Many vets use GI Bill benefits to earn a college degree each year, but thousands could benefit better by changing the well-known training program in favor of another Veterans Affairs program aimed at helping veterans with disabilities in employment, according to a study. new report released this week.
Officials from According to the Government Accountability Office, last year roughly 123,000 veterans used Veteran Readiness and Employment program. But the program has the potential to benefit even more, if VA leaders step up efforts to promote it.
“Most school and [veterans service organization] officials we interviewed said veterans with disabilities often choose the GI Bill for education benefits because they are unaware that the VR&E program exists,” the report states
“The officials attributed this lack of awareness to VA’s relatively limited promotion of VR&E and because of the prominence of the GI Bill as an education benefit program.”
The GI Bill education program dates back almost 80 years and is among the most well-known veterans benefits in the country. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits which went into effect in 2009, veterans or eligible dependents can receive full tuition payments at state universities, plus a monthly housing stipend and other financial assistance.
According to VA statistics, about 658,000 veterans used the benefit in 2020, at a cost of about $10.1 billion.
The VR&E program had about one-fifth the enrollment and about one-tenth the price tag of the GI Bill last year. To be eligible, veterans must be at least 10-percent disabled with a service-connected injury. (continue reading)