By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
While VA (GI Bills) and TA benefits are the most common type of financial aid that military members utilize, there are a couple of other less common pay types that aid certain demographics affiliated with the military. These alternative benefits are Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) and Vocational Rehabilitation Training (VOCA).
There are a number of qualifying markers for both of these programs. Do you qualify for these benefits? See the list of eligibility requirements and steps to apply below to get started on your educational pursuits.
- MyCAA is for military spouses who wish to pursue a license, certificate, certification, or associate degree in an appropriate field.
- There is a maximum benefit cap of $4,000, and a fiscal year cap of $2,000.
- The only spouses that are eligible are those of servicemembers on Active Duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. This does include spouses of a member of the National Guard or Reserves if they are currently on Active Duty.
- Students will need to fill out a MyCAA benefit form and send it to their school.
- The school will then invoice the military branch for the funding.
- MyCAA is the approving entity and will make all eligibility decisions.
Vocational Rehabilitation Training (VOCA)
- VOCA is also known as a Chapter 31 benefit. This is technically a VA benefit, but it is separate from the GI Bills.
- It is available to any veteran with a service connected disability.
- Students must contact the VA and meet with a case manager before being approved for the Chapter 31 benefit.
- If approved, the student will need to send a copy of the 28-1905 form that they receive from the VA.
- The school will then invoice the VA for the funding.
If you feel that you should be eligible for MyCAA, you should contact them directly via phone (800-342-9647) or online. If you feel like you should be eligible for Chapter 31 benefits, you should contact the VA (800-827-1000) or a VA certifying official at your school. They will be able to answer your questions, or explain the process for applying for these benefits. Remember, many of the military benefits are looked at on a case-by-case basis, so it is imperative that you speak with a VA representative to make sure you are receiving the maximum amount of benefits that your situation allows.