Montgomery GI Bill Refunds

Now that the Post 9/11 GI Bill has been in effect for a few years, we’ve got solid reports of veterans who have successfully used all their Post 9/11 GI Bill and have received a refund of their Montgomery GI Bill contributions.

When the Post 9/11 GI Bill was created, there was a provision for the refund of Montgomery GI Bill contributions after the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits were exhausted.  However, it takes 36 months to use all those benefits, so the actual process couldn’t be substantiated then.  A comment on a very old post reminded me that I was due for an update on this topic.

There are five requirements to receive the refund:

1.  You must have bought into the Montgomery GI Bill.

2.  You must make an irrevocable election to to use Chapter 33 by relinquishing benefits under Chapter 30.  In order to relinquish Chapter 30 benefits, you must have remaining Chapter 30 benefits as of the date of relinquishment of Chapter 30.

3.  You must use all 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

4.  You must be receiving a housing allowance during the month in which you exhaust your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. (This means you must be taking enough classes to qualify for the housing allowance.)

5.  You must be the original beneficiary of both benefits.  The refund does not apply to transferred benefits.

The Montgomery GI Bill refund is automatically disbursed after the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are exhausted, and it is deposited into the same account into which you have your other Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits deposited.

I understand that many people are frustrated that they can not receive a refund of their Montgomery GI Bill benefits because they haven’t fulfilled these requirements.  Please keep in mind that the Post 9/11 GI Bill is an amazingly generous program that offers options 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, , and correspondence courses.  Plus, it offers a housing allowance while you are studying.  In many cases, just one month of the housing allowance exceeds the $1200 contributed to the Montgomery GI Bill.  It is truly a win-win situation:  you can improve your employability AND receive living expenses while you are doing it.    I strongly encourage every eligible person to use their GI Bill benefits.

More information on this topic can be found at:

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.
  • Cosmo Swan

    Where can we find out if this situation applies to us?

  • Wendell

    Good question

  • eric

    Hello I only got to use two months of my money go bill b4 my 10 years expried can I still get a refund if I paid in to the program am unemployed and I need help that $1200 can realy help me to get my daughter Christmas. Gifts please reply

    • Dave

      If you qualify for the post 9-11 GI bill (look up the qualifications, although it may be unlikely if you are over 10 years removed from service), switch and you time is extended to 15 years. You still have to use it all up before you get the $1200, and no they do not care of your current employment status or Christmas

  • MattG

    So if I transfer my Post 9/11 to my spouse I won’t receive my $1200 back? Basically I gave away $1200 for nothing?

    • Chrsi

      You only have to give your spouse all but one moth of your benefits and then use the last month for yourself and you can get your $1200 back. Read the rules.

      • Thomas

        Yes why would you give benefits to someone who could divorce you ????

  • PMJ

    MattG….How is paying $1200 into a program that gives you and/or your dependents over $50,000 in education benefits “for nothing?” You are truly an example of what is wrong with the human race.

    • Nicholas

      Love this response.

    • Nathan Lowman

      the 1200 dollars went to the Montgomery GI bill so you would be eligible for education benefits…. but once the post 9/11 gi bill was enacted, everyone who came in from that point got the same benefits others paid 1200 for, but for free. So basically we paid 1200 dollars to get education benefits and then 6 months later they were considered free. So im with Matt G…. Where the hell is my 1200 dollars. There is no system set into place to handle all this and its a slippery slope. But the people deserve their money back who were active duty while the Post 9/11 was enacted.

  • Lou

    I think people should really pay attention to Requirement #5. “The refund does not apply to transferred benefits.” Did anyone tell YOU that before you transferred your benefits?

  • Terri

    I certainly would like to know if it is possible to get my $1200 back. I am a veteran who was honorably discharged in 1991. I did not utilize the benefits prior to the expiration date. So why can’t I get my initial investment back?

  • Jacky

    I have one day of benefits under Post 9/11 and paid into the Montgomery GI Bill. How would I qualify for a refund if I only have one day of benefits left? I would have to enroll full time and take 12 units to be eligible for a refund however I am done with school.

    • dave

      You could always sign up for AMU or some other online college and take three easy classes and get your refund. I guess you have to look at it like this: is taking three classes worth your time and stress for $1200? If yes, then take the classes, if no, then don’t.

  • alex

    where could i fax a returned gi bill check thats older than 3 years?

  • Bernard Garrett

    How can i find out how much money i have on the montgomery gi bill and where can i go to use it.

  • David

    Just found out G.I. Bill doesn’t cover “continuing education (credit) units,” even from a state university. I spent 11 years on active duty. Nice!