Does the GI Bill Cover Housing Expenses?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed to take effect on August 1, 2009. Any military personnel who were called to qualified active duty and served in any branch of the Armed Forces for at least 90 days will be eligible for these benefits. In some cases, you’ll also be eligible for the benefits if you’ve served for 30 days and you were discharged for a service-related disability.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill

The Bill itself provides several different benefits to veterans pursuing further education after the active-duty service is completed. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits and how much of your rental expenses will be covered while you attend school:

What Types of Benefits Are Offered to Eligible Service Members?

The Post-9/11 version of the bill is an expanded education assistance program that really strives to help veterans who have served the country pursue a new career after their transition to civilian life. This is why the program offers so many different benefits to anyone who has served a sufficient period as an active-duty service member. Here are the three different benefits that are offered:

  • An annual stipend of up to $1000 to cover the cost of educational supplies and textbooks
  • A monthly housing stipend based on the cost of living in the area where the student lives
  • Up to 100% of tuition fees each semester

How is the Monthly Rental Stipend Calculated?

You can’t rent the most expensive house or apartment that you find in the college area and expect the entire cost of rent to be covered. Since the rules and limits for awards must be very specific, the government will offer their benefit recipients a monthly stipend that’s based on the Basic Allowance for Housing that’s calculated by the military and dependent on the school’s zip code. You will be paid a housing benefit as if you were in the E-5 pay grade with dependents.

What Does the Benefit Tier Mean?

If you’re trying to calculate how much your benefit will be after you’ve looked up the BAH in your zip code, you have to understand how the benefits tier works. The percentage of the GI Bill benefit that you’ll receive is strongly related to how long you have served.

If you served active duty for at least 36 months, you’ll receive 100% of the benefit. You will also receive 100% of the benefit if you have served for 30 days and you were disabled during that time. The entry-level skills training is included in this duration of time.

Benefits drop down as the time that you’ve served goes down. You’ll only receive 40% of the allowance if you’ve served a total of 90 days in training or serving. It jumps up to 50% for 6 months, 60% for 12 months, 70% for 18 months, 80% for 24 months, and 90% for 30 months. Not only does this tier affect your tuition benefit, it affects how much you’ll receive to pay towards rent.

Education is important and veterans deserve to go back to school without having to stress about the cost. Not only do the benefits help to pay your ongoing rental costs, you may even get a one-time benefit to relocate. Make sure to review all of the different aspects of the Post-9/11 GI Bill so that you can get all of the benefits that you’ve worked hard to earn.