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Having Been in Both the Navy and Army, Which Delimitation Date Is Used for My Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello I had a question about my GI Bill. I paid for my GI Bill when I was in the Navy, where I also paid for a GI Bill extension for more GI Bill benefits. Once I got out after my 4 year tour, and after a year out of the service I joined the Army and in my Army enlistment paperwork it automatically said I declined the GI Bill…..Does that mean I still have my Navy GI Bill?….and if so does that mean I have 10 years to use it from the date I got out of the Navy?…I know it’s a mess of a situation, just curious…If you could help me out that would be great, thanks.

A: Yes, that is what the Army declination means, since you can’t get two Montgomery GI Bills (MGIB) from active duty. As far as the time you have to use your MGIB, it goes 10 years from your last discharge – which in your case would be when you leave the Army, so you will have a lot of time to use your MGIB.

However, depending on when you joined the Navy and Army, you also could have the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under that GI Bill you could either convert your 36 months of the MGIB over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill or use up all of your MGIB first, convert and get an additional 12 months of education benefits. You would need three years of active duty service after September 10, 2001 to get the maximum benefit.

As far as your GI Bill extension, if you bought into the Buy-Up program, it can be used with the MGIB, but not the Post 9/11 GI Bill. While it is not a great amount of money – $150 per month – it should be one of your considerations as far as converting to the New GI Bill or not.

The advantage of converting with your MGIB intact is the Post 9/11 GI Bill usually pays better, however if you are thinking about going to grad school, the additional 12 months after using up your MGIB could come in handy to pay the higher tuition rate.

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