First, let’s clarify a few things. The Post 9/11 Bill is the same thing as the Chapter 33 GI Bill. Further, the Montgomery GI Bill is also called Chapter 1606. You don’t know how many people tell me they have one but not the other, not realizing the difference. And second, you always have a choice. When entering the military you get the option to choose one benefit or the other. It should really come down to which education benefits best suit your needs and educational goals. One of the biggest gaps in information that I can recall comes when discussing military benefits. So here is a little advice for new soldiers and those salty Vets.
Personal Experience: In 2010 I joined and was granted access to the Ch. 1606 Montgomery GI Bill. I honestly didn’t know how to use it or even where to start. Luckily I had an expert at the college I attended. (Note: There’s always a qualified VA representative at every college. FIND HIM/HER!) I used the 1606 for approximately a year before deploying. Money wasn’t much, but it helped. When I got back from Afghanistan they don’t me I was eligible for the Ch. 1607 (REAP) <—Spoiler, they cancelled this program in 2016. Eventually I used up all my benefits (36 months) and transitioned to the Post 9-11. This gave me another year. FYI, if you start with the Post 9-11 you can’t transition back to the 1606. Its one directional. Again EMPHASIS on selecting what suits you best. If you have plenty of active duty time and you’re granted 100% w/Post 9-11, you may want to go that route.
Understand the Difference
Post 9-11 GI Bill: Get started here POST 9-11 CHECKLIST The VA offers a great piece of information on education, training, benefits, and tuition. This benefit will match tuition based off a percentage, dependent on active duty service. It also offers housing allowance (a considerable deduction for online school), possible $money if you have to move to attend school, and up to $1,000 in book stipends. Other programs may exist to create more funding for you, such as the Yellow Ribbon Program and various military/government grants. 36 Months Eligibility, expiring 15 years after expiration.
Montgomery GI Bill: Benefits can reach up to $1,600 a month for 36 months and go straight into your empty, college poor, pockets. There is no housing allowances, relocation funds, or book stipends. BENEFITS are good up to 10 years following separation from the military. President Trump and friends are working to change that (check out the article at military.com
Additional Info: While there is additional information on Vocational Training, OJT, Correspondence Courses, Flight Training, etc., and another world in which transferring benefits to a family member is an option, I haven’t used them. I don’t want to give you misinformation and create another soldier who was misinformed. So, if you have any contributions to this post please leave in comments or message me directly and I will update this post with your information and link to webpage and all the kudos. Below are a few links to help you with your research and to be a informed citizen and soldier.
PHOTO CREDIT: Dept of VA