Q: My question is a general one. I am an officer in the Family Readiness Group and am often asked about the Post 9/11GI Bill. One scenario in particular is this…. I have a USANG TSGT (at this time is on Title 10 for 6 months) who has put in 7 years and was wanting to transfer his GI BILL to his wife. Can he do this and it be effective immediately?
A: To answer your first question, yes (provided he has at least four years left on his enlistment at the time he makes his request) he can make a transfer of his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and most likely get it approved.
He meets the first service requirement of having served for at least six years and he is currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, which includes all of the Reserves and the National Guard. He just has to meet that four-year enlistment remaining requirement.
Being he is on a Title 10 order, he meets the Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility requirement of having served for a minimum of 90 days after September 10, 2001. However, with only six months of eligible service, he would be at the 50% tier. His wife would inherit this same tier percentage.
If he does submit a transfer request, it takes some time for it to be approved, so it would not be effective immediately, but it should be approved within a month or two.
Also know that if she does go to school while he is on a Title 10 order, she would not get the monthly housing allowance – only her tuition paid and the book stipend. Once off Title 10 orders, then she would start getting the housing allowance.
Q: My husband (active-duty Navy officer) transferred all of his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to me. I have already registered for classes for this semester and my classes start in one week. I just applied to use those benefits through my university’s veterans’ affairs office and they said it can take weeks for the VA to process my request. In the meantime – I’ve already been billed by the university for the first semester. If I pay out of pocket (or use my Pell Grant or Stafford Loan) to pay for this semester, will I be reimbursed by the VA? I did include my direct deposit information on the form. Or do I not receive benefits until the start of the next semester? Thank you! Renee
A: I would go talk to your school Renee and see first if they know you are using GI Bill benefits and second if they can wait until they get paid by the VA. Some schools have the student pay up front and then reimburse the student once the VA pays them. That is a clumsy system, but some schools don’t want to wait for their money.
I’m leery of having you pay the tuition and here is why. Things can get really screwed up fast if your school is not on the ball. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA is the last payer when other forms of payment are involved. So if you pay and your school records that tuition payment, then there is nothing left for the VA to pay.
It probably works O.K. if your school holds your tuition payment in escrow and bills the VA for the full amount, but as you can imagine, there are lots of moving parts to a system like this. Unfortunately if something does go awry, it is really difficult to get it straightened out.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, I’m just saying ask lots of questions as to how they do it. If they have a large veteran student population and have been doing it for a few years, it probably works great. If it is a new system or they are not used to working with veterans, I would proceed more cautiously.
It can take up to 8 weeks to get your first Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance payment. After that, you should see something monthly. Your book stipend usually comes as a separate payment shortly after the start of the semester.
Q: My husband has 12 years of service as an active duty Marine. He plans to do “at least” 20 years in the Marine Corps. He would like for me to use his Post 911 GI Bill to complete my Master’s degree. He is currently half-way through a 4-year enlistment and is not eligible to reenlist for another year. Do I have to postpone taking advantage of this benefit for a whole year since he doesn’t have a 4-year enlistment currently? He was not told about this when he reenlisted 2 years ago. He also has a “letter of intent to reenlist” signed by his CO. His command is fully aware that he is a career Marine and has every intention to reenlist. They are even “grooming” him for a 1stSgt position. I had read that if a service member does not complete the 4 year enlistment after taking advantage of these benefits they may be liable for repaying the costs of tuition etc. Why would that not also be the case in our situation? Any additional information or assistance you can offer would be very much appreciated.
A: Unfortunately rules are rules and one of the stipulations is that he has to have at least four years left on his enlistment at the time of his transfer request. The other two are currently serving and having served for at least six years – both of which he meets and exceeds.
In the end you most likely would have to wait until his reenlistment window opens up and he can extend. Usually letters of intent to reenlist and even his career focus do not meet the rules of having at least four years left on his enlistment at the time of his transfer request.
What usually happens in the case of not fulfilling a four-year commitment as part of a transfer of benefits is that the recipient loses whatever remaining unused portion of their entitlement that they have left. The VA usually does not go after reimbursement, but cancels further Post 9/11 GI Bill use of transferred benefits.
That could be the case in your situation, but the VA is most likely not going to put you into that situation until he has at least a four-year enlistment remaining at the time he make his transfer of benefits request.
I know you want to get started to work on your master’s degree, but most likely you are going to have to wait.
Q: Hello, I wanted to know if and when I use the GI Bill if there is a living expense paid or what. And how and when is it paid out to help take care of my family while in school. Also if my wife or kids use my GI Bill will they also receive living allowance while in school. And I need information on how to transfer the GI Bill to a family member.
