Refunds for Montgomery GI Bill Contributions

Way more thorough and up-to-date information is available at Montgomery GI Bill Refunds.

I’ve seen some questions about service members who bought into the Montgomery GI bill and are now eligible for the new Post 9/11 GI bill. The question is answered at the VA website but it isn’t written very clearly. As it is written, it seems to say that if you bought into the Montgomery Bill, and you choose to use the Post 9/11 Bill, and you use all of it, you can get a refund of the $1200 Montgomery Bill buy-in.

Please, if you know more, or if I am wrong, let me know in the comments.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • What is the answer t

    Do you get a reimbursement?



  • Ken Nichols

    To find out if you are ELIGLEIBLE…choose the Post 9/11 Bill, use all of it, then ask for the refund! ;-)

  • All, the only way to verify your elibility is to call the VA. I would suggest that you somehow get it in writing. Then take the steps listed: a) choose the new Post 9/11 GI bill, b) use all of it, c) request a refund.

    This option is only available to people who are eligible for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill.

  • Ron

    From my research, you get a portion of it back with your last housing allowance check, but I have failed to find out how much in either a dollar amount or percentage.

    If anyone has been through this, let me know how much of your $1,200 Montgomery GI Bill contribution you got back.


  • Monica

    I have almost exhausted my 9/11 GI Bill benefits after transferring it over from the Montgomery GI Bill. When I called the VA concerning the $1,200 refund, the rep had no idea what I was talking about. I had to insist on an answer to the question, which she had to ask another rep about. Her answer was quite vague. Basically she “thinks” I will be entitled to a percentage of the $1,200 but could not provide a formula or crteria to determine what that percentage would be.

  • Kris

    You will receive your full $1200 in the very last installment of your 9/11 benefits. So you must use it all to get the $1200 back. Also, if you participated in the $600 buy-up, you will not get that money back.

  • Jennifer W

    I too paid $1200 into my GI Bill, and now I use Post 9/11. I have since exhausted my benefits and was told that my $1200 would come with my last check. Well, it didn’t. I called the VA, sat on hold for 30 minutes, and the woman told me that I had to go to and REQUEST to get my money refunded back to me by going though “Ask a question.” We shall see how long that takes, or even if it works… The woman also said that this process was fairly new and when I expressed frustration and disgust, she told me to “Blame Washington.”

    • Juan

      Did you ever get your refund?

  • Ben B.

    So Jennifer, do you ever receive your payment? I am expecting to receive my reimbursement in the next few months, so it seems as if I’ll have to contact the VA once again for one more missed GI Bill payment…

  • Ryan
  • Phillip

    I too have requested the refund. The VA rep I spoke with sound to write a letter and fax it to them, which in my case is the Muskogee office. I just did that, and we’ll see what happens.

  • Alex

    Phillip, I got the same instruction. Its been about two weeks now and I haven’t heard anything back. This is frustrating, since for some reason a Marine with a Bachelors degree is not enough to get a decent job in this country.

    • Edward

      you got that right!

    • Garry

      The fact that you’re an ex-Marine with a degree has nothing to do with this thread. Maybe you ought to think about how marketable you and your skills are and stop expecting someone to hand you a job because you’re a vet and have a degree.

  • Rahm

    Combat Veteran on hold for same issue, I have not recieved my initial $1,200 back yet, on hold for only 25 min. originally i went in to a local westpalm beach VA benefits office, who said they dont handle that, call the education dept. anyone have problems with local VA benefits offices?

    • Monique

      You know you don’t have to remain on hold. The call-back feature actually does work. I’ve used it several times already. Good luck with getting your refund!

  • Monique

    I faxed a letter requesting my refund on August 26, 2013 to the Muskogee, OK office and have yet to receive the refund or any update. I called about two weeks ago and all they could tell me is that it was being processed. My co-worker informed me that I could get the refund and he stated he got his back within 10 business days. I guess it all depends on who the caseworker is. SMH

    • Monique

      So, I just called back to the VA and now they say that a letter was sent out to me dated 10/18 and that I’ll be given a proportional refund of the $1200 (which means I’m not getting all of it back). The rep couldn’t tell me exactly how much I would be getting, I just have to wait for it to hit my bank account and see.

