On August 1, 2009, the new Post 9/11 GI Bill was introduced. It is distinctly different from the old Montgomery GI Bill programs.
One of the major differences for families is that it allows for the benefits to be transferred to dependents in certain circumstances. While this was also possible with the Montgomery GI Bill programs as well, it was even more limited.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill differs in these main ways:
- Tuition is paid directly to the school instead of to the soldier
- The amount of tuition benefit differs by state based on the highest tuition rates for public institutions in that state
- Soldiers receive a book allowance of $1,000
- Soldiers receive BAH at the with dependents rate for an E-5 (regardless of rank) based on the school’s zip code (not available to active duty)
- Benefits can be transferred to dependents more easily
- The $1,200 buy-in that was required in the first year of service is no longer a necessity
Soldiers who signed up under the Montgomery GI Bill can transfer their benefits to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Be aware that this transfer is permanent and cannot be reversed. It is in your best interest to thoroughly compare benefits and payment amounts before switching to the new program.
For instance, if you are pursuing online classes only, you may not be eligible for BAH. In that instance, it may be better financially for you to stay with the old version of the GI Bill.
For more information on the Post 9/11 GI Bill (including how to sign up for it), visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website.