Title 38 USC, Chapter 32
Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)
VEAP is a voluntary, contributory educational assistance program that was available to members who entered the military for the first time between 1 January 1977 and 30 June 1985. The program was closed to new enrollments on 30 June 1985, when the MGIB Program was implemented. VEAP was re-opened between 28 October 1986 and 31 March 1987 to give service members a final opportunity to enroll before the program was terminated on 1 April 1987. The Navy funds VEAP unlike the MGIB Program. VEAP participants could contribute between $25 and $100 per month, either by allotment or by lump-sum payment, up to the maximum contribution of $2700. The Navy matched this on a 2 for 1 basis (up to $5,400) for a total educational benefit of $8,100. VEAP benefits can be used up to 10 years from the date of discharge. Once again, members who did not enroll before these deadlines lost their eligibility.
- You must have entered active duty between 1 January 1977 through 30 June 1985.
- Must receive an Honorable or General Under Honorable Conditions discharge.
- You must have contributed via allotment or lump sum into your VEAP account by 30 June 1985 or during the "Open Period" from 28 Oct 1986 to 31 March 1987.
- A DD Form 2057 (VEAP Enrollment Form) that states you may enroll in VEAP at any time while on active duty does not override an act of Congress. If you did not take action to start a VEAP account prior to the legislated deadline or during the open period, you lost your eligibility. The Navy has no choice but to follow the law.
- Active duty service members may recontribute to an active VEAP account only while on active duty, even in the cases when broken periods of service are involved. (Keep the delimiting date in mind; when you separate the clock starts, when you re-enter active duty it stops and will re-start upon discharge. It does not reset back to zero, it picks up from where you left off.) VEAP participants can contribute to the VEAP at any time while on active duty provided member initially enrolled before the 30 June 1985 deadline or during the open period. Once a VEAP member separates, he or she cannot recontribute to a previous account unless the member returns to active duty at a later date.
- The delimiting date is 10 years from date of separation. After the 10th year, the VEAP account is closed and any personal contributions remaining will be refunded to the member at the address the DVA has on file. You may request a refund of your VEAP contributions at any time by submitting a VA Form 5281. Only an individual's personal contributions are refunded.
Refund balance is paid on
- Member's request
- Member's death to surviving beneficiaries as designated on the member's "SGLI" election form, then the estate if no SGLI form is on record.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING APPROVED BY THE DVA
VEAP participants may pursue associate, bachelor or graduate degrees at colleges and universities. Courses leading to a certificate or diploma from business, technical or vocational schools may also be taken. Other opportunities include apprenticeship or on-the-job training programs; cooperative courses; correspondence school courses; tutorial assistance, refresher, deficiency and other training; and state approved alternative teacher certification programs or State-approved Licensing & Certification Tests. Flight training may also be pursued, including solo flying hours up to the minimum required by the FAA for the rating or certification being pursued. Before beginning training, the veteran must have a private pilot's license and meet the requirements for a commercial license. A participant may study abroad in programs leading to a college degree and in programs which offer, as a part of the curriculum, nontraditional training away from school. A participant with a deficiency in a subject may receive tutorial assistance benefits if enrolled half-time or more. Included are high school courses (unlike the MGIB) because VEAP participants do not need high school equivalency to collect VEAP benefits.
- Voluntary, contributory educational benefit plan. Maximum individual contribution: $2700; Active duty members may re-contribute in two different ways:
- Lump sum payment
- Allotment by payroll deduction
2. The Navy matches the service member's contribution on a "$2 for $1" basis:
- Member's maximum contribution: $2,700
- Government contribution: $5,400
- Total entitlement: $8,100
VEAP TO MGIB Program Conversion Opportunities
The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-275) offered MGIB Program enrollment to active duty service members who had money in their VEAP account on 9 October 1996 (the date of enactment). There was no provision made for personnel who did not participate in VEAP. Naval Administrative message (NAVADMIN 298/96) was released in December 1996 announcing the criteria for VEAP to MGIB Program conversion procedures. In an effort to reach all eligible VEAP participants, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Cleveland included a statement on all service members "Leave and Earning Statements" (LES), advising members to contact this office if they had not received a conversion package. In January 1997, PERS-604 mailed out over 14,000 conversion packages via registered mail to service members that had money in a VEAP account. Another Naval Administrative message (NAVADMIN 209/97) was released in August 1997 notifying service members of the approaching deadline. The deadline for conversion was 8 October 1997. The Navy does not have the authority to provide for exceptions to this legislation.
- The Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-419) authorizes Sailors who participated in the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) on or before 9 October 1996 and served continuously from that date through 1 April 2000 the opportunity to enroll in the MGIB Program. "Participant" means you opened a VEAP account; however, there is no requirement to have money in the account. You can receive MGIB Program benefits even if you used your VEAP benefits. If you decide not to enroll in the MGIB Program and you have in your VEAP account, you will still be eligible for your VEAP benefits. The decision to enroll had to be made by 31 October 2001. Sailors who elected to enroll had 18 months from the date of election to pay the required $2,700 contribution. This contribution is non-refundable.