A: Let’s start with the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer first. If you are not currently serving, then you can’t make a transfer request to a family member. If you are serving, you first have to have served for at least six years and have at least four years left on your enlistment at the time of your transfer request.
If you meet the above requirements, then go to the milConnect website and make your request by following the Transfer Education Benefits link. Once your request is approved, by the Status Block changing to “Transfer Approved”, then your recipient has to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e. In return, s/he would get his/her Certificate of Eligibility that would be needed when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student.
Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition directly to your school. Monthly, you get a housing allowance that comes to you either by check or Direct Deposit. Each semester, you also get a book stipend (up to the $1,000 per year cap).
The first month of each new semester may take longer than a month to get your check. But each month after that in that semester, it should come about the same time. Just know that the process starts over again with each new semester.
If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill, it is not transferable to a family member. Also the pay structure is different. The money each month comes directly to you and you are responsible for paying your own tuition, fees and books.
Q: Hello, I’m a Reservist in the Air Force and still currently have 24 months left of my GI Bill. I know that we are allowed to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill for Flight Training. How does that effect the months I have left? I want to get my Flight Instructor Certificate and it could possibly only take me 2 months to complete so if I do flight training, will it only count against my GI Bill for however long it takes me to finish the course or is there an automatic amount of months that get taken from the GI Bill per flight training certificate? Thanks for the help.
A: As a Reservist, you most likely have the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). If you were on active duty before coming into the Reserves, or you were activated on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, then you also may have eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It sounds like you want to switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?
Being you are going for a flight certification, you can get the lesser of two things – either reimbursed for the full cost of getting your certification or up to the annual amount, which right now is limited to $10,970.46 per academic year. The interesting thing about the academic year is you could get up to that amount worth of training before August 1st for that year and up to another equal amount after August 1st for the new academic year.
As far as entitlement use, the VA would only deduct the actual amount of time spent in training. So if your training to get your certification takes two months, then that is the amount of entitlement they would deduct.
Just so you know, with certifications and using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would not get the monthly housing allowance or book stipend. It just pays for actual training costs and no more.
Q: I have 7 months left on my MGIB. I assume I’m also eligible for additional 12 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill since I served with the Texas ANG (and some AD) after 9/11. I figure I’ll receive 70% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill since I served 18 months of active duty post 9/11. Does this mean I have to exhaust the 7 months of MGIB before I can use the 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill? Or do I have to choose one of the bills for the remaining 19 months of entitlements? To throw a wrench into the equation, I am also eligible for the Hazelwood Act. Can I use the Hazelwood Act at the same time with either of the GI Bills? Since I’m only eligible for 70% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it’d be great to use the Hazelwood Act to help pay off the other 30% of tuition, books, etc. Lastly, is there a phone number I can call to find out how many months of education benefits I’m entitled to (according to the VA – not my own calculations)? I know about eBenefits but have yet to get a premier account set up. Thanks for all the great work you do, Aaron
A: Aaron, to get the additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, yes, you first have to exhaust your remaining 7 months of your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). If you switch with these 7 months left, then that is all the entitlement you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
With the Hazelwood Act, you can use your MGIB at the same time, but generally speaking not your Post 9/11 GI Bill.
By the way your question is worded, I think you may be confused as far as what you get under the Hazelwood Act. You get up to 150 hours of tuition waiver – you do not get any real money from using the Act, so under the Hazelwood Act, you would not get the money you wanted to pay for books and other education-related expenses. But, because your tuition would be wavered, you would not need your Post 9/11 GI Bill.
The best way to use your Hazelwood Act benefits (in my opinion) is to use the Act in association with your remaining MGIB. Once your MGIB benefits have been exhausted, then use just the Post 9/11 GI Bill by itself. Once finished with it, then go back to using just your remaining Hazelwood Act benefits. What you can’t do is use your Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act for the same classes.
If you want to call the VA, their main Education number is 1-888-442-4551 (1-888-GIBILL-1). Sometimes it is difficult to get through, so just keep trying. An alternate route would be to contact the VA Regional Office in charge of your state.
Q: I’m a retired USAF member having served from 1983 to Dec 2004. I’m currently using my Montgomery GI Bill Chapter 30 in a OJT program. I have used 24 month’s worth of benefits under this program and want to go to school. I’m just wondering how many months of benefits I have left and what program should I use, the Montgomery GI Bill or the Post 9/11 Bill?
A: If you have already used up 24 months of your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) entitlement, then you only have 12 months left to use (and only about 13 months left to use it I might add). So you have a couple of choices.
You can either finish using up your 12 months of MGIB entitlement and switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill (and get an additional 12 months of entitlement along with an additional 5 years to use it), or you can switch right away and get the same number of months of entitlement as you had under the MGIB and get the additional 5 years of time to use your benefits. However, you would not get the additional 12 months of entitlement.
