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If I Am Still in the Military, Do I Have Access to the Montgomery GI Bill Right Now?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If I am still in the military, do I have access to the Montgomery GI Bill right now?

A: It depends whether or not you paid into the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). Do you remember signing a MGIB declination? Did you have $100 per month for the first 12 months taken out of your pay through payroll deduction?

If you did not sign a declination, made your $1,200 contribution, and have served for at least enough time to be eligible for the MGIB, then you “have access” to your MGIB.

But what exactly does “have access” mean? It can mean a couple of different things and each has a different effect on your GI Bill benefits use. First, you can outright use your MGIB months of benefits to go to school just as you would if you were no longer serving in the military, however, the amount you would get is limited to the cost of your tuition and eligible fees instead of the full $1,564 per month that you would get once out and going to school.

However a more efficient way you could use you MGIB benefits would be as part of the Tuition Top-Up program and in conjunction with Tuition Assistance (TA). Under TA, your service branch can pay up to $250 per credit hour towards your tuition (up to the annual $4,500 cap). Anything over the $250 or $4,500 mark is billed to the VA. They in turn, convert that monetary amount into months of benefits at the rate of $1,564 per month and deduct that amount of months and days from your remaining unused MGIB benefits.

So using TA and Top-Up are a great way to maximize your MGIB benefits as TA pays most of the bill.

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