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Apprenticeship for Veterans

Did you know that veterans, Reservists and National Guard members, who are employed as registered apprentices, may be eligible to collect G.I. Bill payments in addition to their regular full-time wages?

Apprenticeship for Veterans

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.

Effective October 1, 2005, G.I. Bill benefit payments for apprentices have increased by 10%.

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, and the state benefits from the influx of federal military benefit dollars into our local economy.

Resources for Veterans Information for Veterans and Employers on the GI Bill

GI Bill Apprenticeship in Massachusetts

Steps to Accessing Veterans Benefits

Steps to Becoming an Approved Veteran Training Facility

VA Certifying Official Handbook Information for Veterans and Employers on the GI Bill

GI Bill Apprenticeship in Massachusetts

Steps to Accessing Veterans Benefits

Steps to Becoming an Approved Veteran Training Facility

VA Certifying Official Handbook

Reserve Educational Assistance Program

A new program for Reservists and Guard members activated after September 11, 2001

Chapter 1607 was established as part of the Defense Authorization Act of 2005. It is designed to provide educational assistance to members of the National Guard or Reserve called or ordered to Active Duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation 1) 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 2) 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, is $1,034.00. The following percentages apply for full-time institutional (college) attendance:

  • 90 days, but less than one year, equals 40% ($413.60)
     
  • One year, but less than two years, equals 60% ($620.40)
     
  • Two or more years equals 80% ($827.20)

Adjusted rates for apprenticeship and on-the-job training are shown in the tables to the right. The rates reflect the 85%, 65% and 45% payment rates for apprenticeship, as described in G.I. Bill Basics. Eligible individuals cannot receive assistance under more than one VA education program at a time. Therefore, they must make an "irrevocable election" choosing which program they want their military service to count towards.

If, however, apprentices are eligible for the Kicker Program, they can still receive Kicker payments while receiving Chapter 1607 benefits.

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.

Therefore, if an apprentice already used 20 months of Chapter 1606 benefits, he or she would only receive 28 months of Chapter 1607; for a total of 48.

The VA began making Chapter 1607 payments in September 2005.

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 .

We strongly advise applicants to annotate "Chapter 1607" prominently on all correspondence and documents forwarded to the VA.

GI Bill Basics

Collect Wages and Military Benefits.

Did you know that veterans, Reservists and National Guard members, who are employed as registered apprentices, may be eligible to collect G.I. Bill payments in addition to their regular full-time wages?

It's true! And it's one of the least known benefits of these exceptional military programs. 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, and the state benefits from the influx of federal military benefit dollars into our local economy.

Go to Resources for Veterans to learn more.

Active Duty (Chapter 30)

Chapter 30 is the most common and newest G.I. Bill program. It is for veterans who first served on Active Duty after June 30th, 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. Thereby giving 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 three or more years and are enrolled in VA-approved education and training programs. Veterans who completed an enlistment of less than three years can collect a maximum of $30,240.

Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)

Chapter 1606 is an educational assistance program for individuals serving in the National Guard or Reserve. Such duty typically entails drilling one weekend per month and attending a two-week Annual Training period each year.

To become eligible individuals must agree to serve for six years, obtain a high school diploma or GED, and become qualified in their military job.

A 14-year eligibility period begins when the last of the three eligibility criteria is met, which is usually MOS qualification. Individuals must remain in an active drilling status to access their benefits.

Those eligible for Chapter 1606 who are federally mobilized for one day or more get the period of the mobilization, plus an additional four months, added to their eligibility window. For example, if a soldier is mobilized for one year, his or her eligibility window would be extended to 15 years and four months, or until the soldier had exhausted his or her G.I. Bill benefits.

Members of the National Guard or Reserve who were mobilized after September 11, 2001, for a minimum of 90 days under one of the qualifying operations, are now eligible for a new G.I. Bill benefit program entitled, the Reserve Educational Assistance Program, Chapter 1607.

Chapter 1607 provides a higher payment rate than the 1606 benefit. Therefore, eligible National Guard and Reserve members should elect to use the Chapter 1607 benefit program for enrollment in VA-approved education and training programs.

A maximum of $10,692 can be collected under the Chapter 1606 program.

For detailed information concerning this benefit visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/rates.htm

GI Bill Programs

Understanding your VA education benefits can be difficult. This is the place to start!

The 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. 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, which 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.

A "full-time" institutional payment rate is set annually for each program and each time an eligible individual collects that amount of money he or she is said to have collected "one month" of benefits. Therefore, if a student were to attend a program on a half-time basis, it would take twice as long to exhaust the benefit.

