The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is another name for Chapter 30 of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, which is commonly known as the GI Bill in the United States. Specifically, it refers to a certain legislative era of the law that lasted from 1984 to 2008. This section provides for financial benefits to aid veterans pursuing education following an honorable discharge from service. While the legislation is still in effect and the program is still available to veterans, revisions to the GI Bill have opened up other options for current service members seeking financial assistance with their education.
History and Current Status
Chapter 30 of the GI Bill became known as the Montgomery GI Bill due to its association with a Mississippi politician who helped revise the legislation. This version of Chapter 30 was the standard for veteran educational benefits from 1984 to 2008 when the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 was passed by an Act of Congress. While many qualifying current service members seek enrollment under the newer program, benefits through the Montgomery GI Bill are still available. Benefits under the Post-9/11 Bill are only available to those who have served in the military since September 11, 2001.
Benefits and Requirements
Notable provisions of the Montgomery Bill include a requirement for participants to forfeit $100 a month for a year and obligation to use the benefits within a set time frame. Service members generally have about 10 years to use their MGIB financial assistance, but some may have less depending on specific circumstances, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Participants in this program can receive a maximum of 36 months of education benefits, which typically translates into eight standard semesters.
To qualify for the program, service members need to serve on active duty for at least two years or have a commitment to reserve duty for six years. There are several ways to qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill, which are separated into four categories. Many applicants seek eligibility under Category 1, which applies to those who entered service after June 30, 1985. The other three categories contain contingency qualifications for members who don’t meet Category 1 requirements. Applicants also need to be honorably discharged to receive benefits after their service is complete.
Applying for Benefits
The program is overseen by the Department of Veterans Affairs, so applicants should examine all current official requirements for application before they begin. Candidates can contact the agency online, by mail or in-person to begin the process. Typically, applicants need to complete and submit VA Form 22-1990 (Application for Education Benefits) by following all listed instructions on the documents. Official correspondence is usually submitted to a regional Veterans Affairs office rather than a federal one.
While the law originated from a pressing need to help a generation of soldiers acclimate to society during peace, it has persisted as a valuable benefit for members of the military. The Montgomery GI Bill allows program participants to develop practical, technical and academic skills to prepare them for a career following their service.