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Veterans’ Services

 

Ch. 1607

reap chapter 1607

What is REAP?

REAP was established as a part of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. It is a new Department of Defense education benefit program designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation) as declared by the President or Congress. The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security will determine who is eligible for this program. The Department of Veterans Affairs will administer the program and pay benefits from funds contributed by DOD.

Who Qualifies for REAP?

The Secretaries of each military service, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard) will determine eligibility and establish the program to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserves of the armed forces who are called to duty for 90 days or more. Members may be eligible after serving 90 consecutive days on active duty after September 11, 2001.

How Much Does the REAP Benefit Pay Monthly?

The benefit payable under REAP is a percentage of the Chapter 30 three-year or more enlistment rate ($1,101.00 as of 10/1/07) click HERE for rates based on the number of days of continuous service on active duty.

IMPORTANT: Members on active duty are only entitled to be reimbursed for the actual cost of the tuition and fees of the courses taken (not to exceed the statuatory rate.)

Note: This benefit is retroactive to September 11, 2001. A reservist attending school will be paid a percentage of the MGIB three-year rate in effect during the time in which he/she was enrolled. For example: The three-year full time MGIB rate in June of 2002 was $800. Someone being paid the 40% rate for school enrollment in June 2002 would receive $320 for full time monthly benefits.

$600 Buy-up Program

Some reservists may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5400 in additional GI Bill benefits. You must be a member of a Ready Reserve component (Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, or Inactive National Guard) to pay into the “buy-up” program. For more information contact your personnel or payroll office. For a listing of the increased monthly rates click HERE.

How Much Entitlement Will I Get Under REAP?

You will receive 36 months of full time entitlement at your given rate. A REAP participant may not use more than 48 months of entitlement under any combination of VA Educational programs.

For example, if youve already used 20 months of MGIB-SR, you will only receive 28 months of REAP.

How Long Do I Have To Use Benefits Under REAP?

REAP participants who separated from the Selected Reserve after completing their service contract under other than dishonorable conditions are now eligible for REAP benefits for 10 years after they are separated from the Selected Reserve.

Details of the New Provision

Example 1: Member A has an 8-year service contract. His contract requires him to serve 4 years on active duty and 4 years in the Selected Reserve. He is called up to active duty from the Selected Reserve and, when released from active duty, returns to the Selected Reserve. He completes his service contract and is separated from the Selected Reserve. Member A will be eligible for REAP benefits for 10 years upon separation from the Selected Reserve.

Example 2: Member B has an 8-year service contract. His contract requires him to serve 4 years on active duty, 2 years in the Selected Reserve, and 2 years in the IRR. Member B is called up to active duty from the Selected Reserve and, when released from active duty, returns to the Selected Reserve. Member B subsequently decides to complete his service contract in the Selected Reserve instead of transferring to the IRR. Member B will be eligible for REAP benefits for 10 years upon separation from the Selected Reserve.


Example: Member A has an 8-year service contract. His contract requires him to serve 4 years in the Selected Reserve and 4 years in the IRR. He is called up from the IRR and, when released from active duty, returns to the IRR. Member A is not eligible for the 10-year post service eligibility period because he did not separate from the Selected Reserve.


Example: Member A has an 8-year service contract. His contract requires him to serve 6 years in the Selected Reserve and 2 years in the IRR. He is called up from the Selected Reserve, serves on active duty, and when released from active duty returns to the Selected Reserve. He then completes his 6-year Selected Reserve obligation and transfers to the IRR/ING to fulfill his commitment. Member A is not eligible for the 10-year post service eligibility period because he transferred to the IRR and did not separate from the Selected Reserve.

What About Members Release for Disability?

Members released early for disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty receive REAP benefits at the rate they were qualified for when they were released. For example, if a claimant served on active duty of one year and 6 months prior to being released, he or she would be entitled to receive benefits at the 60% rate for as long as they're entitled to REAP benefits. Members released prior to completing 90 days of active duty service would be entitled to benefits at the 40% rate. If you are released for disability, you are entitled to REAP benefits for 10 years from your date of eligibility.

Can I Receive REAP Benefits Concurrently With Another MGIB Benefit?

No, you cannot receive assistance under more than one VA Education program at one time. If you are eligible for MGIB-Active Duty (chapter 30) because you served on duty for a minimum of 24 consecutive months you must make an irrevocable election as to which program you will apply your time on active duty. If you are eligible for a Chapter 1606 kicker, you can still be paid that kicker while receiving REAP.

What Education Programs Are Approved Under REAP?

All education programs, with the exception of National Examination / Testing Reimbursement are payable under REAP.

Can I Apply for REAP Now?

Yes.

VA Regional Processing Offices in Atlanta, St. Louis, Buffalo, and Muskogee are accepting applications and supporting documents for REAP claims.

If you have never applied for benefits before, complete VA Form 1990 and write “REAP” in section one. If you are already eligible for VA Education benefits under another program, submit VA Form 1995 and notate that you now wish to use REAP. Copies of these forms can be mailed to you or found HERE. Submit copies of all DD 214s and copies of all orders for the period(s) you will use to claim eligibility.

Which Benefit Should I Use or Election Date Should I Choose?

Veterans eligible for REAP will most likely also be eligible for Chapter 1606. The REAP program pays more than Chapter 1606. You must weigh the benefits of retroactively electing REAP with the benefits of using it for future training.

Example A. Bob is eligible for Chapter 1606 and REAP. He used 4 months of entitlement under Chapter 1606 in the Spring of 2002. Bob could request retroactive payment under REAP for that period based on his active duty period in 2001. The full time rate under REAP for that period would be $320.00/ month. For Chapter 1606, the full time rate was $272.00. Bob already received $1088.00 in Chapter 1606 benefits. Under REAP he would receive $1280.00. If Bob retroactively chooses REAP, he will receive an additional $192.00 for the difference between the two programs. Is it more advantageous for Bob to take the extra $192.00 for REAP, or to elect REAP from the current date forward? If Bob takes the retroactive benefit amount, he now has 32 months of REAP to use for any future school enrollment. If Bob doesn't request retroactive benefits, he now has 36 months of benefits at 40% of the current MGIB three-year rate ($401.60 for fiscal year 2005). Bob must determine what he has used in the past, how much schooling he needs to complete in the future, and determine which option will be most advantageous to him in the long run. In Bob's situation, it might be more advantageous for him not to retroactively elect REAP benefits.

Example B. Susie is eligible for Chapter 1606 and would be eligible for REAP based on active duty served in 2001-2002. She has been in school full time continuously since she returned from active duty. To date, she has used 31 months of Chapter 1606 benefits. For someone in Susie's situation, she might benefit more from retroactively selecting REAP benefits. She would receive the difference between the two programs, and would still have 17 months of full time REAP benefits remaining.

REAP was established as a part of the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. It is a new Department of Defense education benefit program designed to provide educational assistance to members of the Reserve components called or ordered to active duty in response to a war or national emergency (contingency operation) as declared by the President or Congress. This new program makes certain reservists who were activated for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001 either eligible for education benefits or eligible for increased benefits.

$600 Buy-up Program

Some reservists may contribute up to an additional $600 to the GI Bill to receive increased monthly benefits. For an additional $600 contribution, you may receive up to $5400 in additional GI Bill benefits. You must be a member of a Ready Reserve component (Selected Reserve, Individual Ready Reserve, or Inactive National Guard) to pay into the “buy-up” program. For more information contact your personnel or payroll office. For a listing of the increased monthly rates click HERE.