So what is the real difference between the two? By switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill now, you can:
• take advantage of the additional time you would have to use up your remaining 12 months of benefits
• get 1/3rd of your MGIB contribution fee back once you have used up your 12 months of benefits
• have the VA pay your tuition directly to your school – you have to pay your own tuition under the MGIB
• get a monthly housing allowance that would be almost the same as your MGIB payment
• get a book stipend each semester (up to the $1,000 per year cap).
If you use up your remaining MGIB benefits now and then switch, you would still get the last three item on the above list, along with an additional 12 months of benefits, but you would not get any of your MGIB Contribution Fee back.
If you need the additional time, then I would recommend using the first option.
Q: I was in the National Guard from December 06 to January 09 and was discharged with an Honorable discharge. Then I enlisted into the active duty Army on the same day of January 09 and then reenlisted and completed my first contract with the Army. Do I receive GI Bill benefits from that first contract? I’ve paid into the GI Bill twice already, once in the Guard and once in the Army. Now on my second contract with the Army, I’m being discharged on Chapter 14. My question is does my National Guard contract and service makes me able to use the GI Bill? O.K., my 2nd question is since I served honorable with the first contract with the Army, am I able to use the GI Bill from that 3-year contract? I just really want to go back to school.
A: If you enlisted in the National Guard for 6 years, then you had the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). That GI Bill is unique in that it ended when you got out of the National Guard. I’m not sure what you paid for the first time because the MGIB-SR is free – you do not have to pay for it.
As far as your GI Bill with the Army, if you paid your $100 per month for 12 months, then you have the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD). You served for three years on your first contract, so you have 36 months of MGIB benefits that you can use. Right now if you were going to school full-time, you could get up to $1,648 per month. Keep in mind that you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc.
But you most likely also have another GI Bill – the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It too is free just from your service. So you can either use up your 36 MGIB months, and switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get another 12 months of entitlement, or you can switch over your 36 months of your MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right away and not get the additional time.
If you switch with all of your MGIB entitlement intact, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution fee back once you have used up the last of your Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you use up your MGIB first and then switch, you do not have any of your contribution fee back.
Q: My daughter will enroll for fall, spring & summer – she has 31 months transferred to her. How much of that entitlement will actually be used. How are the months calculated for usage? She will be taking the max amount of credits for Fall, Spring & summer. Is it smart to use this benefit over summer or is better to save & use just use for Fall & Spring when you take more classes? How does the housing count days also, if you are taking courses year round? Thank you.
A: Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, entitlement use is based on a 30-day month so she would use up one month of entitlement for each month she is in school. So as a full-time student, she can get 31 months of school with the transferred benefits that was given to her.
The one consideration of going to school over the summer is that she may not have any book stipend money left to use for the summer semester or sessions. The book stipend is calculated at $41.67 per credit, however, there is a $1,000 per academic year cap on it. As a full-time student taking 12 credits per semester, it is enough for two semesters – fall and spring – but she would have to buy her summer session/semester books out of pocket.
Most schools use a different number of credits during the summer sessions as far as what they consider to be full-time, so her housing allowance could end up being about the same.
Her housing allowance is calculated based on the zip code of her school, rate of pursuit (the number of credits she takes verses what her school considers to be full-time) and her Post 9/11 GI Bill tier level.
While 12 credits may be the full-time floor for the fall and spring semesters, her school may consider 6 credits as full-time for each 8-week summer session, so essentially everything stays at the same ratio.
Q: Another question about rate of pursuit when your university has optional condensed schedules. At my university you are considered full time if you take 4 classes/3 units each for the term (16 weeks). For the fall term, I took one 16-week class and two 8-week classes for a total of 3 classes. I was certified as a 3/4 time student but the schools VA rep was told I am only a half time student because I didn’t take all three classes at once…Is this right? I always thought your rate of pursuit was based on what the school certifies you as not what the VA “thinks.” Please help!
A: What your VA Rep told you is correct. The VA counts the credits you are taking at any one particular point in time, so your 8-week class that starts mid-term, does not count toward total credits during the first half of the term. As your first 8-week class ends and your second 8-week class starts, the number of credits you are taking will not change.
If you are only a half-time student, then you would not qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA), if that is the GI Bill you are using. You have to be taking at least 51% of the number of credits your school considers to be full-time to qualify for minimum MHA.
If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill, then you would rate only half of the full-time rate or $824 per month. The good thing with the MGIB is that you are only using up 15 days per month of entitlement for each full month you are in school instead of a full month as you would be doing with the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
In the future, and if you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, make sure you are taking at least 7 credits per semester so that you can at least get some MHA each month. Otherwise all you are getting out of your Post 9/11 GI Bill is your tuition paid and some book stipend money.