Opportunities Afforded to Members under Montgomery GI Bill Benefits
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
With an influx of many new arrivals at the facilities in recent times, with more to follow, members should be aware of their opportunities the Montgomery GI Bill benefits. Attached is a summary of these GI Bill benefits, which was released when the FAA training program was first certified under the bill.
Since this was created, however, there have been some changes. What follows is an update from NATCA's point of contact on GI Bill issues, ZOA Facility Representative Scott Conde that describes those changes:
"As many of you are aware, there was a significant change in veterans benefits with the introduction of the 9/11 bill for veterans benefits. Unfortunately, in most instances this version of GI Bill benefits does not support "apprenticeship benefits". This is the category of benefits that includes our programs for controllers under the Montgomery GI Bill. This means that if a veteran opts into the 9/11 benefits then they would be precluded from getting their benefits while training to become and air traffic controller. The other catch is that once you have made the decision to option into the 9/11 benefits you can't change back at a later date. While this was not the intention for this portion of benefits, it is in place to prevent the abuse of other entitlements.
"I did speak with one of the principle authors of the 9/11 Bill, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11), last Thursday. He was not aware of the limitation on the entitlement. Both he and his Chief of Staff (friends of NATCA's) have promised to look into this oversight and try to find a way to fix the problem. Like everything else in government I am sure that this will take time. Hopefully some light at the end of the tunnel soon.
"Just thought it is important to get to anyone who will be coming into the agency. This is particularly important if you are a recent graduate of the OKC Academy or know someone who is. Some of these people may still be DOD and have not made their option designation yet."