I also asked the same question, just got a response this morning.
I just got a response like this as well! WE IN BOYS!!!!!!I also asked the same question, just got a response this morning.
I have looked into the question that you raised in your email below and have concluded that you should continue to receive your Post-9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) as though you were training in-person at the facility. My conclusion is based on several reasons.
First, Congress has taken steps to provide benefits at in-person rates for recipients who have been forced to learn/train remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The VA’s own COVID-19 FAQ addresses the issue directly:
Q11) What happens if my On the Job Training (OJT) or Apprenticeship establishment changes to online and remains open, but I can’t work because I was furloughed? What if it temporarily ceases the trainee program training due to COVID-19?
· If your training facility can change to an online format, you will continue to receive your regular MHA payment.
· If your training facility remains open, but you must stop training (due to furlough, illness, etc.), VA can only pay education benefits through the last day of your training.
· If the facility where you work temporarily ceases operations, VA can continue to pay trainees their monthly housing through the end of the program or for 28 days, whichever is sooner
Second, 38 U.S.C. 3313 sets forth the educational assistance that is available through the Post-9/11 GI Bill, including the MHA. Section 3313(c)(1)(B)(iii) specifies that recipients pursuing degrees at institutions of higher learning are entitled to 50% of the in-person MHA if they pursue their program of education solely through distance learning. However, Section 3313(g)(3)(B), which addresses recipients pursuing on-the-job training like you, contains no reference to a reduced MHA due to distance learning. If Congress had intended to reduce the amount of the MHA to recipients who receive on-the-job training remotely, then it would have specified the reduced benefit in the statute. Since Congress did not do so, the conclusion is that the MHA for on-the-job training remains the same whether the recipient trains in-person or remotely.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Grant E. Mulkey
Senior Counsel for Labor Relations
National Air Traffic Controllers Association, AFL-CIO
The facility threw a fit about how they would have to redo their time cards because they coded it wrong and I transferred to a higher cost of living area that would have troubled the MHA I was entitled to per month, so I just stopped pursuing it. Not sure if anyone else pushed the issue, but it seemed pretty cut and dry.Very late follow up.
Did you receive full MHA throughout the pandemic? Our facility’s rep for the GI Bill OTJ is inept to describe it best and can’t figure anything out.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill and Section 1106 of Public Law (P.L.) 116-315, Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M. D., Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020.
May 5, 2021
What has Changed: On January 5, 2021, P.L. 116-315 was signed into law. Section 1106 of this law, entitled “Apprenticeship or On-the-Job training (APP/OJT) requirements during COVID-19,” enhances APP/OJT benefits during the covered period. These temporary provisions protect APP/OJT beneficiaries from periods of unemployment through permitting proration of required training and applying rollover training hours. Before this provision, for any month in which a beneficiary failed to complete 120 hours of training, the training assistance allowance payable and the entitlement chargeable would be reduced in proportion to the reduced number of hours worked for each month. This section mitigates the negative impacts to beneficiaries enrolled in APP/OJT training programs who become unemployed or unable to fulfill the 120-hour requirement during the covered period due to the COVID-19 emergency. These enhanced benefits are applicable during the covered period, beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on December 21, 2021.
Purpose/Discussion: The purpose of this advisory is to discuss how the Section 1106 provisions impact the payment of education benefits received for APP/OJT training during the covered period.
Prorating Required Training: During the covered period, section 1106 allows VA to prorate benefits based on the hours offered rather than a standard 120 hours measurement. If a beneficiary is offered less than 120 hours of work during a month by their employer, the requirement for full-time training will be reduced to the number of hours actually offered. Then, the amount of training benefits payable will be based on the number of hours worked in relation to the new full-time requirement for the month. Section 1106 applies to beneficiaries that have been furloughed and work 0 hours for an entire month, but it does not apply to beneficiaries who are no longer employed in the App/OJT program for which they are being paid. Therefore, if the beneficiary is only offered 100 hours during the month, the beneficiary must work the 100 hours to receive the full-time monthly rate. Similarly, if the beneficiary is offered 0 hours during a month and works 0 hours, he/she would still be eligible to receive full-time benefits for that month.
Rolling Over Excess Hours: During the covered period, section 1106 also allows VA to apply rollover hours to benefit APP/OJT beneficiaries. If in a single month a beneficiary works more than the number of hours required to qualify for benefits at the full-time rate (including full-time rates adjusted based on section 1106 proration rules described above), he or she will be eligible to roll the excess hours over to the next month. This provision applies even if the second month has been prorated based on the number of hours offered by the employer. Excess hours can only be rolled over to the following month.
Example: APP/OJT beneficiary works 160 hours in August, 100 hours in September, and 100 hours in October. Only 110 hours were offered by the employer for both September and October. The full-time hour requirement for September and October will be prorated to 110 hours. The 40 excess hours worked in August will roll over into September, so September will be paid as if the claimant worked full-time that month. None of the additional 30 excess hours can be rolled into October, so October will be paid as if the beneficiary worked 100 hours of the 110 offered.
Entitlement Charge: Using Section 1106 to increase training assistance paid will not result in increased entitlement charged for the affected months. The entitlement charge for all months during the covered period will be calculated based on the number of hours that were worked by the beneficiary in proportion to a full-time requirement of 120 hours.
Applicability Period: This Policy Advisory applies to training received during the period beginning on March 1, 2020 and ending on December 21, 2021. Unless Section 1106 is otherwise extended, the payment of apprenticeship and OJT benefits will revert to normal processing after December 21, 2021.
My understanding is nothing changes for the SCOs at OJT/APP facilities, they should continue to report timely and accurate hours of training. This advisory will allow processors to review hours in the system and generate payments if a beneficiary was not offered training due to COVID from March 2020.
Then, the amount of training benefits payable will be based on the number of hours worked in relation to the new full-time requirement for the month. Section 1106 applies to beneficiaries that have been furloughed and work 0 hours for an entire month, but it does not apply to beneficiaries who are no longer employed in the App/OJT program for which they are being paid. Therefore, if the beneficiary is only offered 100 hours during the month, the beneficiary must work the 100 hours to receive the full-time monthly rate. Similarly, if the beneficiary is offered 0 hours during a month and works 0 hours, he/she would still be eligible to receive full-time benefits for that month.