Montgomery GI Bill-SR Kicker (MGIB-SR Kicker)
A kicker is an enlistment or reenlistment education incentive that certain Selected Reserve members can use to increase the amount of money they receive when using their Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) to go to school. Of course, the purpose of a kicker is to encourage quality people to enlist and extend their enlistment in the various Selective Reserve branches.
The MGIB-SR kicker is the equivalent of the College Fund on the active duty side of the house. Sometimes, the $600 Buy-Up Program is erroneously referred to as a kicker, however, a true kicker does not require the servicemember to pay into it as does the Buy-Up Program.
The Value of a GI Bill Kicker
A kicker must be used in conjunction with the GI Bill; it cannot be used as a standalone education program. Depending on the reserve branch, the Selected Reserve GI Bill Kicker can pay between $100 and $350 per month, over and above the $337 per month from the MGIB-SR, while attending college or another approved education program, such as:
- on-the-job training (OJT)
- correspondence courses
- independent study
- tutorial assistance
- cooperative programs
- vocational training
- flight training
Over the 36-month life of the MGIB-SR/Kicker combo, it can pay anywhere from $15,732 (at $100 per month), to $24,732(at $350 per month).
Currently the reserve and National Guard service branches are paying kickers at the following rates:
- Army Reserve - $350
- Navy Reserve - $200
- Marine Corps Reserve - $350
- Air Force Reserve - $350
- Air National Guard - $350
- Army National Guard - $200
- Coast Guard Reserve - $200
These kicker amounts do change occasionally so check with your Selected Reserve branch recruiter for the current kicker pay amounts.
MGIB Kicker Eligibility
Selected Reservists establish kicker eligibility by enlisting for six years into a critical skill or critical selected unit. A kicker can also be authorized as part of a reenlistment package if the servicemember has not previously had a kicker. In addition to a six-year enlistment/reenlistment, other eligibility criterion includes:
- completing Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT) or Officer Basic Course (OBC)
- having a high school diploma or equivalent (before starting to draw GI Bill/Kicker benefits)
- enlisting into a valid, vacant position
- having an ASVAB score of 50 of higher for Non-Prior Service (NPS) applicants
- being MOS qualified for Prior Service (PS) applicants
Selected Reserve members can only establish kicker eligibility one-time over the course of a military career. While most recipients of kickers are enlisted members, kickers can also apply to:
- Officer Candidates enrolled in OCS
- Warrant Officer Candidates enrolled in WOCS
- ROTC Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) cadets
Using a MGIB Kicker
Reserve servicemembers who have been authorized an MGIB kicker must apply to draw on their kicker when they apply to use their GI Bill. Reserve members will usually have either a DD Form 2384 or DD Form 2384-1 as a kicker contract in their enlistment packet. National Guard members will have NGB Form 5435-R Annex K in their packet.
To start getting kicker pay, servicemembers must send in documentation of their kicker along with their GI Bill application. Otherwise, the VA has no way of knowing a kicker is authorized for payment or the amount. A kicker expires at the end of 10 years from the date of eligibility or upon discharge from the Selected Reserves, the same rules as for the MGIB-SR.
The kicker amounts noted above are for a full-time student taking 12 credits or more per semester. However, the kicker does pay prorated amounts for student less than full-time. If your kicker amount is $350 per month for 12 or more semester credtis, then the prorated amount for less than full-time is:
- three-quarter (9-11 semester hours) - $262.50 per month
- one-half (6-8 semester hours) - $175.00 per month
- less than one-half (less than 6 semester credits) - $87.50 per month
If your kicker amount is $350, one month of kicker eligibility is used for each $350 paid out. So for students paid at less than full-time, their 36 months of eligibility will last longer as they are using their kicker entitlement at a lesser rate.
Because a kicker has to be used in conjunction with the GI Bill, if a reserve member loses his/her GI Bill eligibility, he/she also loses the ability to use a kicker.