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How Do I Check to See How Many Months of Benefits I Would Get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I originally enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1998 with a two-year contract. In my contract, I was entitled to a reduced version of MGIB which I used for almost 18 months from 2001 to 2003. After the invasion, I enlisted into the USMC and have been on active duty since 2004 until current, but soon I will be leaving the Marines. Am I entitled to the Post-9/11 GI Bill? If so how do I check my number of months left to receive benefits and how do I switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill from the MGIB?

A: Yes, you are authorized the Post 9/11 GI Bill with your service after September 10, 2001. However, you won’t be able to get the full 36 months. Under the Rule of 48, if you are authorized two or more GI Bills, the most combined months of benefits you can get are 48.

But to get the full 48 months, you have to first exhaust your Montgomery GI Bill benefits (which you should have about 6 months left) to get your remaining months of benefits. In your case, if you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right now, you will get the same number of months as you have left under your MGIB. However if you first exhaust those months and then switch to the New GI Bill, you can get the additional time.

The best way to check to see how much time you have left to use is to submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. In return, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility that will show your unused months of benefits.

If you want to switch to the New GI Bill, you can do so by submitting the same form you used to get your certificate. Just check the Chapter 33 block, the block for the GI Bill you are giving up and an election date when you want to start using your New GI Bill benefits. If you want the additional time, make sure your election date is after you have used up your MGIB.

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