Does The Montgomery GI Bill Pay BAH? A Guide to MGIB Benefits

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is one of the most popular education benefits available to veterans of the armed forces But with various GI Bill programs now available, there is often confusion around exactly what benefits the MGIB provides One common question is does the MGIB pay BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing)?

The short answer is no—the MGIB does not provide a Basic Allowance for Housing like the Post-9/11 GI Bill does. However the MGIB does offer a monthly payment directly to the veteran that can be used to cover education costs. Let’s take a closer look at how MGIB benefits work.

An Overview of MGIB Benefits

The MGIB provides up to 36 months of education benefits to qualifying veterans. There are two main versions of the MGIB:

  • Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) – For veterans who served at least 2 years of active duty after high school graduation Requires paying $100/month for 12 months to qualify

  • Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) – For reservists with a 6-year commitment. Does not require an upfront $1200 contribution.

Both programs provide a monthly payment directly to the veteran, with rates adjusted annually. For 2023, the full-time monthly rate is $2,358. In total, a veteran can receive over $84,000 in MGIB benefits.

The key difference from the Post-9/11 GI Bill is that the MGIB does not pay tuition directly to the school or provide a Basic Allowance for Housing. Instead, it provides a monthly stipend that can be used at the veteran’s discretion to cover education costs.

Does MGIB Pay BAH?

So does the MGIB pay BAH? No, it does not. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is only provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

With the Post-9/11 GI Bill, BAH is paid directly to the veteran based on the school’s location. It is intended to help cover housing costs near campus while attending school.

The MGIB does not offer this BAH payment. The only payment is the monthly stipend sent directly to the veteran, currently $2,358 per month for full-time students.

This is an important difference to understand when deciding which GI Bill to use. Veterans who wish to receive BAH along with education benefits will want to utilize the Post-9/11 GI Bill rather than the MGIB.

Can MGIB Be Used for Housing Costs?

While the MGIB does not provide BAH, the monthly stipend payment can be used to cover housing costs if desired.

For example, if your rent is $1,000 per month, you could put a portion of the $2,358 full-time MGIB payment towards rent. It is up to you how to allocate the money.

The only requirement is that you are enrolled at an approved school for the minimum number of credits to qualify for the full-time or part-time monthly payment rate. How you use those funds is flexible.

So unlike BAH which must be used for housing by regulation, your MGIB benefits can be allocated across all education expenses – including tuition, books, supplies, transportation, and housing if you choose.

Key Benefits of the Montgomery GI Bill

While the MGIB does not provide BAH, it offers the following key benefits:

  • Up to $84,000 in Total Benefits – With 36 months of payments at the 2023 full-time rate of $2,358 per month, you can receive over $84,000 in benefits.

  • Monthly Stipend for Living Expenses – The MGIB provides a monthly payment to use as needed, whether for rent, gas or other costs.

  • Approved for Many Education Programs – Use the MGIB for college degrees, vocational programs, licensing, national testing, flight training and more.

  • No Time Limit for New Vets – Veterans who left service on/after January 1, 2013 have no time limit to use MGIB benefits.

  • Annual Payment Rate Increase – Payment rates increase each year on October 1st to keep pace with inflation.

While the Post-9/11 GI Bill offers some advantages like BAH and tuition coverage, the MGIB remains a great option for many veterans pursuing higher education.

Choosing the Right GI Bill

With two strong GI Bill options, choosing between the MGIB and Post-9/11 GI Bill can be difficult. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • If you need help with housing costs, the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s BAH payment is extremely valuable.

  • If you want the simplicity of direct tuition/fee coverage to schools, the Post-9/11 GI Bill makes payments seamless.

  • If you value the flexibility of a monthly payment for any valid education expense, the MGIB may better suit your needs.

  • If you have existing student loans, the MGIB stipend could help pay those down while in school.

Be sure to understand your own financial situation, education plans, and GI Bill eligibility before deciding. You can apply for and use benefits from either program – just not at the same time.

How to Apply for MGIB Benefits

Follow these steps to successfully apply and start using your MGIB education benefits:

1. Confirm your eligibility. Ensure you meet one of the MGIB qualifying periods of service.

2. Find an approved program. Identify the degree, vocational program, licensing/certification, or training you want to pursue. It must be at a VA-approved school.

3. Apply for benefits. Complete VA Form 22-1990 to request benefits.

4. Get accepted to school. Apply and gain admittance to your chosen education program.

5. Certify enrollment. Provide the VA your schedule, tuition costs, and other documentation to begin payments.

6. Verify attendance monthly. Confirm to VA you remain enrolled each month to receive the next housing payment.

With some planning and preparation, the Montgomery GI Bill can fully fund your education and get your career headed in the right direction. Be sure to understand the key differences from the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but don’t overlook the significant benefits MGIB provides. You’ve earned this assistance through your service – now put it to good use!

Does The Montgomery Gi Bill Pay Bah

Step 2: Apply for Education Benefits

After you apply for benefits, you will eventually receive a declaration of eligibility and a letter explaining your GI Bill benefits. Don’t worry if the VA sends you a letter requesting more information; this is common. You do have to respond to get your benefits, though.

Enroll in school, and verify that the school submits your enrollment information to VA.

You first can apply for your Montgomery GI Bill benefit without being enrolled in school, and in many cases, this is best. When you choose a school, you can take your eligibility notification from VA to your school when you enroll. This can sometimes speed up the receipt of your benefits.

Montgomery GI Bill Eligibility

You qualify for the GI Bill if:

  • You contribute $100 a month for the first 12 months you are on active duty or qualify under Veterans Educational Assistance Program conversion.
  • You have completed high school or have an equivalency certificate before you apply for benefits.
  • You have served at least two years on active duty.
  • ​​You received an honorable discharge from active duty.

Check out our detailed explanation of Montgomery GI Bill eligibility for more information.

GI Bill Housing Allowance Explained (BAH)

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