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, Request for Change of Program or Place of Training and submit it to their VA Regional Processing office.

Please review all the information we have posted on our G.I. Bill page. If you have any additional questions please don't hesitate to contact us. We are happy to assist you and we thank you for your service to our nation.

For detailed information concerning VA education benefits visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/rates.htm

Kicker Program

The purpose of the Montgomery G.I. Bill Kicker Program is to encourage the enlistment and retention of quality applicants, soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines into critical military jobs and units throughout the uniformed services.

The Kicker is an incentive not an entitlement. Therefore, individuals must apply for and be qualified to receive this incentive.

There are three Kicker rates available: $100, $200 and $350. Each of the military services establishes eligibility categories and sets rates according to their recruiting and retention goals and financial resources.

A maximum of 36 months of benefits can be collected under the Kicker program. To determine how much your Kicker benefit is worth, multiply your Kicker rate by 36.

The Kicker must be collected in conjunction with a basic G.I. Bill benefit, such as Chapter 30, Chapter 1606 or Chapter 1607. When eligibility for the basic benefit expires, so does eligibility for the Kicker.

Individuals eligible for the Kicker should add the amounts shown to the right to the amounts they would receive for their basic G.I. Bill benefit.

Members of the National Guard and Reserve who did not qualify for the Kicker at the time of their enlistment, may become eligible for the incentive by extending their current enlistment. Kicker eligibility rules tend to vary between the services, so those interested should request information through their chain of command.

Veterans Education Assistance Program (VEAP)

Chapter 32 is the post-Vietnam era educational assistance program. It is for individuals who first entered Active Duty between January 1st, 1977 and June 30th, 1985. The program is sometimes called VEAP.

Eligible individuals elected to make contributions to the program from their military pay. The contributions were matched on a $2 for $1 basis by the Government. To determine your full-time benefit rate call the VA Education Customer Service Office at (888) 442-4551. Press 1, if you have a touch-tone phone, then Press 0 to speak with an Education Counselor.

A 10-year eligibility period begins on the date of discharge from Active Duty. Individuals wishing to withdraw their contributions should complete VA Form 24-5281, Application for Refund of Educational Contributions and send it to the nearest VA Regional Office.

 

Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program

Chapter 35 provides education and training opportunities to dependents of veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related condition, or who died while on Active Duty or as a result of a service related condition.

Sons or daughters who wish to receive benefits for school or job training, must be between the ages of 18 and 26; certain exceptions apply. Marriage is not a bar to this benefit.

Previously, eligibility for a spouse ended 10 years after the date the VA found the spouse eligible or from the date of the veteran's death.

The passage of Section 105 of Public Law 108-454 on December 10, 2004, extended the benefit eligibility window for this benefit from 10 to 20 years. The provision applies to deaths that occurred before the date of enactment. However, payment of benefits may not be made before December 10, 2004 for anyone whose former 10-year eligibility period had expired before that date.

A maximum of $37,215 can be collected.

Vietnam Era GI Bill

Chapter 34 provided education benefits to individuals who served on Active Duty after January 31st, 1955 and prior to January 1st, 1977. The benefit expired on December 31st, 1989. However, Public Law 98-525 authorized the conversion of the Vietnam Era G.I. Bill to the Montgomery G.I. Bill. This conversion enabled many Vietnam Era veterans to qualify for benefits under Chapter 30.

Veterans eligible for this conversion are generally referred to as Chapter 34/30 beneficiaries. Entitlements include monthly financial support for participation in VA-approved education and training programs. Payment rates are adjusted based upon the number of dependents.

Vietnam Era veterans who think they may be eligible for this conversion should contact the VA Education Customer Service Office at (888) 442-4551. Press 1, if you have a touch-tone phone, then Press 0 (zero) to speak with an Education Counselor.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program

Chapter 31 is a unique program designed specifically for disabled veterans. It has two primary goals. First, to assist the service-disabled veteran to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment. Second, for those veterans who are severely disabled and for whom gainful employment is not an option, assistance may be provided to allow the veteran to live more independently in his or her community.

Any veteran with a compensable disability rating of 10% or more can file an application for Vocational Rehabilitation by completing VA Form 28-1900 and submitting it to their local VA Office. Once the application is filed, an appointment will be scheduled to discuss educational plans, test aptitude, interests and abilities as well as review the nature of the veteran's disability and how it affects their ability to gain employment. An entitlement decision is rendered by the VA after the counseling appointment.

In some cases, a veteran requires additional education and training to become employable. A subsistence allowance is paid each month during training and is based on the rate of attendance, the number of dependents, and the type of training. Rates for apprenticeship training are shown to the right.

