled forms either from the VA at (888) 442-4551 or from the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards at (617) 626-5409.
Include these forms with all initial apprentice application packages.
- VA Form 22-1990, Application for Benefits, or
- VA Form 22-1995, Change of Program (which is used ONLY if the claimant was previously enrolled in any type of VA-approved education or training program.)
- VA Form 22-8794, Designation of Certifying Officials (controlled form)
- VA Form 22-1999, Certification of Enrollment (controlled form)
- DD Form 214, Separation or Release from Active Duty (for Chapter 30, Active Duty G.I. Bill benefits), or
- DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility or "NOBE" (for Chapter 1606, Selected Reserve G.I. Bill benefits).
- VA Form 22-6553d-1, Monthly Certification of on-the-job and apprenticeship training (which is included only if a period of apprentice training had been completed up to the point of initial application)
If the claimant is a spouse of dependent of a deceased or permanently disabled veteran and thereby eligible for the Chapter 35 Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program, the following paperwork must also be included in the state apprenticeship application package:
- VA Form 22-5490, Application for Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance, or
- VA Form 22-5495, Request for Change of Program or Place of Training (Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance) This form is used ONLY if the claimant was previously enrolled in a VA-approved education or training program and was collecting VA benefits.
Send the following to the Department of Veterans Affairs and to the Division of Apprentice Standards when an apprentice is terminated from an apprenticeship program or when an apprentice is deployed on active duty with his or her National Guard or Reserve unit.
- VA Form 1999b, Notice of Change in Student Status (controlled form), or
- A signed letter from the apprentice's VA Certifying Official (usually the apprentice's supervisor or boss) on official company letterhead that clearly describes the circumstances affecting the apprentice's termination or temporary absence from the training program.
- A copy of the apprentice's National Guard or Reserve Active Duty orders.
Send the following to the Department of Veterans Affairs when an apprentice returns from an active duty deployment with his or her National Guard or Reserve unit.
- VA Form 22-1999, Certification of Enrollment (controlled form). The form should include the date the apprentice returned from Active Duty and the adjusted end date of the apprenticeship program, which will account for the time spent on Active Duty. This extension date must be approved by the Division of Apprentice Training.
- DD Form 214, Separation or Release from Active Duty.
More resources for apprentices
Helmets to Hardhats opens a pipeline between military service and the best building and construction industry jobs. They work with top contractors and unions to give you free assistance and access to the best opportunities in the business. Members of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as active duty veterans can use their services.
Phone support: (866) 741-6210
U.S. Department of Labor's Registered Apprenticeship website is an excellent resource for employers and individuals interested in learning more about the many benefits of establishing registered apprenticeship programs in a wide range of industries.
Toll-free help line: (877) 872-5627
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs G.I. Bill website is a great place to obtain detailed information concerning a wide range of VA education benefits, including the newest programs established by law.
Education Customer Service Office: (888) 442-4551
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services is the leading advocate for the more than a half million veterans of the Commonwealth and their families and survivors. DVS establishes policy, proposes legislation, ensures adequate funding for veterans programs is included in the Governor's budget, and represents the interests of veterans in matters coming before the General Court. DVS provides information on state and federal benefits, including details about where and how to apply.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Department of Veterans' Services
600 Washington Street, Suite 1100
Boston, MA 02111
Phone: (617) 210-5480
More resources for apprentice program sponsors
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is a Department of Defense organization which was established to promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve component members and their civilian employers and to assist in the resolution of conflicts arising from an employee's military commitment. They have over 4,500 volunteers nationwide! If you have questions about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), this is the organization to call.
Massachusetts point of contact: Earl Bonett, ESGR State Ombudsmen Coordinator. Phone: (413) 858-2856. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
VA Certifying Official Handbook: Review this to ensure that your veteran apprentices are able to claim their VA educational benefits. You should designate a Certifying Official to complete required VA forms.