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Am I Eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and If I Am, at What Point Do I Sign Up to Use It?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently an active duty member and was told when the original Post 9/11 GI Bill was introduced and that although I did not buy into the MGIB, I am still eligible for the Post 9/11. I have tried to find the “proof” for this but have not been able to find it yet. Am I eligible and if I am at what point do I sign up for and can I use this benefit?

A: If you have been on active duty since September 9, 2001 for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order, then you are eligible for minimum benefits. It sounds like you probably have served since before the August 1, 2009 Post 9/11 GI Bill introduction date being you referenced it – if that is the case, then you are eligible for 100% of the benefit.

Unlike many of the other GI Bills, the Post 9/11 is free to you just by your service to your country. You have 36 months of benefits and up to 15 years from your date of discharge to use them.

You can use your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits either while serving or after you are out. A good way to use them while still in is to sign up for Tuition Assistance. Under that program, your service branch picks up most of the tab, however, should your per-credit cost exceed what TA pays, then the difference comes out of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits via a program called Tuition-Top-Up.

It is a good way to maximize your GI Bill benefits and work toward your degree while serving. Because Top-Up and TA work together, it is transparent on your end.

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