For direct online access to VA benefits and resources, create an account here.

If you’re an active-duty service member, Reservist or veteran, and you’re thinking about enrolling — or have already enrolled — in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits, it’s important to spot the differences between programs. Namely, how the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill are dissimilar, in other words, what they offer and what they don’t.

If you have Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits, you can check their status (amount, etc.) by clicking here.

What Does Each G.I. Bill Pay For?

Montgomery: Up to $1,648 a month for 36 months (with an increase each October that’s determined from annual data on the average undergraduate tuition).

Post-9/11: It’s 100%. And it’s determined by the most expensive public state school’s in-state undergraduate tuition. If that number falls short of what a current or former service member owes an institution, the remainder can then be made up through the Yellow Ribbon Program — something the Montgomery G.I. Bill does not offer (all costs, fees and tuition not covered by Montgomery payments are the sole responsibility of the student).

Do They Pay for Living Expenses (Rent)?

Montgomery: No.

Post-9/11: Yes. This bill offers a basic allowance for housing equal to that of an E5 with dependents. It does differ depending on location, and you can’t get it if you’re only taking online classes or are still active-duty.

When Do They Expire?

Montgomery: Ten years after separation from the service, or retirement.

Post-9/11: Fifteen years after separation from the service, or retirement.

Do They Pay for Books or Other Supplies, Expenses?

Montgomery: No.

Post-9/11: Yes. It offers a $1,000 stipend every year that can be used to purchase either books or study materials.

If You Need to Relocate to Go to School — Can They Help?

Montgomery: No.

Post-9/11: Yes. It offers a one-time relocation payment of $500 (if a veteran is moving more than 500 miles and from a “highly rural” area).

For more information on all educational assistance offered to veterans (as well as other service members) click here.