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Understanding Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits – Eligibility, Payment Rates, Monthly Housing Allowance and More

Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility for veterans who served on active duty after Sept. 11, 2001. Determine your eligibility, payment rates, monthly housing allowance and much more.
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Table of Contents
  1. Post-9/11 GI Bill Eligibility
    1. Tiered Eligibility Percentage Payment Structure
  2. What Are the Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits?
    1. Tuition and Fee Payments
    2. GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)
    3. Additional Benefits
  3. What If I Don’t Want to Earn a College Degree?
    1. Alternative Training Rates
    2. Correspondence School
    3. National Testing Programs or Licensing and Certification Tests
    4. Vocational Flight School Training
  4. What Does the Montgomery GI Bill Offer?
    1. Comparing the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)
  5. Obtaining Montgomery GI Bill Refunds
  6. Transferring Your GI Bill Benefits to a Family Member
  7. How Do You Apply for GI Bill Benefits?

United States military veterans and active-duty service members, including members of the National Guard and reserves, may be eligible to receive education and training benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Here’s what you need to know about the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Eligibility

Any service member or honorably discharged veteran who served at least 90 days on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001, qualifies for Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Active service includes active duty (Title 10) and National Guard duty (Title 32).

To qualify for 100% of payable Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you must have served at least three years on active duty, unless you received a Purple Heart on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Veterans discharged for a service-connected disability after at least 30 days on active duty may also be eligible for full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

Tiered Eligibility Percentage Payment Structure

The Post-9/11 GI Bill program has several tiers of eligibility, according to the VA. 

The length of your active-duty service determines your eligibility percentage.

Length of ServicePercentage of Maximum Payable Benefits
At least 36 months100%
At least 30 continuous days on active duty and
honorably discharged due to a service-connected disability
100%
Received a Purple Heart after Sept. 10, 2001100%
At least 30 months, but fewer than 36 months90%
At least 24 months, but fewer than 30 months80%
At least 18 months, but fewer than 24 months70%
At least 6 months, but fewer than 18 months60%
At least 90 days, but fewer than 6 months50%

Service members who qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) or the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) can choose which benefit best fits their education needs. 

Note: If you lost your education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) program shut down in Nov. 2015, you may be eligible for Post-9/11 Bill benefits, according to the VA.

What Are the Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

The VA website outlines the following benefits veterans can receive under the Post-9/11 GI Bill:

Tuition and Fee Payments

Students using the Post-9/11 GI Bill are eligible to receive full tuition and fee payments for an in-state school at the level of the maximum cost of public university education in that state. 

Students attending a private or foreign university can receive benefits up to $26,381.37, effective Aug. 1, 2022, for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Under the Yellow Ribbon Program, you may be eligible for extra payments if you are attending a private, foreign, graduate or out-of-state school that is more expensive than the annual cap.

Also, you may qualify for in-state tuition rates if you live in the state where you’re going to school, regardless of your formal state of residence.

GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA)

The VA bases the GI Bill monthly housing allowance (MHA) on the military’s basic allowance for housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents.

The amount you’ll receive depends on when you first used your benefits, according to the VA. The Forever GI Bill, which took effect on Aug. 16, 2017, changed how the VA calculates MHA.

This is because the Department of Defense began capping BAH payments in 2015. Before the Forever GI Bill, MHA payments were exempt from this cap, so MHA payments were slightly higher than BAH.

If you first used your benefits before Jan. 1, 2018, you’ll continue to receive the higher rate.

If you first used your benefits on Jan. 1, 2018, or later, your MHA will mirror the current BAH rate.

The ZIP code where you attend most of your classes determines your rate. Part-time students receive a percentage of the MHA based on their actual training time.

You can use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to research MHA for the school you’re looking to attend.

There are some rules regarding MHA availability:

  • Service members who are on active duty for at least 30 consecutive days receive BAH rather than MHA.
  • Spouses of active-duty service members using transferred benefits and those taking courses at half-time or less do not qualify for MHA.
  • Veterans taking at least a half-time load, and spouses and children of veterans who are using transferred benefits qualify for MHA.
  • Students attending classes exclusively online with no in-classroom hours receive a reduced MHA. For the 2022-2023 academic year, online students receive $938.50 (effective Aug. 1, 2022).
  • Students attending a foreign school receive $1,976 for the 2022-2023 academic year (effective Aug. 1. 2022).
  • Effective August 2021, students who receive MHA must now verify their enrollment at the end of each month. You can do this by text or email.

Additional Benefits

  • You’ll also receive a yearly books and supplies stipend of up to $1,000, paid proportionately based on enrollment.
  • Eligible veterans who are relocating from highly rural areas may qualify for a one-time rural benefit payment of $500.

What If I Don’t Want to Earn a College Degree?

Veterans who wish to attend a non-college-degree-granting institution receive the same benefits as those in a traditional college setting. Costs for tuition and fees can’t exceed maximum in-state public-college tuition, and you may still be eligible to receive MHA, the books and supplies stipend and the one-time rural benefit.

The MHA rates differ for apprenticeship and on-the-job training, however. The apprenticeship and on-the-job training rates are as follows, according to the VA:

  • For the first six months of training, you can receive 100% of your applicable MHA.
  • For the second six months of training, you can receive 80% of your applicable MHA.
  • For the third six months of training, you can receive 60% of your applicable MHA.
  • For the fourth six months of training, you can receive 40% of your applicable MHA.
  • For the remainder of your training, you can receive 20% of your applicable MHA.

