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GI Bill Buy-Up Program

By now you are probably aware that you can increase your GI Bill benefit by making additional contributions through a program called "Buy-Up." Buy-Up makes it possible for you to increase your total  GI Bill benefit by as much as $5,400. But there are four important facts you need to know to take advantage of this benefit.

Note: Veterans who select to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill are not eligible to use the Buy-up benefit, even if they already paid into it.

Fact One - How it Works:

If you are an eligible active-duty servicemember* the GI Bill Buy-Up program can help you get up to an extra $150 a month added to your standard MGIB "pay rate." This could increase your total benefits by as much as $5,400. The program lets you make additional contributions in $20 increments up to $600. Each $20 contribution results in a $180 increase to your total 36 month GI Bill benefit.

*New rules now allow Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) eligible Guard and Reserve members to participate in this program.

Fact Two - The "Buy-Up" Payment Rates:

The following table lists the amounts that your GI Bill monthly payments will be increased if you participate in the  Buy-up program.

If you contribute this additional amount:
You will add this amount to your monthly:
Full-Time payment:
3/4  time payment
1/2  time payment
less than 1/2 time but more than 1/4  time payment
1/4  time payment

$20

$5.00

$3.75

$2.50

$2.50

$1.25

$40

$10.00

$7.50

$5.00

$5.00

$2.50

$60

$15.00

$11.25

$7.50

$7.50

$3.75

$80

$20.00

$15.00

$10.00

$10.00

$5.00

$100

$25.00

$18.75

$12.50

$12.50

$6.25

$120

$30.00

$22.50

$15.00

$15.00

$7.50

$140

$35.00

$26.25

$17.50

$17.50

$8.75

$160

$40.00

$30.00

$20.00

$20.00

$10.00

$180

$45.00

$33.75

$22.50

$22.50

$11.25

$200

$50.00

$37.50

$25.00

$25.00

$12.50

$220

$55.00

$41.25

$27.50

$27.50

$13.75

$240

$60.00

$45.00

$30.00

$30.00

$15.00

$260

$65.00

$48.75

$32.50

$32.50

$16.25

$280

$70.00

$52.50

$35.00

$35.00

$17.50

$300

$75.00

$56.25

$37.50

$37.50

$18.75

$320

$80.00

$60.00

$40.00

$40.00

$20.00

$340

$85.00

$63.75

$42.50

$42.50

$21.25

$360

$90.00

$67.50

$45.00

$45.00

$22.50

$380

$95.00

$71.25

$47.50

$47.50

$23.75

$400

$100.00

$75.00

$50.00

$50.00

$25.00

$420

$105.00

$78.75

$52.50

$52.50

$26.25

$440

$110.00

$82.50

$55.00

$55.00

$27.50

$460

$115.00

$86.25

$57.50

$57.50

$28.75

$480

$120.00

$90.00

$60.00

$60.00

$30.00

$500

$125.00

$93.75

$62.50

$62.50

$31.25

$520

$130.00

$97.50

$65.00

$65.00

$32.50

$540

$135.00

$101.25

$67.50

$67.50

$33.75

$560

$140.00

$105.00

$70.00

$70.00

$35.00

$580

$145.00

$108.75

$72.50

$72.50

$36.25

$600

$150.00

$112.50

$75.00

$75.00

$37.50

NOTE: The amounts added for apprenticeship and on-the-job training are less than shown in the above table.  For the first 6 months of training, VA pays 75% of the amount shown.  For the second 6 months of training, VA pays 55%.  For the third 6 months of training, VA pays 55%.

Fact Three - How to Contribute to Buy-Up:

To apply you must have joined the military for the first time after June 30, 1985, still be on active duty, and elect to contribute any amount from $20 to $600 before you separate. To participate you must contribute through your military branch using form DD-2366-1 to process your request.

Note: The Air Force refers to this program as a GI Bill kicker.

Fact Four - How to Use Your Buy-up Benefit:

Currently the VA does not have a way to interface with the US Department of Defense to verify if you have made additional contributions. VA asks each servicemember who paid this contribution to submit photocopies of the following:

  • DD Form 2366 
  • Your LES's - if deductions are payroll deducted 
  • DD Form 1131 - Cash Voucher if paid cash in full

Note: These documents provide proof to VA that the $600 was paid and will help them process your claim to include this kicker.

Related Topics

GI Bill Military Benefits

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