GI Bill Refunds

GI Bill Refunds

I get a lot of questions from service members who bought into the Montgomery GI Bill and want to get a refund of the payments.  The bad news is that you can’t really just get a refund of GI Bill contributions.  The good news is that, for the few who use all their post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, there is a provision for the refund of the payments into the Montgomery GI Bill.

Who Is Eligible?

  • Military members who contributed to the Montgomery GI Bill and,
  • Later made the irrevocable election to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) by relinquishing benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30), and
  • Had entitlement remaining as of the date of relinquishment of the Montgomery GI Bill, and
  • Use all their Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits

The refund is not available when the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are exhausted by a spouse or child using benefits transferred from a spouse or parent.  Only the individual who contributed to the Montgomery GI Bill is eligible for the refund.

How Do You Qualify?

In order to receive the refund, the military member or veteran must exhaust their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits by attending school for the entire time they are authorized, and they must be receiving the housing allowance associated with the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

How Much Will You Receive?

Montgomery GI Bill contributions are refunded in proportion to the amount of Montgomery GI Bill benefits that were unused.  A person who did not use any of their Montgomery GI Bill benefits would receive the full $1200 refund.  If a person has used a portion of their Montgomery GI Bill benefits, the amount of the refund will be calculated by dividing the number of months and days of benefit remaining by 36 months, and then multiplying that by the full $1200 buy-in.

The $600 buy-up is NOT refundable.

How Is It Paid?

For those who meet the requirements, the refund of the Montgomery GI Bill contributions is included in the last monthly housing allowance payment.

I don’t know a lot of people who have met all the criteria and received a refund, but there are a few.  Understanding the rules can take some of the frustration out of questions about refunds of Montgomery GI Bill contributions.

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.