Now that the Post 9/11 GI Bill has been in effect for a few years, we've got solid reports of veterans who have successfully used all their Post 9/11 GI Bill and have received a refund of their Montgomery GI Bill contributions.
When the Post 9/11 GI Bill was created, there was a provision for the refund of Montgomery GI Bill contributions after the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits were exhausted. However, it takes 36 months to use all those benefits, so the actual process couldn't be substantiated then. A comment on a very old post reminded me that I was due for an update on this topic.
There are five requirements to receive the refund:
1. You must have bought into the Montgomery GI Bill.
2. You must make an irrevocable election to to use Chapter 33 by relinquishing benefits under Chapter 30. In order to relinquish Chapter 30 benefits, you must have remaining Chapter 30 benefits as of the date of relinquishment of Chapter 30.
3. You must use all 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.
4. You must be receiving a housing allowance during the month in which you exhaust your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. (This means you must be taking enough classes to qualify for the housing allowance.)
5. You must be the original beneficiary of both benefits. The refund does not apply to transferred benefits.
The Montgomery GI Bill refund is automatically disbursed after the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits are exhausted, and it is deposited into the same account into which you have your other Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) educational benefits deposited.
I understand that many people are frustrated that they can not receive a refund of their Montgomery GI Bill benefits because they haven't fulfilled these requirements. Please keep in mind that the Post 9/11 GI Bill is an amazingly generous program that offers options for a wide variety of training programs, including college degree and certificate programs, technical or vocational courses, flight training, apprenticeships or on-the-job training, high-tech training, licensing and certification tests, entrepreneurship training, , and correspondence courses. Plus, it offers a housing allowance while you are studying. In many cases, just one month of the housing allowance exceeds the $1200 contributed to the Montgomery GI Bill. It is truly a win-win situation: you can improve your employability AND receive living expenses while you are doing it. I strongly encourage every eligible person to use their GI Bill benefits.