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How Do I Switch from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I currently have the Montgomery GI Bill but I am looking to switch it over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I qualify for the switch and I am wondering how to do so?

A: Doing so is easy – just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990, but please read the rest of this post before doing so because once you switch, you can’t go back.

If you have both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill, there are two ways you can use both GI Bills. The first way is to use your MGIB benefits to exhaustion and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Once switched, you would get an additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits.

Or, you could switch with all your MGIB months of benefits intact and not get the additional months of benefits, but you would then be able to use your benefits at the higher pay structure.

Also, by switching with all 36 months of benefits intact and once you have used up your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI bill benefits, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution back. It would come as part of your last housing allowance payment.

So, it comes down to if you want more months of benefits (especially if you are looking at getting an advanced degree) or getting a four-year degree and getting paid more in the process.

Under the MGIB, you would get $1,473 per month as a full-time student and you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition and fees, you get a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend once each semester for two semesters per year. Your housing allowance is usually almost or more that what you get from the MGIB by itself.

Just a word of caution – if you are at the Post 9/11 GI Bill 60% tier or less, you may be better off staying with the MGIB.

Comments  (41)

Is it possible to do 1 year of the MGIB and then the 36 months of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, or would you only be permitted a few months? If so, how many months would that be?

posted by Christian
10:58 am on June 9, 2012

No it isn’t. What you could go though is do one year of the MGIB, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and do another 24 months.

posted by Ron Kness
7:15 pm on July 8, 2012

I have one year remaining on my MGIB. I waited until now to start school. Would it be better to use the one year until exhaustion and then switch, or just switch to the post 9/11 now?

posted by Brian
12:37 pm on August 15, 2012

By one year remaining on your MGIB and you just now starting school, I assume you are referring that your MGIB is getting ready to expire. If that is the case, then I would suggest switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right now. You could get 36 months of benefits at the higher pay rate and extend out your delimitation date by another five years.

If you used your MGIB until it expires and then switch, you would only get 24 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

posted by Ron Kness
10:52 am on September 9, 2012

My husband has used 2 years of the mgib and has the 1 year remaining. He is now looking at doing a 4 year degree. He also qualifies for worker retraining and the trade act (due to his last 2 jobs closing) so could he use the remaining mgib while getting his worker retraining benefits (which pretty much pays tuition) then when he needs get the post 9-11 for a year. This is crazy confusing to me.

posted by Jennifer
4:40 pm on September 17, 2012

No it is not crazy confusing at all. Yes, your husband should be able to use both the MGIB and retraining benefits at the same time. Then once he has exhausted his MGIB, switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
12:08 pm on September 30, 2012

Do you have 36 months of benefits between you MGIB and Post 9-11 or 36 months for each (If you have both)? Can you switch from Post 9-11 to MGIB then back to Post 9-11?

posted by Mattchew
3:25 am on October 13, 2012

If you qualify for both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill, the maximum number of combined months of benefits between the two GI Bills are capped at 48 under the Rule of 48. If you qualify for just one GI Bill or the other, then you get 36 months.

If you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you generally can’t switch back to your previous GI Bill as you give up your “rights” to that GI Bill when you switched to the Post 9/11 GI BIll.

posted by Ron Kness
9:38 am on October 14, 2012

What is the higher pay structure mentioned in the article from switching from the MGIB to the Post 9/11? Also, if one uses the entire Post 9/11 benefit, and qualifies for both benefits, how would one then use the last 12 months of the MGIB to cap out the Rule of 48? Thanks.

posted by Kaitlyn
9:19 pm on October 30, 2012

How can we find out whether or not we qualify for both Ch. 30 and Post 9/11 GI Bill? I’ve used 18 months of Ch. 30 and have 18 months left. I plan on starting Grad school this spring and would like to know if its best to stick with the Ch.30 or switch to Post 9/11. How many months of benefits will I have total if I were to switch? Thank you.

posted by Tari
9:13 am on November 7, 2012

Hi Tari. To qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you had to serve a minimum of 90 days on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001. If you did that, then you have at least minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. If you had three years of service, then you would be fully vested at the 100% tier.

So assuming you have both GI Bills, you originally had 36 months of benefits under Chapter 30 – Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). You could get an additional 12 months of benefits under Post 9/11 GI Bill, however, to get those additional months, you would have to first exhaust your Chapter 30 benefits and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

With 18 months of Chapter 30 benefits left and I assume your grad school is two years, I think it would be the most advantageous for you to use up your unused 18 MGIB months and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill to finish out your graduate program. If you were to switch now, you would be about six months shy of having enough benefits to finish.

posted by Ron Kness
11:39 am on November 11, 2012

The higher pay structure Kaitlyn is the differences between what the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bill pays. Under the MGIB, you would get $1,564 per month and you have to pay all your own education expenses to include tuition, fees, books, etc. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition directly to your school and you get a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend once per semester (until you reach your $1,000 yearly cap). The housing allowance varies across the Nation, but on average, it runs about $1,300 or almost as much as what you get under the MGIB. The book stipend runs about an
other $500 per semester.

