GI Bill Payment Dates

Updated: February 23, 2024

When signing up for the GI Bill, one of the first things you should know has to do with GI Bill payment dates. When do you get your housing stipend (monthly housing allowance or basic allowance for housing), when does the payment for books arrive and when does the school get their money?

GI Bill Payment Dates: The Basics

The VA official site reminds students there are many variables that affect when you will receive your GI Bill payments. First-time users should expect delays as it takes about a full month to receive and process new applications for benefits and in cases where the VA must verify the applicant’s military service there may be delays not applicable to other applications.

If you haven’t heard anything about a new application for GI Bill benefits 30 days after applying, contact the VA directly at 888-GIBILL-1 (888-442-4551) to talk to a claims specialist.

If you are re-enrolling, the VA takes around a week to process your documents. Note: The VA is requiring anyone who receives multiple benefits to make sure all benefits go to a single account. It doesn’t have to be a new account to just to get VA benefits, but they must all go to the same account. The deadline to complete this if you currently don’t have it set up that way is April 20, 2024.

Your Post 9/11 and Forever GI Bill payments are made at the start of the new month and cover the time period you were in school for the month which just ended. Some students experience a delay in their initial payment; once the payment has been established it generally runs on a consistent basis for the duration of the school year.

Generally once an application is approved – either for first time benefits, re-enrollment, or enrollment verification – a check can be expected within 2 weeks via mail and within a week if enrolled in direct deposit.

GI Bill Payments: Who Gets What?

In general, all tuition and fee requirements are paid directly to the school. You will not be responsible for handling or transferring GI Bill funds in this area.

The student is paid directly for the following:

The school is paid directly for the following:

  • Tuition costs every semester/term/training period

GI Bill Payments to Educational Institutions

As you might guess, the actual deposit date your education benefits actually have depends greatly on a variety of factors including the start of your academic year or term, any federal holidays, etc.

It’s entirely possible that your GI Bill benefits will not reach the school in time to meet the normal payment deadlines associated with that academic semester or term. However, it is not uncommon for schools to make accommodations for this, with the understanding that the funds are actually on their way and will arrive at some point.

Be sure to talk with your admissions counselor about the school’s policies for managing VA payments for the school that are late or delayed. In general, you may find a school is used to dealing with such issues but not always. If your school is new to the GI Bill benefits program or is new in general, it’s not safe to assume they have an existing policy or an adequate existing policy to handle such issues. Always ask.

GI Bill Housing Allowance Payment Dates

The housing stipend offered to those using the Post-9/11 and Forever GI Bill is normally paid at the beginning of the month. These payments go directly to the student and not to the school.

There is no exact deposit date or time for these payments. Students should know that your housing stipend may be prorated and will only include coverage for the dates you are actually attending classes. You will not be paid a housing stipend for summer break, spring break, holiday breaks, etc.

These housing allowances are based on the zip code where the student attends the majority of their classes–NOT where the student physically resides. The rates are established based on the military’s BAH rates, effective Aug. 1 of each academic year.

If BAH rates change you will experience those adjustments the next academic year in most cases, not immediately. Those who change schools may be given the new BAH, as will those who have been out of school for six months and are re-entering a program or starting a new one.

GI Bill housing allowance is paid after the fact. So if you start school on Sept. 1 – the earliest you could be paid under the best of circumstances is Oct. 1.

The most-common reason for a smaller than expected BAH payment is due to the payment being prorated based on the number of days in the month that a student is enrolled. Payments are made in arrears and only for the days actually attended, so if the term starts in the middle of January, the payment received in the beginning of February will be prorated accordingly. The first full payment will be issued in February for the month of January.

GI Bill MHA or BAH Payment Schedule

Use this guide to determine your projected payment date:

  • From the date your transaction was processed (labeled as “Transaction Date” on your WAVE account), go to the next business day immediately after that. 
  • Then, count 3 to 5 days for the range of your projected payment date.

The VA regularly updates the WAVE Certification Projected Payment dates.

GI Bill Books and Supplies Stipend Payment Dates

Students attending college or university on the GI Bill may qualify for a yearly GI Bill stipend for books and supplies (up to $1,000.00) which is offered based on your enrollment. Full-time students get $500 a semester maximum, paid at the beginning of the academic year. Those who are not full-time attendees will receive a smaller stipend.

It is important to remember that you need to be at over half-time status in order to receive any GI Bill Housing Payment benefit. If you are above half-time credit hours but below full-time you would receive a prorated amount.

Those who attend above half-time hours but are not full-time attendees will have a prorated GI Bill housing stipend paid to them rather than the full time amount.

Some may notice a smaller GI Bill housing stipend paid when the term begins in August or December, most often caused by the shortened academic schedule for that first month back to class. This is typical.

GI Bill Rural Benefit Payment Dates

Some students may qualify for a one-time payment of $500 from the VA, offered to those who are relocating from rural areas such as counties with six people or less per square mile as determined by the latest census. Those who qualify soon learn that like other GI Bill benefits, you should not expect a specific payment date but like most other benefits in this area will be disbursed at the start of the term unless your school or the VA notifies you otherwise.

Montgomery GI Bill Payment Schedule

Payment of benefits for the Montgomery GI Bill: Active Duty and the Montgomery GI Bill: Selected Reserve are as follows:

The student is paid directly for the following:

  • Annual books and supplies payments
  • VA rural benefit where applicable

The school is paid directly for the following:

  • Tuition costs every semester/term/training period

MGIB users generally have their payments within two weeks of performing their monthly enrollment verification. There is no fixed payment date and weekends and federal holidays may affect the payment schedule.

Those using the Montgomery GI Bill are required to certify attendance on a monthly basis, so it’s important to know that your responsibilities don’t end once your first GI Bill benefits have been paid. This is true for both the active duty and reserve versions.

Non-VA School Benefit Payment Dates

The information in this article pertains only to VA benefits issued by the federal-level Department of Veterans Affairs. Some state-level agencies have names similar to the VA such as Division of Veterans Affairs or Illinois State Department of Veterans Affairs.

These agencies have veteran education programs that vary depending on the state and payment times vary equally in such cases. You will need to contact the state-level agency issuing the veteran education benefits you seek to learn what payment times and related issues may apply.

Written by Team