  • Gil Fontimayor

    I’m a VEAP converter to Montgomery and have gotten my B.S. degree and still had 20 months remaining on my G.I. Bill Montgomery, can I refund my 20 months back from VA? I retired from active duty on Nov 1999.

    • KateKashman

      Mr. Fontimayor, I don’t know of any provision for refunds on Montgomery GI bill contributions for situations like yours. Congratulations on obtaining your degree, and thank you for your service.

  • LaFawn

    Well, I have some typical news for you… If you transferred your benefits to a spouse or child you are SOL. I used the majority of my GIBILL, then my son used it for 2 semesters and decided school just isn’t his thing, but that move forfeits my entitlement….ridiculous!!!

    • GUEST

      Sorry!!!! That does seem ridiculous, but thanks for sharing the info as I was wondering about what would happen in this situation.

  • Corps0810

    I’m attempting to recieve a refund of the $1200 I paid for the MGIB back in 2004. I was told by a VA rep on the phone today that in order to recieve the refund I needed to be recieving a housing allowance to get the $1200 back the exact semster that my Post 9/11 GI bill was exhausted. I’ve been taking 16-18 hours the past 4 semesters in order to apply to Physical Therapy school; as a result I only have one 4 hour class currently. I’m under full-time standards and not recieving a housing allowance so I was basically told that I don’t get my $1200 back based on the technicality of not recieving a housing allowance the last semester I was eligible for the Post 9/11 benefits.

    • DD2146

      In your last semester of Post 9/11 GI Bill the VA will pay for any class beyond what you need to get to full time. I only needed 7 hours my last semester and I took 12 and they paid for it all.

      It is a shame that information like this is constantly omitted to us. I only knew that because another veteran told they do that. I hope you are able to receive your 1200 dollar buy in back eventually.

  • LaFawn

    Pretty much anything they can come up with NOT to give it to you…I’m not gonna give up.

  • Jerry

    You might try submitting VA Form 22-5281, Application For Refund of Educational Contributions, to obtain VEAP reimbursement if you exhausted your Post 9/11 educational benefits.

    • KateKashman

      Thanks, Jerry, that is an excellent resource. Just knowing the name of the form is half the battle.

  • anthony allen

    What if u are not going to go to college and you just want your money back that you contributed to the Montgomery gi bill

  • Kate

    anthony, there is no provision for a refund of your purchase into the Montgomery GI Bill program. You really should consider using your benefit. It can be used for a wide variety of training programs, including college degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational courses, flight training, apprenticeships or on-the-job training, high-tech training, licensing and certification tests, entrepreneurship training, certain entrance examinations, and correspondence courses. You also get money for living expenses while studying. It is an amazing program and more education never hurts!

  • Rob

    after looking at the VA website i found this

    combined with

    should draw the conclusion you dont get it until after you 9/11 is over, and you only get a prorated entitlement of what “would have been left” if you were using the Montgomery GI Bill, am i interpreting this wrong?

    • Kate

      No, Rob, you are absolutely correct. You may only obtain a refund of the Montgomery GI Bill buy-in IF you use all your Post 9/11 GI Bill buy-in.

  • Jonathan

    I just exhausted the rest of my 9/11 and received my $1200 back within a few days. The entire amount has to be completely gone through. The day that it is exhausted will start the process. I go through the St. Louis VA regional office

    • Kate

      Jonathan, thanks for the update. That’s exactly how the VA says it should work! I’m glad to hear that the process worked for you.

      • Franklin

        So, is it automatic or did you submitted any forms to get your 1,200?

  • Jerry

    I paid my school ahead of time using a college 529 fund. The GI bill then sent me a check for 60% of my tuition. Can I spend that or do I have to put it back into the 529 fund?


  • scott

    Jonathan – did you have to call the VA or submit documentation in order to get the 1200 dollars back? Some of the prior posts have people calling the VA or submitting documentation. I was under the impression by multiple “experts” that this 1200 dollars was included in the final housing bill (9/11) but this was not the case in my situation. I just exhausted the final education benefit under 9/11 and only go the partial housing allowance. thanks