VA Licensing & Certification Benefit
The VA Licensing & Certification Benefit Can Pay the Costs of an AWS Certification Test

If you're a veteran with G.I. Bill Benefits, and you're looking for a good job, or you want to change jobs, or if you want to move ahead in your present job, licensing or certification may hold the key for you!

What's the Licensing and Certification Benefit?
The new licensing and certification benefit allows VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) to pay you, if you're eligible, for a test for a license or certification, such as some of those offered by AWS. You can receive reimbursement for approved licensing or certification tests you take on or after March 1, 2001. These tests must be specifically approved for the G.I. Bill.

Note: VA can pay only for the cost of the test and not other fees connected with obtaining a certification.

Will This Benefit Really Be a Good Deal For Me?
In today's business and government climate, having a license or certification can open doors for you. A license is required for most professions, and for jobs that are subject to state or other government regulations. Certification is voluntary, but frequently sought after. That's because getting a certification can help you get, keep, or advance in a job.

(By certification, we mean the certification you get by taking a specific test for a field of employment, not a certificate you receive for completion of training. However, you can also use your other VA benefits for many school courses needed to obtain a license or certification.)

In jobs from mechanics, installers, repairers to medical technicians to therapists to computer network engineers, Web site developers, and many, many others, certification plays a key role. And of course, certification is key to many fields in the welding professions.

How Much Can I Receive?
You can receive reimbursement of up to $2,000 per test but not more than the actual cost of the test. You can receive benefits to retake a test you failed. The number of tests you can take is unlimited, except that you can't receive benefits to retake a test you passed.

Note: Your total months of entitlement to VA education benefits will be reduced each time you use your benefits for licensing and certification. To determine the charge to your entitlement, the VA divides the cost of the test by your monthly benefit rate for full-time training. For example, if your test costs $400, and $800 is your full-time rate, you'd use one-half month of entitlement ($400/$800).

Am I Eligible?
You may receive this benefit if you're eligible for:

  • The Montgomery G.I. Bill ­ Active Duty (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30; unfortunately this benefit isn't available for the MGIB for reservists), or
  • VEAP (also called Chapter 32), or
  • Dependents' Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35)

To find out if you might be eligible under any of these programs, check the Internet site, www.gibill.va.gov.

Reminder: You generally have 10 years after your discharge from active duty to use your benefits.

How Do I Find Out if My Test Has Been Approved?
You can find the approved tests at the Internet site, www.gibill.va.gov, on the Licensing and Certification page. If the test you're taking isn't on the approved list, the VA will ask the state approving agency to see if it can be approved.

How Do I Apply For Benefits?
Get the ball rolling by taking the test and applying for benefits. Simply do the following:

  • Application for Licensing and Certification Testing Fee Reimbursement
  • Send a copy of your test results to the VA office that handles your education benefits. Check the map on the Internet site at www.gibill.va.gov. Attacha note with the following information:
    • your request for reimbursement
    • your name and Social Security number or VA claim number
    • the name of the test you took and the date you took it
    • name and address of the organization issuing the license or certificate (not necessarily the organization that administered the test)
    • cost of the test (NOTE: Registration fees, preparation guides, processing fees, etc. will not be reimbursed).
    • the following statement: "I authorize release of my test information to VA."
    • if requested, the facility code for AWS is 4-6-0002-10.
  • If you've never previously filed a claim for VA education benefits, you'll also need to submit an application for benefits. You can print either of the following forms from the VA Internet site.
    • If you're a veteran or on active duty, you need VA Form 22-1990.
    • If you're an eligible child or spouse, you need VA Form 22-5490.
    You can also complete and submit the VA Form 22-1990 on-line. Just go to www.gibill.va.gov and click on Electronic Application.
Or call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) and request the form.

Send the application form along with the other information above to the VA regional office that processes your claim. The addresses are on the forms.

Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions?
If you have questions on the licensing and certification benefit, or on applying for benefits, you can

  • Check the Internet site: www.gibill.va.gov. You'll find a link to the Licensing and Certification page.
  • Send an e-mail inquiry to the VA Regional Processing Office near you by going to www.gibill.va.gov and clicking on Ask a Question.
  • Call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551), or for the hearing-impaired, 1-800-829-4833. VA phone lines are often very busy, especially when school enrollments are heavy. You may have more success contacting them through the Internet.