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United States Military Benefits of Service

30 Days Paid Vacation

Most civilian jobs offer 10 days. You accumulate 2.5 days leave per month while serving active duty. During your career, you can sell back unused leave, up to a total of 60 days, at the time of your reenlistment or the completion of your active military contract.

10 Paid Holidays a Year -- Most civilian jobs offer only 6. At the discretion of your supervisor you may also be granted special liberty (up to 3 days off with full pay and allowances). The Commanding Officer may grant up to 4 days special liberty--usually as an incentive or reward for hard work. Liberty can be given at any time and does not have to coincide with regular paid holidays.

Navy College Programs

Post 9-11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)

The Post 9-11 GI-Bill (911-gibill) became effective August 1, 2009. There is no requirement to "buy" into this benefit as was required for the Montgomery GI-Bill (MGIB).

Eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, The Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for determining eligibility for education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Generally, to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, individuals must serve on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, for at least 30 continuous days with a discharge due to a service connected disability; or an aggregate period ranging from 90 days to 36 months or more. Benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill are based on a percentage, as determined by a Service Member's length of qualifying active duty service as shown in the table below.

Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit percentage chart.
Maximum Post 9/11 GI-Bill Benefits Payable
Member ServesPercentage of Maximum Benefit Payable
At least 36 months100%
At least 30 continuous days on active duty and discharged due to service-connected disability100%
At least 30 months, but less than 36 months90%
At least 24 months, but less than 30 months80%
At least 18 months, but less than 24 months*70%
At least 12 months, but less than 18 months*60%
At least 6 months, but less than 12 months*50%
At least 90 days, but less than 6 months*40%

* If aggregate service is less than 24 months, initial entry training does not count as qualifying active duty.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill will essentially pay the cost of tuition and fees, not to exceed the most expensive in-state undergraduate tuition at a public institution of higher education (paid to school) while your serving on active duty. For honorably discharged veterans who qualify (not those still serving to complete their obligated service) the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay the cost of tuition and fees AND it will also cover a monthly housing allowance equal to the basic allowance for housing payable to a military E-5 with dependents rate in the same zip code as your school (paid to you) and a yearly books and supplies stipend of $41.67 per semester credit hour up to $1000 per year (paid to you).

Find the policy requirements to transfer all or part of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit to one or more of your eligible family members at this link - Policy for transferring your Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefit.

Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) (Chapter 30)

The MGIB provides up to 36 months of education benefits for education. The MGIB required enrollment at enlistment and had a cost of $100 a month for the first 12 months of service ($1200 total). The benefit can be used for education through technical, vocational, or correspondence courses. The benefit could also be used to complete apprenticeship/job training, flight or entrepreneurship training, and will also pay for licensing & certification tests and even some entrance examinations.

If you served the required period of time post September 11, 2001, paid $1200 into the MGIB and elect to use the 911-gibillyou may have the $1200 returned to you. If you have used a portion of the MGIB benefit the amount returned will be prorated, contact your local VA office for further information. Note: You cannot utilize both the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill simultaneously.

Servicemembers enrolled in the MGIB program, who are honorably discharged and released from active duty before the end of their original contract, may be entitled to 1 month of MGIB benefits for each full month served on active duty, up to a maximum of 36 months. Those discharged who have served 20 months of a 2-year term of service, or 30 months of a 3-year or greater term of service, may receive a full 36 months of MGIB benefits. This program does not authorize Servicemembers to enroll in MGIB if they previously declined MGIB or were not eligible for enrollment.

Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP)

For those who entered service for the first time between January 1, 1977, and June 30, 1985. Benefit entitlement is 1 to 36 months depending on the number of monthly contributions. You have 10 years from your release from active duty to use VEAP benefits. If there is entitlement not used after the 10-year period, your portion remaining in the fund will be automatically refunded. If you wish to withdraw your contributions from VEAP prior to the expiration of the 10 year period, obtain and complete VA Form 22-5281, Application for Refund of Educational Contributions, and send it to your nearest VA regional office.

Members who contributed to VEAP and completed the required service time Post 9/11 are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Those who joined during the Veterans Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) era but did not buy into VEAP and served the required time post September 11, 2001 ARE eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Tuition Assistance

The Navy is committed to ensuring eligible Sailors can take advantage of one of the Navy's oldest and continuously running education programs.

The annual cap on Tuition Assistance (TA) and Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE) is 18 semester hours (or equivalent quarter hours) per fiscal year, effective 1 October 2021. Sailors may only take two funded courses per fiscal quarter determined by start date.

To be eligible to utilize TA, Sailors MUST have a minimum of three years time in service, and must have received individual trait marks of 3.0 or greater on their most recent eval or fitrep. Additionally, the Sailor cannot have received an adverse non-judicial punishment (NJP) or court martial within the previous 12 months.

For the complete list of changes for Fiscal Yar 2022, read NAVADMIN 214/21.

VA-Guaranteed Home Loans

VA-guaranteed loans are made by private lenders such as banks, savings and loan associations, or mortgage companies. To get a VA mortgage loan, you apply to the lender. If the loan is approved, VA guarantees the loan when it is closed. The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you or a later owner fail to repay the loan.

Maximum VA Loan Amount -- There is no maximum VA loan, except that the loan cannot exceed the lesser of the appraised value or purchase price, plus VA funding fee and energy efficient improvements, if applicable. However, lenders usually won't make a no-down payment loan larger than $417,000 ($625,500 in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands) due to secondary market limitations.

VA home loan program benefits require two years of active duty service for eligibility. Voluntary early separation for Servicemembers with less than two years active duty is a disqualifying factor for this benefit.

Lifetime Medical Care

Less than half of civilian employers offer retiree medical insurance. Tricare insurance is low cost to military dependents and retirees. The co-pay is very low compared to insurance available to civilians. Health insurance can be one of the most costly services you will pay for as a civilian.

Military Disability Coverage -- In the Navy if you are injured and unable to work, you continue to receive your compensation indefinitely. In the civilian sector you cease to be paid when you exhaust your sick and vacation time. Disability insurance can be purchased but it is very expensive and pays only a percentage of your income.

Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI)

SGLI is low cost life insurance for those on active duty, Reserve or National Guard, and for cadets and midshipmen of the four service academies, and members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

As of March 1, 2023, SGLI coverage is a maximum of $500K, available in $50K increments.

Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Beneficiary

Anyone designated in writing by the Servicemember as a beneficiary would be eligible. This could be a dependent, friend, fiancée, co-worker, member of the family who is not a military dependent, etc. (Title 38 U.S.C. section 1970). Members may go to their local Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) or command pay/personnel administrative support system (PASS) coordinator (CPC) for assistance with updating their SGLI beneficiaries.

Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI)

Post-separation insurance that allows the Servicemember to convert their SGLI coverage to a renewable term insurance. Servicemember designates beneficiary(s) on the SGLI election and certificate, SGLV 8286 (Title 38 U.S.C. section 1970). Sailors are given the option to list anyone as a beneficiary upon retirement from the Navy. Members may go to their local Personnel Support Detachment for assistance with electing their VGLI beneficiary upon retirement.

Military Morale, Welfare and Recreation Services

The military is very concerned about the welfare and morale of Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Airmen. The range of recreational services and assistance available to you by the military is unmatched by any civilian job. Some of the services/assistance include:

Other Military Benefits

Military benefits listed above are designed as an over-view for comparison with civilian benefits. "Military" includes the Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard.

For the most up to date information regarding military benefits please contact a local recruiter of the branch of your choice.

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