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Can I Switch Back to the Montgomery GI Bill After Receiving My Post 9/11 GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am active duty and recently converted my MGIB benefit to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Unfortunately, since that time my command has changed their Tuition Assistance policy and it would now be to my benefit to be back under the MGIB. I have not yet used any benefits but I have already received my certificate of eligibility (COE). Have you ever heard of anyone getting their benefits converted back to the MGIB after receiving a COE? If so what is the process for doing so? Thanks in advance for your help.

A: While it is not common, I have heard of a few people talking the VA into converting them back to the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) after switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However with that said, the policy in effect is once you convert you can’t go back. You even sign a statement acknowledging the fact you understand it is a one-way street.

However, being you have not yet used any of your converted Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits yet, I think you have a better chance of converting back to the MGIB, but I wouldn’t bank on it happening. What I don’t know is the reasons the people that were able to convert back used to convince the VA to switch them back.

While commands have been switching their Tuition Assistance (TA) policies around due to budget crunches, using the MGIB with TA has always been the better choice.

Under TA Top-Up, which I assume you are using, the VA converts the amount they had to pay your command into $1,648 segments and deducts a month of entitlement for each $1,648 segment paid out. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA deducts a whole semester’s worth of entitlement (usually four months) regardless of how much (or how little) they had to pay.

You could use this comparison as your argument to convert back to conserve on your GI Bill benefits. I hope you are successful, but I have my doubts.

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