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Is It True That Everyone Would Receive the Same Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, my husband is separating from the Air Force next year and has been hearing all kinds of things about the G.I Bill. I’m hoping you can put a couple things to rest. First off, is there any truth that they are changing the BAH so that everyone gets a flat rate no matter where you’re going to school? And also if my husband is in the Guard while going to school full-time, does he get extra pay on top of his Guard wages? Thank you for any info you can give me.

A: My answers to your questions are no and yes…let me explain. First, no, there is not any truth that everyone will get the same Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance (not BAH – that is something entirely different). And the reason it would not work is because of the big difference in cost of living across the United States.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is calculated off of the BAH designated for each zip code in an area. That BAH rate is determined (and adjusted annually) based on local housing, rental insurance and utilities cost.

So while one student may be getting less than $1,000 per month if s/he is going to school in the Midwest, that same student would get over $2,400 per month to go to school in New York City. So if everyone got the same amount, one student would be advantaged (due to low cost-of-living) while the other student would be disadvantaged (due to high cost-of-living).

As far as your husband using his Post 9/11 GI Bill while in the Guard, he would get the same Post 9/11 GI Bill pay whether he is in the Guard/Reserve or not. It is not like active duty where you can’t get the housing allowance if you are still on active duty.

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