Veteran benefit payments

Benefit checks are sent on a monthly basis directly to the address the apprentice has indicated on his or her application or that is shown on the certification form. Benefit checks are not paid to the employer.

The apprentice receives payment for each month of training after the monthly certification of hours worked is received by the VA. This form is called, VA Form 22-6553d, Monthly Certification of On The Job and Apprentice Training.

A copy of this form is mailed, along with each monthly benefit check, to the apprentice's home address. The apprentice must have this form signed each month by his or her supervisor (who is referred to as a "Certifying Official" by the VA) and must ensure that it is mailed back to the VA at the conclusion of the next month of training. The VA will not release the monthly benefit payment without this form.

VA benefit payments for apprenticeship and on-the-job training represent less than 1% of all VA benefit claims nationwide. For this reason, these payments are considered "out-of-system awards" which essentially means that your payment will be processed manually by the VA.

Because of this, apprentices can expect a delay of several months before receiving their first benefit check. If more than four months passes before you receive your first check, there may be a problem which could involve your benefit eligibility, information missing from VA forms, or a problem with the registration of your apprenticeship program.

When problems occur the apprentice can expect to receive a letter from the VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, New York. We strongly advise apprentices to read the letters and follow the directions provided by the VA. Do not throw the letter out. It contains important information that we can use to help you resolve your problem.

If the problem stems from benefit eligibility apprentices should contact their military service.

If the problem involves the registration of the apprenticeship program, apprentices should have their supervisor contact us immediately at (617) 626-5409.

If everything appears to be in order, yet the apprentice still has not received a check, the apprentice should contact the VA Education Customer Service Office at (888)-GIBILL-1.

We will make every effort to assist apprentices who are having trouble accessing their VA benefits, but due to privacy issues there is a limit to the amount of information we can request from the VA regarding your claim. Therefore, if you are experiencing a pay problem you must act or the issue may never be resolved.

Required military forms

The following military forms assist the Department of Veterans Affairs in determining an apprentice's eligibility for VA education benefits earned through military service.

DD Form 214, Separation from Active Duty
This form is a veteran's discharge or separation papers from Active Duty. Veterans should have a Member Copy 4, which is indicated on the bottom of the form. The form shows the individual's type of discharge and reason for discharge.

DD Form 2384-1, Notice of Basic Eligibility (NOBE)
This form is a temporary eligibility certificate which is issued to individuals who are active participants in the National Guard or Reserve who have established eligibility for Chapter 1606 benefits, but whose Department of Defense (DoD) computer record has not yet been updated to show their eligibility. There is typically a 120-day delay from the time the military services enter eligibility data into their computer systems to when it can be viewed by the VA personnel in the DoD computer system. The NOBE grants the VA permission from the military service to pay benefits for a 120-day period pending an update of the DoD computer system.

The NOBE is a controlled form. Members of the National Guard and Reserve who think they are eligible for Chapter 1606 benefits should request a NOBE from their chain of command. NOBEs are typically issued by a state- or regionally-based Montgomery G.I. Bill Manager who works in an Education Services Office that services a specific National Guard or Reserve component.

NGB Form 5435-R, Montgomery G.I. Bill Kicker Contract
This form is a multi-page contract signed by a member of the Army or Air National Guard and an official military service representative that verifies the Guard member has met the requirements to enlist or extend for a Montgomery G.I. Bill Kicker at either the $100, $200, or $350 rate. The individual's name, Social Security number, military job code, unit name, unit identification code, Kicker amount, and a Kicker Control number are indicated on the contract. The contract, or a notarized memorandum issued and signed by a National Guard state-level Education Services Officer, can be forwarded to the VA along with either the NOBE or DD Form 214 to verify Kicker eligibility.

Veteran Services Education Representatives

Listed below are the key people involved in seeing that eligible veterans, dependents and members of the National Guard and Reserve receive Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits.

Department of Veterans Affairs
This government agency is responsible for determining eligibility for VA education benefits, based upon information it receives from the military services, and for authorizing benefit payments. There are several key people involved in this process.

  • Chief Education Liaison Officer: this person supervises the two people described below and is responsible for overseeing the education liaison and compliance functions of the VA. The CELO works at the VA Regional Processing Office in Buffalo, New York.
     
  • Education Liaison Representative: This individual is responsible for reviewing the approvals conducted by the State Approving Agency, and acts as the VA's liaison representative to training institutes and sponsors of registered apprenticeship. The ELR works in the VA Regional Office in Boston, Mass.
     
