CHAPTER 1607 RESERVE EDUCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (REAP)

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 ended the REAP on Nov. 25, 2015.
 
Some individuals will remain eligible for REAP benefits until Nov. 25, 2019, while others are no longer eligible for REAP benefits. The Post-9/11 GI Bill in many ways has replaced REAP because it also provides educational assistance benefits for Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty on or after September 11, 2001, and in many cases provides a greater benefit than REAP. VA is committed to ensuring that Reservists, National Guard members, and Veterans understand this change, and we are actively working to identify individuals who no longer have eligibility for REAP and inform them of potential eligibility to other benefit programs.
This change affects beneficiaries differently:
Current REAP beneficiaries -- Veterans who were attending an educational institution on Nov. 24, 2015, or during the last semester, quarter, or term ending prior to that date, are eligible to continue to receive REAP benefits until Nov. 25, 2019.
REAP beneficiaries not attending school -- Veterans who applied for REAP but were not attending an educational institution on Nov. 24, 2015, or during the last semester, quarter, or term ending prior to that date are no longer eligible to receive REAP benefits.
 
The attached PDF is the DoD policy on the REAP sunset.  There is no new information in this policy but it is the official policy on the REAP sunset signed by the Principle Deputy, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (ASA M&RA).  
 
 
The attached Word Doc is guidance from the DoD Office of General  Counsel (OGC) regarding refund eligibility for the REAP Buy Up Program.   This will help answer questions you may encounter from Soldiers who paid into the REAP Buy Up who may be eligible for a refund.  The GI Bill Support Team (GIBST) is currently assisting several Soldiers obtain their REAP Buy Up refunds.   Any questions regarding a REAP Buy Up refund should be addressed directly to the GIBST at 1-866-628-5999.   
 
 
As a reminder, REAP will end on 25 November, 2019.   Soldiers who are currently eligible may have their eligibility expired, suspended, or terminated prior to the REAP end date if they:
-ETS and transfer to the IRR (Suspended) -Separate from the IRR (Terminated) -Reach their 10-year delimiting date (Expired)
 
Be advised, DoD is in process of pursuing a legislative change for Soldiers with only one period of qualifying service after August 1, 2011 to convert remaining months to the Post/9-11 GI Bill.   We will keep you posted if/when that legislation is approved.
 
Many of these Veterans may be eligible to receive benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
New REAP applicants – Veterans who have not enrolled in school and applied for REAP benefits prior to Nov. 25, 2015, are no longer eligible for REAP benefits. However, in most cases, those Veterans will be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
 
 
 questions regarding their REAP eligibility should contact the VA directly at 1-888-GIBILL-1.
 
FAQ:
1.  Who will be able to continue to receive REAP benefits?
Veterans who were enrolled at an educational institution on November 24, 2015, or who were eligible for REAP benefits during their school’s last semester, quarter, or term completed prior to that date, may continue to receive REAP benefits through November 25, 2019.
2. How does this affect Veterans who elected to use REAP?
Those who have qualifying National Guard or Reserve service that began prior to August 1, 2011, may use those same periods of active duty service to establish eligibility for educational assistance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, if a Veteran’s only period of qualifying service began on or after August 1, 2011, and the Veteran previously used that service to establish eligibility for REAP benefits, it is possible the individual no longer qualifies for VA educational assistance unless the individual was enrolled on November 24, 2015, or in their school’s last term, quarter, or semester ending prior to that date.
3. What does VA mean by “remaining period of qualifying service”?
If the period of service used to qualify for REAP started before Aug. 1, 2011, that same period of service may be used to qualify for Post-9/11 GI Bill. However, if the period of service used to qualify for REAP started on or after Aug. 1, 2011, and the individual used that service to establish eligibility for REAP, that same period of service may not now be used to qualify for Post-9/11 GI Bill.
4. What does VA mean by “attending school during the last semester, quarter, or term completed prior to Nov. 24, 2015”?
In most cases, a Veteran must have been enrolled in and attending an educational or training program as of Nov. 24, 2015, to continue to receive REAP benefits. However, the law also provides that if the Veteran was enrolled in their school’s last term, quarter, or semester ending prior to November 24, 2015, the Veteran will be eligible to continue to receive REAP benefits.
5. How many beneficiaries used REAP in 2014?
In fiscal year (FY) 2014, nearly 14,000 Veterans used REAP.
6. What percent of total education beneficiaries make up REAP?
REAP beneficiaries accounted for 1.3 percent of all VA education beneficiaries in FY 2014.
7. How much assistance was REAP beneficiaries receiving on average?
REAP participants received, on average, just over $4,000 during FY 2014.
8. How much did VA pay in REAP benefits in FY 2014?
During FY 2014, VA paid approximately $56 million in REAP benefits to approximately14, 000 Veterans.
9. What options do those who will not continue to qualify for REAP have for educational assistance?
Those who have a period of qualifying service after Sept. 10, 2001 may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. When an individual submits an application for REAP and is determined no longer eligible, VA will evaluate his/her eligibility for all benefit programs (for example, the Post-9/11 GI Bill) and award benefits under a different program if determined eligible.
10. How is VA getting the word out to REAP beneficiaries?
VA is using letters, emails, and a social media campaign to inform Veterans of the changes to REAP and the steps VA is taking to assist affected Veterans in determining their eligibility for another education program if no longer eligible for REAP. Additionally, VA is working with the Department of Defense and the National Guard and Reserve Force Policy Board and State Veterans Affairs agencies to inform REAP beneficiaries. 
 
REAP Uses:
All training programs or programs of study must be approved for veteran’s benefits before a soldier can use their REAP benefits. Ask someone at your place of training if the program you are interested in is approved for REAP benefits. The following is a list of different types of training soldiers may take and use their REAP benefits:
  • On-the-job training programs
  • Apprenticeship training
  • Schooling (College or University)
  • Flight training
  • Correspondence courses
  • Cooperative training