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Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) Eligibility

The Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) (Chapter 1607, Title 10) extends to all members of the Selected Reserve (Sel Res) and Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) who have been called to duty and served at least 90 days of Active Duty on or after 9/11/2001. REAP provides these Reserves with expanded educational benefits. DoD and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ultimately determine REAP eligibility.

Reserve members entitled to REAP include members of: the Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Army IRR, Air Force IRR, Navy IRR and Marine Corps IRR.

REAP eligibility require that the Reserve member serve at least 90 days of continuous Active Duty. This can be regular Active Duty, or Active Duty as part of a “Contingency Operation.” Contingency Operations embrace a multi-faceted approach to conflict resolution and may include political, economic, humanitarian and economic components in addition to traditional military strategies. Contingency operations also respond to natural disasters. Often these activities are not exactly “Active Duty,” but they can endanger the lives of service members the same or more than combat, and therefore entitle the service member to increased benefits. Contingency operations now include the current deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan but the term could be applied to other operations in the future. Full-time in the National Guard also meets the 90 day consecutive requirement as long as the service is authorized under section 502 (f), title 32, U.S.C., is authorized for a national emergency by the President or the Secretary of Defense, or is supported by federal funds.

The 90-day continuous service requirement can be waived if the service member becomes ill, injured or disabled in the line of duty. If the service member is released from active duty, he or she may also still be eligible for REAP benefits

A service member is only eligible to receive REAP benefits as long as they continue to serve in the Reserves. If a Selected Service member opts to leave the Selected Service for IRR, they will lose their eligibility in REAP. The one exception to this rule is if the service member has suffered a disability, is unable to serve and must leave service. As long as this disability is not related to willful misconduct, the service member is eligible for REAP for 10 years from the date of eligibility.

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