PEB Forum Veteran
I was told that regardless, the military only gave you 48 months of education benefits. I'm attending a university for a year to finish prerequisites and then into pharmacy school for 4 years. I guess I'll wait to speak with the counselor on how things work out and which route is best to use.
That is wrong, you only can get a maximum of 48 months combined GI Bill benefits. I used 36 months of regular reserve GI Bill, then I was awarded 12 more months of REAP after 9/11. Of those 12 months I used just under 11 months. I had 1 month and 6 days left of eligibility let on my REAP and I converted it to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
So with 46 months and 24 days of regular reserve GI Bill & REAP used towards my degree, I was able to get approved for VR&E. You only need to have 1 day of post 9/11 GI Bill availability to collect the same stipend (BAH for E5 with Spouse in the ZIP code of your school) as anyone else using Post 9/11 GI Bill.
VR&E is a better deal because it covers 100% of your tuition and 100% of you books. You can also request supplies such as a computer for educational purposes.
My deal went like this. I applied for VR&E while I was on active duty in the WTU. I was approved and did a orientation session.
I was then assigned a counselor who set me up with an appointment and I went in with a educational plan.
My counselor did not care about that and made me do some career surveys, testing and research the job market. She then made me take a one year rehabilitation program for those who have a disability due to a TBI (here is a link to the program).
I went through the program and completed it while I was still on active duty in the WTU. I finished the program in May and wanted to start school in the Fall since I was medically retired the same month.
My Voc Rehab counselor then told me that she wanted me to do a work hardening program with the VA in which I would do an internship with them working at the VA hospital in a clinic, the goal was to make sure I could cognitively rejoin the work force. I was set up with this for 12 months and I received the Post 9/11 GI Bill Stipend while I was in the program and I also received CA State Rehabilitation Benefits during the same period ($2499 from the VA and $1950 from the state).
Once my year of the internship was almost up (April 2015), my counselor called me back into the office and had me do a "soft skills" course before I began school at USC, her reasoning for this was that I could benefit from it to ensure that I did not have any sort of issues with any of the social and political issues surrounding college campuses, (here is a link to that program)
An added benefit to the "soft skills" program is that by attending it, once I get hired after I graduate from amy Master's program at USC I become eligible for a pretty substantial one time employment bonus from the VA, plus my VR&E stipend will be paid during my first six weeks of employment.
I did the soft skills program that was recommended and began my master program in May of 2015. I will graduate at the end of August and already have an employment offer to begin the day I receive my transcripts.
I chose a Master in Social Work with USC and have a concentration in health with a sub concentration in Military, Veterans and Military Families. In CA after you graduate, you must then do 3600 hours of paid supervised work in order to get your license to practice clinical social work. So far everything has lined up perfectly for me.