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Can I Switch to the Yellow Ribbon Program or Have I Used Too Much of My MGIB?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served in active duty Army from January, 2003-December, 2006. In 2007, I went to PSU for one semester on the Montgomery GI Bill. In 2008, I drove for a trucking company that offered the GI Bill Apprenticeship program, paying out $1,000 per month from my Montgomery benefits. Am I eligible to switch to the Yellow Ribbon, or have I used too much of the other?

A: The Yellow Ribbon Program is a part of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and not a GI Bill in itself, so what you really want to know is if you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. And the answer is yes, you are eligible for the New GI Bill.

As far as if you can switch or not, yes you can as long as you have at least one month of benefit left. The thing you have to realize is that you only had a maximum of 36 months of MGIB benefits to use. So if you switch, you will get the same number of months of Post 9/11 GI Bill and you had left unused under the Montgomery GI Bill.

Now let’s move on to the Yellow Ribbon program. Because you served for at least three years after September 10, 2001, you are at the 100% level, which is required in order to qualify to use the Yellow Ribbon program. Under that program, if you have to pay out-state tuition or attend a private school whose tuition exceeds what the GI Bill would pay, the school can pay up to 50% of the difference. The VA pays an equal amount, leaving you very little left to pay.

If you decide to switch, you can submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website.In return you will get a Certificate of Eligibility that will show how many months of benefits you have left.

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