If you only have either the MGIB or Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you only get 36 months of benefits. However if you have both GI Bills, then you can get your additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits by first using up all of your MGIB benefits and then switching to the New GI Bill.

You can’t first use up your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and then use 12 months under the MGIB, because when you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have to give up one of your other GI Bills. If the MGIB is the only other one you have, then that is the one you give up.

If you had three GI Bills, you could give up the third one when yo switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bil l and then use the 12 months of MGIB after exhausting your Post 9/11 GI Bill.
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posted by Ron Kness
11:52 am on November 11, 2012

Can I still use my post 9/11 GI bill, after I have exhausted my ten years of eligibility for the MGIB? Keep in mind I do qualify for the post 9/11 and I have used only 32 of the 36 months of MGIB

posted by Steve
2:26 pm on November 13, 2012

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can use your benefits under that GI Bill up to 15 years from your date of discharge, so for five additional years after your MGIB has expired. Just keep in mind that if you switch with 4 months of MGIB benefits left, that is all the benefits you will get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However, if you would first use up all your MGIB benefits before they expire and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would get an additional 12 months of benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
10:01 am on November 14, 2012

If I use the VA top-up while on active duty, Can I use the post 9/11 if I decide to leave the service?

posted by Brooks
3:56 am on December 8, 2012

You can providing you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and have unused benefits left once you are out.

posted by Ron Kness
10:42 am on December 23, 2012

So how does this rule of 48 work when my wife paid into the MGIB. But was honoroably discharged after 21 months due to a service-connected disability. Making her only eligible for 21 months of MGIB benefits. At least as far as I understand. So does that mean that she will be eligible for only 15 more months of the post – 911 or for 27 months as she would have exhausted all of “Her” MGIB benefits but not the standard 36 months.

posted by Kurt E
12:45 am on December 29, 2012

If your wife’s term of service was after September 10, 2001, and because she was honorably discharged and had over 30 days of continuous service on a Title 10 order, she should qualify for 36 months at the 100% tier of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. But if she were to switch now with 21 months of MGIB Benefits, all she would get is 21 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The same as if she would have had 36 months of MGIB and switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill – she would have gotten 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

However, if she exhausts her 21 months of MGIB first, and then switches, (which is her best route to go to get the maximum number of months of benefits) I’m thinking she would get the additional 27 months of benefits bringing her to 48 months. If she exhausts her MGIB first, and then switches, it is really immaterial what she will get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill as what she gets is what she gets. But if she really wants to know, her best bet is to contact the VA.

posted by Ron Kness
10:25 am on December 30, 2012

I have been active duty since Dec 1998 with no breaks in service. I used 11 months of MGIB benefits in 2005. If I understand correctly, I now rate 25 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I want to transfer these benefits to my son but am not sure what benefits I rate; how to transfer them; and if it’s better to maintain the MGIB.
This is the most useful site I’ve found on this subject. Thank you

posted by Chris Tolliver
5:02 pm on January 3, 2013

Hi, I have 14 months left before my MGIB expires. By the time it expires I will have about a month left, I would have used 35 months in total. Do I qualify for the 12 month extension under the post 9/11 bill. I had to skip a semester due to health issues otherwise I would have exhausted all of my 36 months by the time of expiration before asking for an extension. Thanks any help is appreciated.

posted by Glendaliz
9:17 pm on January 30, 2013

Is it possible to have two Post 9-11 GI Bills? And use them back to back?

posted by Jade
1:08 am on March 16, 2013

No it is not possible to have two Post 9/11 GI Bills, however, you could get Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement from two or more different sources – for example, your own Post 9/11 GI Bill and benefits transferred to you from either (or both) your Mom or Dad.

posted by Ron Kness
8:13 am on March 16, 2013

No you would not qualify for the additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits is you switch to it with one month of MGIB benefit left. However, what you can do is apply for a MGIB extension due to the fact that you were unable to attend school. If approved, that would give you extra time to use up that one month of benefit and then switch over to your Post 9/11 GI Bill and get the 12 months of additional time, not a 12 month extension as you are moving to an entirely new GI Bill.

posted by Ron Kness
8:46 am on March 16, 2013

I started using my MGIB Aug 2012 and have 27 months left of benefits. Are there any ramifications to switch to the POST 9/11 GI Bill now.

posted by Patrick
10:21 am on March 21, 2013

Yes there are – both positive and negative. For one, if you switch now, you won’t get the additional 12 months of benefit that you would otherwise get if you first exhausted your MGIB and then switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Second, if you plan to only get up to a bachelor’s degree, then you would most likely benefit more by switching to the New GI Bill now. Instead of getting $1,564 per month under the MGIB, you would get your tuition paid directly to your school, a monthly housing allowance that is almost as much as what you get under the MGIB (and you have to pay your own tuition under that GI BILL) and a book stipend up to $1,000 per year.

