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How Do I Apply for My GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, my name is Benjamin. I was discharged in 2002 and am now attempting to apply for my GI Bill benefits. It’s been quite a while and I’m having trouble tracking down my kicker contract. I paid my $100/month for 12 months. I’m unfamiliar with all of the online human resources stuff that seems to be around now as I don’t think it was around when I got out. Any help would be appreciated, thank you for your time.

A: I’m afraid you are too late to use your Montgomery GI Bill benefits Benjamin as that GI Bill only has a 10-year shelf life and you are in your 11th year. But depending on when you got out in 2002, you may have some eligibility left under the Post 9/11 GI Bill as that is good for 15-years from your last date of discharge.

You would have had to serve for at least 90-days after September 10, 2001 to reach the minimum eligibility of 40%. If you meet that eligibility, then go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you would get your Certificate of Eligibility. You would need to turn in a copy of that certificate to your school when you register as a GI Bill student.

At the 40% eligibility, the VA would pay up to 40% of your tuition directly to your school. You would get 40% of the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) along with 40% of the book stipend.

The book stipend figures out to $16.67 per credit per semester. I can’t tell you exactly what you would get in MHA as that is dependent on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take per semester.
You could also get kicker pay on top of your Post 9/11 GI Bill, but you would need to send in a copy of your kicker contract with your VA Form 22-1990 as that is the only way the VA knows that you have a kicker and how much to pay you. It is worth a try to request a copy of your kicker contract via Veterans Service Records website.

While 40% is not a lot, it is better than nothing.

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