Alternative Training Rates

You can also use your GI Bill benefits to pursue alternative training such as the options below.

Correspondence School

The net costs of correspondence school cannot exceed $12,831.78 for the 2022-2023 academic year (effective Aug. 1, 2022).

National Testing Programs or Licensing and Certification Tests

You can receive a reimbursement of up to $2,000 per licensing and certification test, and for any amount for national tests. Your GI Bill entitlement is charged one month for every $2,200.96 (effective Aug. 1, 2022) paid to you, rounded down to the nearest non-zero month. This means you can charge even low-cost tests to your GI Bill benefits, but you’ll use an entire month of GI Bill benefits per test.

Vocational Flight School Training

The actual net costs for your flight school training cannot exceed $15,075.05 for the 2022-2023 academic year (effective Aug. 1, 2022). “This cap applies to all classes and enrollments that begin during that academic year, regardless of the year the class or enrollment is completed,” according to the VA.

What Does the Montgomery GI Bill Offer?

Many service members sign up for Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits when they join the military or are automatically eligible for the MGIB-Selected Reserve when they join the National Guard or reserves. The MGIB is different from the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Comparing the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)

The following table provides an overview of the benefits under both GI Bill programs.

Benefits and CostsPost-9/11MGIB
Buy-in requirementNone$1,200
Minimum length of service
to qualify
90 days of active aggregate service (after Sept. 10, 2001) or 30 days continuous service if discharged due to a disabilityAt least two years continuous service (minimum duty varies by service date, branch, etc.). Exceptions may apply.
Who receives payment?Educational institution receives tuitionVeteran receives payment
Books and supplies stipend$1,000 per year, paid to the student at the beginning of the termNone
Housing stipendBasic allowance for housing (BAH) rate at “E-5 with Dependents”; paid monthlyNone
Are benefits transferable?Yes, under limited circumstancesNo
Time limit to useNo expiration for veterans discharged on or after Jan. 1, 2013

15-year expiration for veterans discharged on or before Dec. 31, 2012
10 years
Yellow Ribbon ProgramYesNo

Obtaining Montgomery GI Bill Refunds

Many service members want to know if they are eligible for a refund for the $1,200 they paid into the MGIB. 

Only veterans and service members who chose to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits when they had unused MGIB benefits are eligible for a Montgomery GI Bill refund, according to the VA.

Recipients can request a refund once they deplete their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. 

The VA pro-rates refunds based on MGIB benefit usage.

Transferring Your GI Bill Benefits to a Family Member

Active-duty service members can transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to qualified family members. They must have served at least six years of service and agree to serve at least an additional four years, according to the VA. Family members must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to qualify.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and Public Health System personnel can also transfer their benefits to eligible dependents.

How Do You Apply for GI Bill Benefits?

If you meet the minimum service requirement for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you are automatically eligible to receive benefits. You can apply online through the VA site or call the VA at 888-442-4551 to request a paper application to submit by mail or in person.

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About Kristi Muse

Kristi Muse is a military reservist spouse and freelance writer. She loves writing about strategies to save military families money, get out of debt, and live a frugal life. Kristi shares her own experiences about debt and parenthood on her blog Moderate Muse.

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  1. Michael Dean Sr says

    Am I eligible to get back, what I paid towards the GI Bill, if I never used it? I got out the Army in 1994. Honorable Discharge!!!

  2. Doug Strand says

    I served in the US Army from 1982 until 2004. I had the Post 9/11 GI Bill but it expired in August 2019. Is there a way to get an extension past the 15 year cutoff? If I want to attend something like gunsmithing classes at Sonora Desert Institute, can I tap vocational type college funds? Any advice will be appreciated.

  3. Jean Morrow says

    I recently separated from the Air Force and am receiving Post 9-11 benefits to go to school. I am a full-time student and am not working. I‘m trying to sign up for healthcare through Healthcare.gov and am wondering if any part of my Post 9-11 benefits should be counted as income when applying for healthcare. Specifically, is the housing portion of my benefit counted as income? Thank you for this post. It‘s so nice to finally find answers.

  4. Barb says

    By June of 2020 I will retiring after being in the service f be after 24 years of service. Because I passed my 16 year limit to transfer, sadly I dont qualify. This is something I learned so I should have the option to transfer and help my child finish college. She served just as much if not more when I had to leave her behind for deployment, missing her birthdays, school events, holidays…etc. I’m a single mom, with no support and i’m having to spend over $24,000 annually tuition, room and board, books. Now that I’m retiring, I will be needing to apply for student loan after retirement to put her to school. I dont regret serving my country for 24 years; I just hope the law makers will someday give the retirees what they worked hard for.

  5. brandon m zoeller says

    i served more than 90 days in a combat zone, was injured and now iam 100% disabled. iam almost positive that i rate both bills. how do i see if i qualify?

    • Angie says

      Go the the VA.gov benefits page and Apply for benefits… also go to your state employment office and ask for a disabled vet rep (DVOP) to see what they can help with. Also get a disability vet rep through the DAV or American Legion, one is usually at an VA medical clinic or hospital. They will help you get the benefits as well. Hope this helps!

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