By Curtis L. Coy
Colleagues and Fellow Veterans, Happy holidays, we hope you are enjoying time with family and friends.
We would like to provide a brief heads up that affects members of the Reserve.
On November 25, 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016 sunset the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) … please hit the link for more information on REAP. The REAP program was originally created to provide benefits to members of the Reserve components who were called or ordered to active service by the President or Congress in response to a war or declared national emergency.
REAP served to bridge the education benefit gap between those eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve and those serving in the Reserve component who were called to active duty but were not eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve. Long story short … the Post-9/11 GI Bill in many ways has replaced REAP because it has also closed this gap by providing eligibility for certain Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty.
The change affects beneficiaries differently:
- Current REAP beneficiaries - if you were attending an educational institution during the semester, quarter, or term that immediately preceded Nov. 25, 2015, you may continue to receive REAP benefits.
- REAP beneficiaries not attending school - Beneficiaries who applied for REAP but were not attending an institution during the semester, quarter, or term that immediately preceded Nov. 25, 2015, are not eligible to receive REAP benefits.
- New REAP applicants - if VA received your initial REAP application after Nov. 24, 2015, you are no longer eligible for REAP benefits.
VA understands this change may have an impact on students who expect to return to school for the spring 2016 semester. In most cases, students will be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. We are actively working to identify Veterans who have previously applied for VA benefits and are affected by this change to notify them of this change and their potential eligibility for other VA educational assistance programs.
We will be sending out more information over the course of the next several weeks but wanted to try and get some initial information out as this may affect some who were planning on attending school next month. Should anyone need immediate information, please call VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday) to speak with an Education Call Center Agent for questions about benefits or eligibility for education assistance programs
Please feel free to forward this note to any Reservists who you believe may be using their REAP or affected by this change.
Thank you for your help, we remain committed to helping our Veteran community to be informed consumers of their well-earned benefits.
Curtis L. Coy
Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Core Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)
- If you would like to review prior messages sent through this listserv, clickhttp://benefits.va.gov/vow/economic_opportunity.htm.
- If you would like to research, find, access, and, in time, manage your VA benefits and personal information please visit and/or register at https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal.
- If you looking for a job or an employer committed to hiring Veterans, please register on the Veterans Employment Center™ (VEC) at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/jobs
- If you are seeking employment in the federal government, particularly the VA, our VA for Vets high-tech tools and resources can help. Visit online at http://vaforvets.va.gov/ or call 1-855-824-8387.
If you would like to contact us about your VA education benefits:
You can send us a secure email that will usually be answered within 48 hours. You can also search for answers to frequently asked questions and register to be notified of any updates to the information. This contact method is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can also be utilized worldwide. Click here to enter the "Ask A Question" site or here to review our frequently asked questions.
You can call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). This line only accepts calls from 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM central time Monday – Friday.