In 1984, Rep. G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery (D-Miss.), led a major effort to overhaul the GI Bill. The legislation, known as the Montgomery GI Bill, may be used while on active duty after serving 24 months or more, or after separation. It requires a $1,200 buy-in, deducted from military pay, and includes a $600 buy-up option to enhance the benefit.
A proportional amount of the $1,200 contribution will be included with the last monthly housing allowance payment when the Post-9/11 benefit exhausts. Those who do not exhaust the Post-9/11 benefit will not receive a Montgomery GI Bill refund.
An individual can elect to irrevocably switch to the Post-9/11 GI Bill as long as he or she is eligible for it as of Aug. 1, 2009, and is:
DoD may allow an individual to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to one or more dependents if he or she has served at least six years and commits to serve an additional four years in the U.S. armed forces. DoD determines eligibility for those wishing to transfer GI Bill benefits and may impose additional requirements and limit the number of months that can be transferred.
Individuals must have first enlisted on or after July 1, 1985, to use the Montgomery GI Bill, paid the $1,200 contribution and served on active duty for a period equal to, or greater than, the initial enlistment period.
The monthly benefit for the Montgomery GI Bill is based on the type of training and length of service. A member of the armed forces can contribute “kickers” to add to the benefit over time.
Typically, the time limit to use the Montgomery GI Bill is 10 years after discharge.
Celebrities who went to school on the GI Bill include Johnny Carson, Bill Cosby, Gene Hackman, Rod Steiger, Johnny Cash, Steve McQueen, Norman Mailer, Rod Serling, Harry Belafonte, Bob Dole, Norman Mailer, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger
Read supplemental material about the Montgomery GI Bill on VA's Web site: