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How Do I Convert My Current GI Bill over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: how do I convert my GI Bill over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill? I enlisted in 2001 right after the attacks.

A: It’s easy – all you have to do is submit one form. Go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return you will get an updated Certificate of Eligibility showing the months of benefits you have left to use.

If you have not used any of your Chapter 30 benefits, then you would have 36 months to switch over. If you previously used some of your Chapter 30, then you will get the same number of Post 9/11 GI Bill months of benefits as you had left under Chapter 30.

One other perk to this New GI Bill; if you switch over all 36 months to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you get your $1,200 Chapter 30 contribution fee back as part of your last housing allowance. Pretty cool huh!

Also, I want to make you aware that if you use up all of your Chapter 30 benefits first, and then switch to the New GI Bill, you can get an additional 12 months of benefits. Under the Rule of 48, if you qualify for two or more GI Bills, the maximum combined months of benefits is capped at 48.

So it can come down to choosing between the higher payout under the Post 9/11 GI Bill or the additional months of benefits, but you can’t get both.

Comments  (20)

I get it now.
Veterans who qualify for 2 or more “education benefits” packages (ie mgi bill and post 9/11 bill) can get up to 48 months of benefits. BUT when the veteran switches from pre-9/11 (mgi bill) to post-9/11 they TRY to convince the veteran that he or she MUST swear that you won’t go back to pre-9/11 (mgi bill).
When you so swear, you eliminate your “2 or more” status, so you are then “reduced” to only 36 months of benefits. Don’t let them try to convince you that you only had 36 months in the first place.
To try to make appear that they are covered legally, they are “giving back”, or rather selling back, to you your purchase price of $1200 for the pre-9/11 (mgi bill).
By accepting their promise (yes, another one) to give you your $1200 back, you will be again stating, that YOU wish to nullify that contract, which then eliminates your “2 or more” status”, and only makes you eligible for 36 months of benefits. Don’t get suckered here. Legally, until the end of the 36th month of mgi bill (pre-9/11) you remain “eligible for 2 or more programs”, so you are still owed another 12 months of benefits.
So instead of us accepting their promise to return our $1200, they actually are required by law to pay NO LESS THAN the full 36 months of benefits under the POST-9/11 bill AND, NO LESS
THAN, 12 months under the pre-9/11 (mgi bill).
Yes , we can, and should, use the post-9/11 funds 1st. (Use the post 9/11 funds for the 1st 36 months, because it is worth more, and then use your pre-9/11 (mgi bill) for that 4th year of benefits. This is the best way, PROVIDED that the veteran’s 10 yrs of eligibility under the pre-9/11 (mgi bil) does end before the end of the 3rd year of benefits.

posted by William Brown
11:07 am on October 31, 2012

If you qualify for both GI Bills, you can still get 48 months out of them. First use up your 36 months of MGIB, then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get your additional 12 months of benefits. It is as simple as that. However, if you switch with MGIB benefits left, then you will only get that same number of benefits once you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you would not get the additional 12 months of benefits.

And no you can’t use 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits first and then switch to the MGIB and use up 12 months there unless you have three GI Bills. When you choose to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have to relinquish one of your GI Bills (unless the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the only one you have). If the MGIB is the only other one you have, that would be the one you give up and then you could not go back to it after using up your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

You can quote all the “by law” you want, but in reality that is the way it works.

posted by Ron Kness
10:13 am on November 14, 2012

This is very helpful information, thank you for sharing it.

What I don’t understand, though, is why the VA would give me 12 additional months if I convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill after using up all of my MGIB benefits. Why would they do that?

posted by Jonathan
4:15 am on January 7, 2013

Can you convert to the post 9/11 GI bill after leaving service or must it be while you are still in the service?

posted by Daryl Royal
12:21 pm on January 30, 2013

You can convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill after you leave the service, as long as it is before your 15-year mark. What you can’t do after leaving is make an initial transfer of benefits to your spouse or dependent children, however if they already have benefits transferred to them, you can move the benefits around after retiring.

posted by Ron Kness
8:47 am on March 16, 2013

The “why” is that if you are authorized two or more GI Bills, you can get a maximum of 48 months of benefits under the Rule of 48. Because the Post 9/11 GI Bill is free to you just for your service after September 10, 2001, that gives you your second GI Bill and hence authorizes the additional 12 months of benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
9:02 am on March 16, 2013

I do not understand, when do you get the Chapter 30 $1,200 contribution back?

posted by Jessica
11:05 am on March 19, 2013

I have 2 months and 16 days left on the Chapter 30 GI Bill, which I will exhaust this summer. For those that want to switch over to the Post 9-11 GI Bill – at what time do we fill out the 22-1990?

Do we wait until after the very last verification period? The day of? Or, can we get a jump start on the process by filling it out as soon as the VA states that we have exactly 0 months of Chapter 30 benefits left?

Thanks,

Louie

posted by Louie
1:58 am on March 28, 2013

You can actually fill out your VA Form 22-1990 at any time. The critical part is the effective date you enter – when you want your Post 9/11 GI Bill to start. Enter a start date that is well after you exhaust your MGIB entitlement. The exact date doesn’t matter as your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits will start as soon as your MGIB run out. However, if your effective date is before you exhaust your MGIB – even 1 day before, then all you would get is that same entitlement under the Post 9/11 GI Bill that you had left under the MGIB and not the additional 12 months. I know, it is crazy the way they have it set up.

posted by Ron Kness
9:47 am on March 29, 2013

Once you finish using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you brought over from your MGIB. And the only way you get the full $1,200 back is if you transferred the full 36 months of MGIB benefits. If you transferred a lesser amount, then the amount of your contribution will be pro-rated to a lesser amount. Basically divide $1,200 by 36 and then multiply by the number of months you brought over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. That is approximately what you will get back with your last housing allowance payment.

posted by Ron Kness
10:27 am on March 29, 2013

I initially received and partially used MGIB benefits 1989-1990. I was commissioned and returned to active duty in 1990 and continue to serve today. Do I still qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill in its entirety or do I only have what remains of the MGIB benefits I received during my initial enlistment? Thanks much.

posted by Bob
2:08 pm on March 29, 2013

No you do qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and what is left of your Montgomery GI Bill. Your 15-year and 10-year clocks, respectively, will start on the day of your discharge.

posted by Ron Kness
9:50 am on April 2, 2013

I will be transitioning out of the military next February and I need to know how can I convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill while still in the service? Or do I need to wait until I get out to apply for it?

posted by Tony
2:15 pm on April 3, 2013

You can do it either way. What has to be done while you are still serving is if you qualify for and plan to transfer benefits to either your spouse or dependent children. You can’t make a transfer of benefits request once you are out.

posted by Ron Kness
11:33 am on April 19, 2013

I have the MGIB with 18 months left before my 10 year time limitation is up (you have 10 years to use your benefits after retirement.) Because the MGIB will pay a per month rate up to a maximum full time rate of around $1,500 I decided to convert to the Post 9/11 which will cover the full in-state tuition of the school I will be attending. Basically a one month course where the tuition will be paid in full by the VA and I understand I’ll be eligible for housing allowance and a book stipend.

Googled this question yesterday and found your post here Ron, thanks! …and thanks to everyone else who posted and added more good information.

Good luck to all of you and thank you for your service.

posted by TimSully
10:14 am on June 5, 2013

I left active duty in 2005 and will not be using my GI Bill benefits. I want to transfer my benefits to my children and am currently under the Montgomery GI Bill. What deadlines exist and what forms do I use? Thanks!

posted by Dave Benatz
5:05 pm on June 27, 2013

I’m sorry Dave, but you can’t transfer your GI Bill benefits to your children for two reasons. One, the Montgomery GI Bill doesn’t have a benefit transfer option to it. Two, the way the rules were written for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have to be serving at the time you make a transfer of benefits request. Being you got out in 2005, you were out for around four years before the Post 9/11 GI bill was enacted.

The Montgomery GI Bill entitlement has to be used within 10 years of your date of discharge, so you have up to 2015 to use it or lose it. Switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill would give you an additional 5 years extending your benefit out to 2020. But if you have no intention of using your GI Bill benefits, none of that matters.

posted by Ron Kness
10:43 am on June 28, 2013

*update from above* I was able to apply for Chapter 33 benefits after exhausting Chapter 30, and it took about 3 weeks to receive a letter from the VA. Take the letter into your schools VA Rep/Office and they will get you set up.

Chapter 30 for me ended on Aug 14th, and as you know the fall semester started, but I applied in July and by Aug 1st I had the letter into the schools vet office. In my case, it worked out just in time between sessions and Fall 2013 semester is covered.

Keep in mind that the transfer is based off the percentage you served after 9-11. Thus my time served after 9-11 was calculated at 80%, so I will receive 80% of tuition/benefits covered.

Good luck to everyone and if you’re going to change majors, think hard and long – I’ll graduate with 158 credits towards a B.S. Also, if your school has a Vet club, join and network.

posted by Louie
6:54 pm on August 22, 2013

I’m confused, I reached 36 months of Chapter 30 in Sept 2013 but because of a clause I’m receiving benefits until the end of the semester in December. I saw a post above saying you can apply for Chapter 33 benefits at any time just to make sure the you have the correct effective date. So the last day of school is December 13 and according to the VA website it shows as of December 14 I have 00 months and 00 days left on benefits. I’ve already registered for Spring semester classes. Can I go ahead and apply for Chapter 33 benefits effective December 16? I’m asking because I attend a private Christian School and am trying to apply for the yellow ribbon program but need to have the Letter of Certification from the VA stating I receive Chapter 33 benefits.

posted by Mary Alice
7:23 pm on October 29, 2013

You can, but I wouldn’t cut it that close. If by chance you only have a few days left on the 16th, that is all you would get for entitlement under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Make your effective date a full week or two when you should be out of Chapter 30 benefits. In the end, it won’t make a difference anyway because as long as you are enrolled in school, your Chapter 33 benefits will kick in immediately after your Chapter 30 benefits are exhausted.

posted by Ron Kness
9:07 pm on October 29, 2013
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