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? Numerous disabled veterans who qualify for Voc Rehab have been telling me they are being pushed away from using the Chapter 31 benefit. 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 the more needy, disabled veterans.
What’s the difference? It is around $800 per month in stipend money. Over the course of 36 months that’s almost $30,000. To those single and struggling parents out there, this is a substantial difference. It could be the difference between paying for child care or getting a more reliable vehicle.
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. And in a world of bank bailouts and colossal oil spills, disabled veterans will continue to get shelved while the corporate fat cats sort out their golden parachutes.
Current Solution. In the meantime, for disabled veterans, one option would be to apply for Voc Rehab benefits but opt for the higher GI Bill stipend and school funding. This works great for those same veterans who are getting their degrees through traditional public universities. For private universities, the choice is less clear.
For more information on private school and an analysis between these two educational VA benefits, please click here “GI Bill vs Chapter 31.” This will give disabled veterans the full picture of what the difference is between these two options; something your vocational rehabilitation counselor will not show you.