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What GI Bill Do I Have?

“What GI Bill do I have?” That may not seem like a common question; most are fully informed about the nature of the current GI Bill program when informed about their benefits.

But GI Bill options have changed a great deal over the last few years, and some aren’t sure whether they have access to Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bill or whether all that has been replaced by the Forever GI Bill (not true.)

If you are a veteran, eligible family, active duty service member, Reservist, or National Guard member, you may qualify for one or more GI Bill benefits. To learn what you currently qualify for or what you may use at application time, you’ll need to do so online via one of the following portals:

  • Login.gov
  • ID.me
  • DS Logon
  • My HealtheVet

Once logged in, search for your GI Bill Statement of Benefits. This document lists the GI Bill program you are enrolled in and how much of your benefit remains to be used.

Read more: How to Check Your GI Bill Status

Which GI Bill Do I Have?

The answer to this question may depend on when you joined the military, when you retired or separated from military service, and the type of program offered when you were serving. Typically, you qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill (active duty or Selected Reserve) or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In some cases, troops may be eligible for both, but only one may be selected.

The legislation known as the Forever GI Bill is not a separate program but rather a list of modifications and reforms to the GI Bill program overall.

Who Is Eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill

One of the following must be true to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill:

  • You served at least 90 days on active duty on or after September 11, 2001, or;
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged, or;
  • You served for at least 30 continuous days on or after September 11, 2001, honorably discharged with a service-connected disability or;
  • You’re a dependent child using transferred benefits.
  • Reservists who lost education benefits after the Reserve Educational Assistance Program ended in 2015 may qualify for restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Military members still on active duty may have the option to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or dependent. If you are using transferred GI Bill benefits you are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Read more: How to Transfer the Post-9/11 GI Bill

Who Qualifies for the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD)

You may qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill if you fit into one of the following categories as listed on the VA official site. As the VA advises, one of the categories below “must describe you.”

Category I

    • You have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
    • Entered active duty for the first time after June 30, 1985, and
    • Had your military pay reduced by $100 a month for the first 12 months of service

Category II

    • You have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college;
    • Entered active duty before January 1, 1977, or before January 2, 1978, under a delayed enlistment program contracted before January 1, 1977;
    • Served at least a day between October 19, 1984, and June 30, 1985, and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 or through June 30, 1987, if you entered the Selected Reserve within one year of leaving active duty and served 4 years;
    • Had at least a day of entitlement left under the Vietnam Era GI Bill (Chapter 34) as of December 31, 1989

Category III

    • You have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit;
    • Don’t qualify for MGIB under categories I or II;
    • Had your military pay reduced by $1,200 before separation
    • Were on active duty on September 30, 1990, and involuntarily separated after February 2, 1991, or;
    • Involuntarily separated on or after November 30, 1993, or;
    • Chose the Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) program or the Special Separation Benefit (SSB) program

Category IV

    • You have a high school diploma, GED, or 12 hours of college credit, and
    • Had military pay reduced by $100 a month for 12 months or made a $1,200 lump-sum contribution
    • Were on active duty on October 9, 1996, had money left in a VEAP account on that date, and chose MGIB before October 9, 1997, or
    • Entered full-time National Guard duty under title 32, July 1, 1985, and November 28, 1989, and chose MGIB between October 9, 1996, and July 9, 1997

The Montgomery GI Bill is not transferable under any circumstances.

Who Qualifies for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR)

You may be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve if one of the following applies to you:

  • You have a 6-year service obligation in the Selected Reserve, or
  • You’re an officer in the Selected Reserve, and you agreed to serve 6 years in addition to your current obligation
  • Your obligation must have started after June 30, 1985, or for some training after September 30, 1990.

All of the following must apply:

  • Completed your initial active duty for training (IADT), and
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent before finishing IADT
  • Can’t use 12 hours toward a college degree to meet this requirement), and
  • Must stay in good standing

Related: Veterans Readiness and Employment Program




About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.