What is the Montgomery GI Bill?

The Montgomery G.I. Bill is a federal law that helps active duty veterans of any branch of the U.S. military and reserves pay their educational expenses and purchase a home. It is one of the more recent versions of the G.I. Bill, which was originally introduced in 1944. The bill offers 36 months of educational benefits, and those benefits can be used up to ten years after the veteran was discharged. This helps veterans get education they can't otherwise afford, allowing them to acquire skills that would help them have productive civilian careers.

How Montgomery G.I. Bill Works

In order to qualify for education benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill, military recruits must agree to enlist for either at least 2-3 years of active duty, or at least 6 years in selected reserves, in any branch of the U.S. military. They have a right to refuse education benefits, but they must do so in writing. Once the benefits are refused, they cannot qualify for them again. During their first year of service, $100 dollars will be subtracted from their monthly pay. This money will be put towards their education benefits.  They can also choose to contribute more, but they can contribute no more than $600 dollars per month.

Once a military member completes their service, veterans are free to apply for their education benefits. They will not be able to apply if they weren't honorably discharged. If they didn't complete their service, veterans can still claim benefits if their service due to medical disability, hardship, a pre-existing medical condition and any condition that interfered with their ability to perform their duties. They may also qualify if they were discharged early due to reduction of force or at the convenience of government. Veterans have ten years to use their educational benefits.

Members of selected reserves can use the education benefits as soon as they served, for up to six years. Like active duty veterans, they have 10 years to claim the benefits. If they leave selected service, their benefits are automatically canceled.

What Montgomery G.I. Bill Offers

Veterans can use Montgomery G.I. Bill education benefits to attend state and private colleges, take technical, vocational and correspondence courses. They will also pay for apprenticeship or job training, as well as flight training, high-tech training, entrepreneurship training, licensing and certification tests and certain types of entrance examination. Veterans may also be able to use the benefits to pay for remedial, deficiency and refresher courses.

The amount of money each veteran receives will depend on the length of service, when they served, type of program and how much money they contributed to their fund. If the veteran was discharged early, the educational benefits are automatically reduced.

Applying for Education Benefits Under the Montgomery G.I. Bill

The application process is somewhat different for active duty veterans and members of the selected reserves. Active duty veterans can apply by completing and submitting VA Form 22-1990. Selected reserve members will receive DD Form 2384-1 once they served long enough to be eligible for the benefits.

Then, they will need to complete VA Form 22-1990 and send it to their regional VA office. If they already started training, they will need to bring DD Form 2384-1 and VA Form 22-1990 to their school or employer and ask them to complete the enrollment certification. Once VA Forms are completed, they will need to send all three forms to their regional VA office.