On November 25, 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016 sunset the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) … please hit the link for more information on REAP. The REAP program was originally created to provide benefits to members of the Reserve components who were called or ordered to active service by the President or Congress in response to a war or declared national emergency.
REAP served to bridge the education benefit gap between those eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve and those serving in the Reserve component who were called to active duty but were not eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve. Long story short … the Post-9/11 GI Bill in many ways has replaced REAP because it has also closed this gap by providing eligibility for certain Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty.
The change affects beneficiaries differently:
- Current REAP beneficiaries - if you were attending an educational institution during the semester, quarter, or term that immediately preceded Nov. 25, 2015, you may continue to receive REAP benefits.
- REAP beneficiaries not attending school - Beneficiaries who applied for REAP but were not attending an institution during the semester, quarter, or term that immediately preceded Nov. 25, 2015, are not eligible to receive REAP benefits.
- New REAP applicants - if VA received your initial REAP application after Nov. 24, 2015, you are no longer eligible for REAP benefits.
VA understands this change may have an impact on students who expect to return to school for the spring 2016 semester. In most cases, students will be eligible for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. We are actively working to identify Veterans who have previously applied for VA benefits and are affected by this change to notify them of this change and their potential eligibility for other VA educational assistance programs.
We will be sending out more information over the course of the next several weeks but wanted to try and get some initial information out as this may affect some who were planning on attending school next month. Should anyone need immediate information, please call VA at 1-888-GIBILL-1 (7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday) to speak with an Education Call Center Agent for questions about benefits or eligibility for education assistance programs. Please reference the GI Bill Helpline for any VA Education Benefits related questions: 1-888-442-4551.