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Additional GI Bill Features

The GI Bill has greatly improved over the last few years. Not what your looking for? Return to Military Education Guide.

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We’ve highlighted these improvements in the following links:

  • Transferability
  • Buy-Up
  • Top-Up
  • Accelerated Payments
  • Expanded Vietnam-era Veteran Benefits
  • Certification Programs

GI Bill Transferability
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 added the feature of transferability to the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB) allowing servicemembers to transfer their benefit to one or more of their dependents. However, each military service has sole discretion to determine if that service will offer the transferability of entitlement option.

Benefit Update: The Army announced the implementation of a pilot program allowing Soldiers in critical skills who reenlist the ability to transfer Montgomery GI Bill benefits to their spouse. Transferability Eligibility

To be eligible, individuals must meet the criteria shown in the paragraph below plus any additional requirements the service may add.

To qualify you must be on active duty and meet the following criteria:

  1. You must complete six years of service in the Armed Forces.
  2. Either have a critical military skill designated by the appropriate Secretary for purposes of transferability OR have a military specialty designated by the appropriate Secretary for purposes of transferability as required.

Note:This agreement might be for fewer years than the individual’s reenlistment agreement but it must be for at least four years. For example, an individual could re-enlist for six years but agree to serve four years to meet requirements for transfer of entitlement.

Buy-Up
The Buy-Up feature can allow active duty servicemembers to get up to an extra $150 per month increase above the standard MGIB "pay rate." This could increase your total benefits by $5,400.

Note: The Air Force calls this program a GI Bill kicker.

Applying for Buy-up
To apply you must be a Category 1 eligible servicemember and elect to contribute up to an additional $600 before you separate. This means you can contribute up to a total of $1,800 — your mandatory $1,200 payment when you sign up for MGIB benefits, plus $600. Active-duty members can contribute (to their military branch) in increments of $20 up to $600. You can use form DD-2366-1 to process your request.

Top-Up
Through the Tuition Assistance Top-Up program active-duty servicemembers can use the GI Bill to supplement the military provided TA program. Top-Up covers the difference between the total cost of a college course and the amount of Tuition Assistance that is paid by the military.

For example, if you were taking a course that costs $1000, your tuition assistance would cover approximately $750; you can use Top-Up to cover the remaining balance.

Top-up Eligibility
If you have served at least two full years on active duty, are eligible for the MGIB, and have been approved for federal tuition assistance by a military department, you are eligible for Top-Up.

The Top-up benefit is available for all courses that are eligible for military TA.

Send your TA approval form, along with the application for VA education benefits, to the VA Regional Processing Office that handles your claim. The address is on the form.

You may be eligible if you: Entered active duty before January 1, 1977 Served at least 1 day between October 19, 1984 and June 30, 1985 and stayed on active duty through June 30, 1988 (or June 30, 1987 if you entered Selected Reserve within 1 year of leaving active duty and served four years) and had entitlement left from Vietnam-Era GI Bill.

The VA now permits payment for independent study programs if they lead to a certificate that reflects educational attainment offered by an institution of higher learning.

 

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