Since the inception of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, many disabled veterans have been faced with a choice; should I use the GI Bill or Voc Rehab? Recently, many Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (VRC) have been pushing disabled veterans in the direction of the GI Bill for one reason, and one reason only, disabled veterans are not treated fairly. The current stipend amounts are unfairly tilted toward veterans instead of needier disabled veterans.
What’s the difference? Around $800 per month in stipend money. Over the course of 36 months, that’s almost $30,000.
So, VRCs have been telling disabled veterans they are better off not using Chapter 31, a program designed specifically to help disabled veterans get the training or education they need to be competitive in the labor market. Seem ironic? It is.
Here is why you should care. Disabled veterans in Voc Rehab benefit in other ways that using the GI Bill cannot allow. Specifically, they get specialty care and equipment necessary for employment or training. They further receive individualized guidance in the pursuit of their vocational goals. Lastly, they receive full tuition payments. Not a big deal at a public school, but very pricey at a private university, as we’ll discuss later.
How much is that worth? It depends. The decision to use the GI Bill instead of Vocational Rehabilitation is not a clear one. In order to understand the choices, disabled veterans need to perform what economists refer to as a Cost / Benefit Analysis. It’s not just as simple as using the benefit with the higher stipend amount.
Here is the result for something like law school:
At a public school, the net benefit averages around $10,000 in the favor of the GI Bill. At a private school, the net benefit averages around $8,000 when you factor in the additional tuition and fees, in favor of Chapter 31. This all depends on the specific school and program you can get your VRC to agree to. But in sum, if you want to attend a public school, the answer is clear; use the GI Bill. If you want to attend a private college, try to get Voc Rehab to approve it.
I have more information on DisabledVeterans.Org concerning Chapter 31 Approval for Private College. Email me with any questions at email@example.com. Check NewGIBill.Org for more information on the GI Bill.
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*It is assumed that the private college participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program and matches the top state school tuition rate. It is further assumed that the private college education is preferential to the public college.