April 15, 2013 3:40 pm
If you already have a certificate of eligibility, but have not used it, the VA has issued a memo to you from Curtis L Coy who is the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Development.
The Memo is included at the bottom of this page, i will provide you a short summary:
Basically, here is what they are saying:
1) The original end date to enroll using VRAP was March 31st, 2013. This date has passed, and is being extended until March 31st, 2014 OR until 99,000 veterans have enrolled in school, and begun to receive VRAP benefits.
2) This means that even if you have a certificate of eligibility, you are not guaranteed benefits until you are actually using them.
3) This also means those of you who did not apply and get approved, now have a chance to become eligible to use VRAP Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. Learn more about VRAP by visiting: http://www.acot.edu/vrap
What you need to do?
Don’t wait, Apply Now to ensure you are able to use your benefit. This means that you cannot afford to wait for community colleges and their schedules. Schools like American College of Technology, that are 100% online, VRAP friendly and have starts monthly are a better for you and your benefit.
For those of you that have not yet applied for VRAP, do it now and to speed up the process, know the school you want to go to prior to sighing up for VRAP.
If you do not want to use vrap and you were already approved, visit the VA website at http://benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm and withdraw from VRAP to allow another veteran to take advantage of the benefit.
Below is a copy of the letter issues on Friday April 12th.
According to our records as of April 1st, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued you a Certificate of Eligibility for VRAP but you are not currently receiving benefits.
What you should know:
A Certificate of Eligibility is NOT a guarantee of benefit payments. By law, VRAP benefits can only be paid to a maximum of 99,000 Veterans. As of April 1, 2013, VA issued over 93,000 Certificatesn of Eligibility and may continue to issue them through October 1, 2013. As of April 1st, approximately 40,000 Veteras had enrolled in training.
VRAP benefits will be paid on a first-come, first-served basis until the program ends on March 31, 2014 -OR- until 99,000 Veterans have enrolled in school and received VRAP benefits. This means that under current law, if you do not enroll in training before March 31, 2014 OR if you do not enroll in training before VRAP benefits have been paid to the maximum 99,000 Veterans, VA will be unable to pay you VRAP benefits even if you enroll in training.
What you should do:
If you plan on using your VRAP benefit, you should first check with VA to ensure there are available slots remaining. You can verify the number of students enrolled in training online athttp://benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm, or by calling VA at 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551).
Once you enroll in an approved program, please contact your school’s Veterans certifying official immediately so that your enrollment can be verified with VA as soon as possible. You will receive additional correspondence from VA after we receive your enrollment information from your school.
How you will receive payment:
Monthly VRAP benefit payments are paid in arrears. For example, if you begin training in August, you will receive your payment for August at the beginning of September. You will be paid via direct deposit.
Can you receive payment sooner?
You may be eligible for an advance payment for the first month (or part of a month) and second full month of your enrollment IF:
• Your school has agreed to receive and process advance payments, and
• You request advance payment by notifying your school certifying official, and
• VA receives your enrollment certification at least 30 days before classes start.
Note: Advance payments are issued via written check directly to your school on your behalf.
If you do not plan to use VRAP:
It’s helpful for VA to know if you do not plan on using your benefits so we have an estimate of approximately how many people will be enrolling. To withdraw from VRAP, please visit the VRAP website and follow the instructions under the “Withdraw from VRAP” link.
If you have any further questions or need assistance, please call us at 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or contact us through the internet athttps://gibill.custhelp.com. You can also view a list of frequently asked questions about VRAP on our website athttp://benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm.
I hope that you find this information useful, and I wish you continued success in your educational and employment endeavors.
Curtis L. Coy
Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
Department of Veterans Affairs