Post-9/11 GI Bill® Benefits Overview for 2020

Since 1944, the United States has passed a series of bills that have helped members of the military pay for their education. The GI Bill makes it significantly more affordable for those who have honorably served the country to get the training and degrees they need to further succeed.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill® offers a variety of benefits for members of the military and their families. Let’s explore how this bill can help service members.

Who is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Members first become eligible for benefits through the Post 9/11 GI Bill when they complete 90 days of aggregate service after September 11, 2001. The longer they serve, the more benefits they become eligible for. Once a member of the military reaches 36 months of service, they become eligible to receive 100 percent of the G.I. Benefits. You will need to either be an active duty service member or an honorably discharged veteran to receive the benefits.

If you served for 30 continuous days on active duty but then had to be discharged due to a service-related injury, then you also receive 100 percent of the benefits through this bill. Similarly, anyone who received a Purple Heart, regardless of how long they served, receives 100 percent of the eligible benefits.

Those who qualified for their benefits before January 1, 2013, will need to use their benefits within 15 years of qualifying. However, this time constraint was removed for those who earned their benefits after the beginning of 2013.

With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, service members also have the option of transferring their unused benefits to a family member. This means that spouses or children can receive help with their career training or college education if their military parent or spouse does not need to use the benefit funds.

What does the Post 9/11 GI Bill help with?

The Post 9/11 GI Bill helps those who have honorably served to pay for their education. The money from these benefits can help obtain a variety of different types of education. Those who want to pursue secondary education and earn either an undergraduate or graduate degree can use the funds to do that. 

The Post 9/11 GI Bill can also be used to help with vocational or technical training, on-the-job training, licensing and certification reimbursement, entrepreneurship training, flight training, and other forms of accredited, reputable job training options.

Those using these funds to help them pay for their degree can use the funds for up to 36 months. In addition to providing tuition costs and book costs, many former military members can also use the funds here for a monthly stipend to help them afford housing expenses. Certain qualifying members can also use the funds to relocate, particularly if they live in a very rural region and would need assistance getting to the area of their school.

Your position within the military will impact the type of benefits you can receive. For example, if you are still active duty, you or your spouse generally cannot receive the monthly housing allowance or relocation benefits. Veterans, however, can receive these benefits.

With the GI Bill, you can receive up to the full resident tuition for public schools of higher learning or career training. Since all public schools have to offer their resident tuition rates to veterans who have been out of the military for less than 3 years as well as the dependents who are using the benefits transferred to them, this means the bill will cover the full tuition cost.

You do have the choice of attending a private school. In this situation, however, the benefits will pay a maximum amount, which currently is set at $24,476.79. The difference in tuition the student will need to make up themselves. 

The housing allowance that many military members also qualify for is based upon where the student attends most of their classes. This means the amount can vary from location to location.

What is the Yellow Ribbon Program?

The Yellow Ribbon Program is the name of a provision included in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It is designed to help students who may find themselves facing extra out-of-pocket expenses that were not covered by the standard tuition benefits. 

This program is not offered at all schools, only those that have entered into an agreement with the VA to offer it. Not all students will qualify for these additional benefits. Those who want to take advantage of these additional benefits should investigate if their desired school offers these programs and what qualifying factors would apply.

What those interested in the Post 9/11 GI Bill should do

Veterans or active-duty military members and their dependents who want to take advantage of the incredible opportunity offered by the GI Bill should carefully review the qualifying training and degree programs and consider what fields might appeal to them. Look at the schools that offer their desired degree programs and training opportunities and make sure that the institution is legitimate and qualifies to receive GI Bill funds. 

Those interested in going back to school should think about the potential fields that fit them well on a personal level. They should also uncover potential opportunities that would offer them financial stability and a strong market for finding jobs.

We find that these traits often entice many people to investigate the automotive F&I industry. These jobs offer an average salary of $142,855 and strong job placement rates, as car dealerships across the country want to find professionals who can help them negotiate deals and manage the finances of selling cars.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill makes it easier for members of the military and their dependents to make the transfer to civilian life. Consider what jobs might fit you best and see how this bill can help you achieve your dreams.