Frequently Asked Questions


How long will it be before I receive my first check after applying for educational benefits for the first time?

For new applicants, it can take up to 12 weeks before the first payment is made. However, once approved for benefits, students will receive retroactive pay. You must also certify your enrollment at the end of every month of attendance (prior Active and Reserve GI Bill only) before the VA issues you a check. You can do this in one of the following ways:


What are the current rates for educational benefits?

The current rates for students using GI Bill benefits can be found at: http://www.gibill.va.gov/resources/benefits_resources/rate_tables.html

For students using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, current BAH rates can be found at: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm. Upon arriving at the website, insert rank as E-5 and zip code as 11790. Your current BAH rate will be the dependent rate.


How long will I receive benefits for?

Prior active duty students who contributed to the basic Montgomery GI Bill are entitled to 36 months of full-time benefits.

Members of the Selected Reserves are eligible for 36 months of full-time benefits (as long as they serve and meet the requirements of the selected reserve component) up to 14 years from the day they became eligible for benefits, or the day they leave the selected reserves (whichever comes first).

Members of the Selected Reserves who have been deployed receive 36 months of full-time benefits. However they can receive these benefits once they leave the selected reserves for the length of their deployment plus four months.

For example, if a student was deployed for 12 months, they can receive their GI Bill for 16 months after they leave the selected reserves.

Survivors and Dependents may be entitled to receive benefits for a total of 45 months of full-time benefits.


What documents do I need to bring to the Office of Veterans Affairs in order to start receiving educational benefits?

Please click here for information on forms and how to submit them.


Once approved for benefits, what do I need to do to renew them for the following semester(s)?

It is very important that students notify the Office of Veterans Affairs by completing the SBU VA form. Once submitted they can bring a hard copy of their bill and schedule or submit it online. This information is then electronically sent to the VA Regional Office and a notification letter is sent to your mailing address.


Do I get paid during small breaks in school attendance? (i.e. spring break, Thanksgiving break, winter intersession)

Yes, you will normally receive benefits during these breaks, provided they are not longer than thirty days. It is also possible to receive payment for the winter intersession, but you must enroll for classes and notify our office before the end of the fall semester.

For example, if the fall semester ends on December 20th, the VA would normally pro-rate payments through December 20th. However, students who register for the spring before this date may come to the VA office and fill out the SBU Enrollment Application and receive full payment for December and January.

It is up to the student to decide whether he or she wants to collect benefits during these periods (keep in mind that the VA still subtracts these periods from the 36 month total award).


What should I do if I decide to withdraw from a class or change my enrollment?

Students must immediately notify the Office of Veterans Affairs of any changes in their class schedule that result in less than full-time enrollment, since these changes may affect the amount of monthly benefits.

Note: If a student is involuntarily activated, Stony Brook University has an official policy available in the Office of Veterans Affairs.


Can I have my monthly check sent directly to my checking account?

Yes, all students collecting VA benefits can enroll in direct deposit by simply signing onto the W.A.V.E. system on the GI Bill website, or by coming to the VA office and filling out a direct deposit form.


What must I do if I am transferring from another institution where I previously received educational benefits?

You must fill out a change of place of training form and the SBU enrollment form. We will submit it to the VA Regional Office, and you will receive notification from the VA once your application is processed. You don't have to submit a DD-214, NOBE or Application for Benefits form (VA Form-1990) if you previously received educational benefits at another institution.


I paid the extra $600 towards my GI Bill. How much will I receive in addition to the base amount?

In addition to the base pay received, you are entitled to an extra $150 per month as a full time student.


Who qualifies for VA benefits under the Vocational Rehabilitation Program (Chapter 31)?

Prior active military members who:

  • Were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
  • Have a service-connected disability that the VA has rated at least 10 percent.
  • Disabling and that arose on or after September 16, 1940.
  • Needs rehabilitation services and assistance to overcome an employment handicap or to improve his or her capacity for independent living in his or her family and community.

Will I receive the future increases in the GI Bill?

Yes, you will receive all increases in the GI Bill.


Can I receive GI money while attending summer school?

Yes, you can receive full-time benefits if you are enrolled for 4 or more credits in each of the two summer sessions.


For any other questions or concerns, feel free to speak to one of the VA representatives during our normal business hours: Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.