Types of Veterans Benefits
To determine your best GI Bill Educational Benefit, visit the GI Bill Comparison Tool.
For an overview of different benefits, click the title to view the description to learn more.
Active Duty Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits are available for servicemembers to help with education and training costs, you can become eligible if you are an active duty member who enrolls and pay $100 per month for 12 months. You are then entitled to receive a monthly education benefit once you have completed a minimum service obligation. The monthly benefit paid to you is based on the type of training you take, length of your service, your category, and if DOD put extra money in your MGIB Fund (called "kickers"). You usually have 10 years to use your MGIB benefits, but the time limit can be less, in some cases, and longer under certain circumstances. Monthly W.A.V.E (Web Automated Verification of Enrollment) verification is required to receive payments. More information can be found at https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/montgomery-active-duty/.
Note: MGIB benefits differ greatly from the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. Click here to learn more about Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).
If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, Veteran Readiness and Employment (formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) can help. This program—also known as Chapter 31 or VR&E—helps you explore employment options and address training needs. As a service member or Veteran with a disability that was caused—or made worse—by your active-duty service and that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, you may be able to get employment support or services to help you live as independently as possible. You may be eligible for VR&E benefits and services if you’re a Veteran that didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and have a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from VA. The basic period of eligibility ends 12 years from the date you received notice of your date of separation from active military service, or first VA service-connected disability rating. This benefit pays the school directly for the student's books, tuition and fees. In addition, the student will receive a monthly subsistence allowance during training that is based full-time or part-time attendance. Learn more about how to apply for VR&E.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) helps you pay for school or job training. If you’ve served on active duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33). If you’re a qualified service member, you can transfer all 36 months or a portion of your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child. The Department of Defense approves a transfer of benefits.
Learn about transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. You can receive up to 36 months of benefits, including: Tuition and fees. If you qualify for the maximum benefit, the VA may cover the full cost of public, in-state tuition and fees, Money for housing (if you’re in school more than half time) based on the cost of living where your school is located, and Money for books and supplies up to $1,000 per school year. The specific amount you’ll receive will depend on how much active service you’ve had since September 10, 2001. As of August 1, 2020, 90 days of active service would qualify you for 50% of the maximum benefit amount. Find out if you can get this education benefit. Apply for education benefits. See the current payment rates for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
If you’re the child or surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, you may qualify for the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (Fry Scholarship). You may be able to get up to 36 months of benefits, including: Money for tuition (full in-state tuition costs at public schools), Money for housing (if you’re in school more than half time) based on the cost of living where your school is located, and Money for books and supplies up to $1,000 per school year. If you qualify for both the Fry Scholarship and DEA (Dependents’ Educational Assistance), you’ll need to choose which program you want to use. Once you choose, you can’t change your mind. Read about the DEA program.
Exception: If your parent died in the line of duty before August 1, 2011, you can use both the Fry Scholarship and DEA. You can get up to 81 months of full-time training, but you can use only one program at a time.
As the spouse of a service member, if you remarry, you’ll no longer be eligible for the Fry Scholarship.
Section 107 (Location-Based Housing Allowance)
Previously, GI Bill beneficiaries were paid Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) based on the main or branch campus of the school they were enrolled. If a student attended classes at more than one location, they were paid the rate that was most advantageous.
Now, MHA is based on the campus location where the student physically attends most of their classes.
VA’s campus definitions:
- Main campus: A location where the primary teaching facilities of an educational institution are located.
- Branch campus: A location of an educational institution that is geographically apart from and operationally independent of the main campus of the educational institution.
- Extension campus: A location that is geographically apart from the main or branch campus but is operationally dependent on that campus for the performance of administrative tasks.
You can use the GI Bill for independent and distance learning online. If you’re using your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while taking only distance-learning courses, your housing allowance will be paid based on 50% of the national average.
The Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program offers education and training to qualified dependents of Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled because of a service-related condition or who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-related condition. More information can be found at https://www.va.gov/education/survivor-dependent-benefits/.
If you’re the child of a Veteran or service member, you can get benefits if you’re between the ages of 18 and 26, except in certain cases. Dependents receive up to 45 months of full-time benefits. You may be married or unmarried. If you join the military, you can’t use this benefit while on active duty. And if you want to use this benefit after you leave the service, you can’t have a dishonorable discharge. Military service can extend your eligibility, but this increase doesn’t usually go past your 31st birthday.
If you’re the spouse of a Veteran or service member, your benefits start on the date the VA concludes that you qualify or on the date of the Veteran’s death, and last for 10 years. If the Veteran is rated as permanently and totally disabled, with an effective date that’s 3 years after discharge, you’ll qualify for benefits for 20 years from that effective date. This new policy began on October 10, 2008. If the service member died on active duty, your benefits end 20 years from the date of death.
Important note: Chapter 35 recipients must provide the Veterans Certifying Official with both the military learner and the veteran's social security numbers in order to establish a VA-ONCE Account and have enrollment certified with the VA.
The Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) program offers up to 36 months of education and training benefits. Chapter 1606 is an educational program for members who are actively participating in the Selected Reserve. Selected Reserve components include the Army Reserve, Naval Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, and Air National Guard. The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (Coast Guard) determine who’s eligible for chapter 1606. The Department of Veterans Affairs administers the program and pays benefits. Basic eligibility requires a 6-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve and satisfactory participation in required Selected Reserve training. chapter 1606 benefits are paid on a monthly basis directly to the reservist. Chapter 1606 Kickers may be added to the benefit of some chapter 1606 students. The possible monthly kicker levels are $100, $200, and $350. A chapter 1606 kicker may be a part of the original enlistment contract or part of a re-enlistment contract. The eligibility period may be extended if you’re called to active duty. If this happens, eligibility will be extended for the amount of time you’re mobilized plus 4 months. For example, if you’re mobilized for 12 months, the eligibility period is extended to 16 months. This extension still applies even if you leave the Selected Reserve after mobilization. Monthly W.A.V.E (Web Automated Verification of Enrollment) verification is required to receive payments.
For more information please visit https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/montgomery-selected-reserve/.
This scholarship allows some eligible Veterans and dependents in high-demand fields to extend their Post-9/11 GI Bill or Fry Scholarship benefits. You may be eligible for this scholarship if you're currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program or if you have a STEM degree and you're working toward a teaching certification. For students currently enrolled in an undergraduate STEM degree program, the program must require 120 standard semester hours and you must have completed 60 standard credit hours toward your degree and have 6 months or less of your Post 9/11 benefits remaining.
If you're working toward a teaching certification you must have earned an eligible post-secondary degree in a STEM field, be accepted or enrolled in a teaching certification program, and have 6 months or less of your Post 9/11 benefits remaining.
Currently graduate degree programs are not eligible for the STEM scholarship.