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Can I Use 12 Months of My Montgomery GI Bill and 36 Months of My Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have received different answers from VA reps at schools, on base and over the phone to the following question: If I qualify for both the MGIB and the Post 9/11 GI Bills, can I use only 12 months of the Montgomery and then use ALL 36 of my Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: No you could not, if they are the only GI Bills you have. Under the Rule of 48, the maximum number of combined months of entitlement is capped at 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills. But that doesn’t mean you are guaranteed 48 months of benefits.

For example, when you convert from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you’ll get the same entitlement under the Post 9/11 GI Bill as you had left under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). So if you had used up 12 months of your MGIB, then you would only get 24 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and not your full 36 months.

However, if you had used up all 36 months of your MGIB and then converted, you would get the additional 12 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill for a total of 48.

If you had a third GI Bill (yes, many servicemembers have three GI Bills) you could convert all 36 months of that third GI Bill over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and once you have exhausted that entitlement, finish up by using 12 months of your MGIB, for a total of 48 months. But that is the only scenario I can think of where you could use up both 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and 12 months of your MGIB. Make sense?

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