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Can I Get Both GI Bill and Chapter 35 Benefits at the Same Time?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can I get both benefits at the same time – the GI Bill and Chapter 35?

A: If you are eligible for both, you can get the GI Bill and Chapter 35 consecutively, but not at the same time. That would be known as double-dipping and is not allowed.

If you are using your own Montgomery GI Bill and with three years of service, you would get up to $1,564 per month for up to 36 months. If you served less than three years, that amount drops to $1,270. Keep in mind with this GI Bill you have to pay all your own tuition, fees, books, etc.

If you are using Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility, then your tuition and fees would be paid directly to your school for up to 36 months (or the number of months that was transferred to you if you are using transferred eligibility). You would also get the monthly housing allowance and book stipend.

By using Chapter 35, you could get up to 44 months of eligibility paid at the rate of $987 per month. You would also have to pay all education-related expenses.

And then because you are using two GI Bills, you would fall under the VA’s Rule of 48, which says the maximum number of combined months of eligibility could not exceed 48.

So, if you do the math, you would be better off using a GI Bill first for 36 months and finish off your last 12 months with Chapter 35. And of the two GI Bills, most likely the Post 9/11 GI Bill would be your best bet.

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