  • Education Compliance Survey Specialist: This person is responsible for conducting reviews of the employer's records and processes to ensure they are in compliance with the laws that allow VA benefits to be paid.

State Approving Agency

The State Approving Agency for registered apprenticeship programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Training (DAT). DAT is responsible for reviewing the training facility and the programs of education to determine if they can be approved for the payment of VA education benefits. DAT Compliance Officers conduct initial and periodic follow-up visits to assist apprenticeship sponsors in establishing and maintaining registered apprenticeship programs. Sponsors should contact DAT with any questions concerning the approval of current or new programs. Certifying Official
This individual is the employer's representative responsible for completing all paperwork necessary to certify the enrollment and changes in enrollment for apprentices eligible for VA benefits. The name and signature of Certifying Officials are kept on file with the VA, and they are responsible for signing and forwarding a VA Form 22-6553d, Monthly Certification of On The Job and Apprentice Training for each registered apprentice they supervise. This VA form is mailed directly to apprentices along with their benefits check for the previous month. The apprentice must bring this form to work so it can be completed, signed and mailed back to the VA by the Certifying Official.

Employee (apprentice)

Apprentices who are eligible to receive VA education benefits may fall into one of the following categories.

  • Active participant in the National Guard or Selected Reserve
  • Veteran (discharged or separated service person)
  • Veteran's dependent (spouse, surviving spouse, or child)
  • Disabled veteran

VA form procedures

Apprentices who are eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs Education Benefit programs must fill out the VA Forms listed below and include the forms in their state apprenticeship application package.

Certifying Officials can obtain forms noted below as controlled forms either from the Department of Veterans Affairs 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.

2. Send the following to the Department of Veterans Affairs AND to the Division of Apprentice Training 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.

3. 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.

Helpful numbers for Veterans

The following telephone numbers and addresses are important in the certification of veterans, National Guard members and Reservists, and dependents for VA benefits.

VA Regional Processing Office
P.O. Box 4616
Buffalo, NY 14240-4616
Phone: (888) GIBILL-1, (888-442-4551)
VA G.I. Bill website
VA Regional Processing Office, Buffalo, NY

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Department of Labor Standards
Division of Apprentice Training
P.O. Box 146759
19 Staniford Street, 1st Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 626-5409
Fax: (617) 626-5427
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 8:45am - 5:00pm

U.S. Military Education Services Offices in Massachusetts:

Army National Guard
Mass. Army National Guard
Education Services Office
50 Maple Street
Milford, MA 01757
Phone: (888) 301-3103 ext. 6753
Fax: (508) 233-6781
www.mass.gov/guard/education

Air National Guard
Otis Air National Guard Base
102nd Fighter Wing MSF DPMT
158 Reilly Street, Box 17
OTIS ANGB, MA 02542-1330
Phone: (508) 968-4187/4189
Fax: (508) 968-4183
http://www.102iw.ang.af.mil/

Army Reserve
94th Regional Readiness Command
Attn: Education Office
11 Saratoga Blvd.
Devens-Ayer, MA 01432
Phone: (800) 554-7813 ext. 2410
Fax: (978) 796-3267

Barnes Air National Guard Base
104th Fighter Wing DPMT
175 Falcon Drive
Westfield, MA 01085-1482
Phone: (413) 568-9151 ext. 1224
Fax: (413) 572-1501
http://www.104fw.ang.af.mil/

Air Force Reserve
439 MSS DPMT
Westover Air Reserve Base Mass.
100 Starlifter Avenue
Chicopee, MA 01022-1818
Phone: (413) 557-2042
Fax: (413) 557-3432
www.afrc.af.mil

Coast Guard
ISC Boston
Commanding Officer
Integrated Support Cmd Boston
427 Commercial Street
Boston, MA 02109-1027
Phone: 617-223-3462
Fax: 617-223-3467

Army
Army Regional Education Center
Box 23
30 Quebec Street
Devens, MA 01432
Phone: 978-796-2354
Fax: 978-796-2194

Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod
Commanding Officer
U.S. Coast Guard
Attn: TRNG/EDU
Air Station
Cape Cod, MA 02542-5024
Phone: 508-968-6440/6442
Fax: 508-968-6596

Air Force
Hanscom Air Force Base
Education Office
66 MSS DPEE
29 Chennault Street
Hanscom AFB, MA 01731-1635
Phone: 781-377-3120
Fax: 781-377-8577

Commander
USCG Group Woods Hole
Little Harbor Road
Woods Hole, MA 02543-1099
Phone: 508-457-3222/3226
Fax: 508-457-3236

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