Plus once you finished up using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you brought over from the MGIB, you would get a pro-rated portion of your MGIB $1,200 contribution back as part of your last housing allowance payment. In your case it would be 27/36ths of $1,200 or about $900.

posted by Ron Kness
10:18 am on March 29, 2013

I will be retiring from active duty shortly and I have used the Top Up program for about 9 months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill. Prior to getting out do I have to fill out any paperwork transferring to the 9/11 GI Bill?

posted by John Yoblonski
2:15 pm on March 29, 2013

No you don’t unless you want to transfer benefits to your spouse or dependents. Then the transfer has to be approved before you get out. But if you plan on using your GI Bill benefits yourself, then you can switch anytime – either while you are still in or after you are out.

posted by Ron Kness
9:48 am on April 2, 2013

Is it still possible for me to switch from my GI bill to post 9/11 and transfer it to my husband? I am no longer in the military and we were married while I was active so he is on my record.

posted by Christina
3:39 pm on April 9, 2013

No you can’t. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, you have to be currently serving at the time of your transfer request.

posted by Ron Kness
11:30 am on April 19, 2013

I have 26 months, 23 days left on my chapter 30 benefits, but they expire 8/28/2014. I would like to transfer benefits to my wife for the post 9/11. I have not switched yet. What route should i take to ensure she get’s the most out of the benefits, and how many months would she have?

posted by Jose
3:30 pm on June 3, 2013

Hi Chris. If you want your son to use your GI Bill benefits, then you will have to convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill as the Montgomery GI Bill does not have a transfer of benefits option. The conversion will happen automatically when you submit your Transfer of Educational Benefits (TEB) request. Go to the milConnect website and click on the Transfer of Benefits Section. Follow the instructions.

Periodically go back to the TEB website and look for a status change to “Transfer Approved”. Once that happens (and it can take up to 10 weeks) then your son has to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e about three months before he is ready to register for school. In return he will get his Certificate of Eligibility that he will need when registering for school as a GI Bill student.

posted by Ron Kness
9:44 pm on June 11, 2013

It isn’t going to make any difference how many months she would have had, because you won’t be able to make a transfer of benefits to her. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, you have to be serving at the time you make a transfer request. If your expiration date is 2014, you most likely got out in 2004 or about 5 years before the Post 9/11 GI Bill was enacted.

Your best bet now would be to convert over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill so that you can get an additional 5 years to use your 26 months of unused benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
12:33 pm on June 23, 2013

I have 18 months of the old GI Bill entitlement left. The problem is that it expires on the 22nd of August. Is it possible to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill? I had qualifying service post 9/ll. Thanks

posted by Rustin
6:12 am on July 1, 2013

Yes it is. And if you do, you can extend out your delimitation date by an additional 5 years. But you have to hurry as it can take up to 8 weeks to get a transfer approved and you are running out of time. Go to the eBenefits website and fill out and submit VA Form 22-1990. This will switch you to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get you a new Certificate of Eligibility.

posted by Ron Kness
11:42 am on July 5, 2013

i signed up for the MGIB and have already paid the full $1200. I want to switch to the 9/11. Im separating from the military next november and plan on going to school (specifically a university) in 2015 for 4 years. If I switch who should I talk to first and will I get the $1200 back?

posted by fitz
4:45 am on September 12, 2013

Sir I have College Fund benefit during I enlisted the service. What is going to happen to it if I switch to post 9/11 GI BILL? How can I use it after I swithed? Thanks.

posted by Victoria
9:20 am on September 28, 2013

Switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill has no effect on your College Fund. The amount of your fund would be divided into 36 equal payments and you would receive a payment each month as part of your housing allowance.

However, if you have Buy-Up program that you paid into, that is not able to be used with the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you would lose the money you had put into it. The Buy-Up program can only be used with the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty.

posted by Ron Kness
10:44 am on October 14, 2013

To switch, just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. You’ll get your $1,200 back when you finish using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. It will come as part of your last housing allowance payment.

posted by Ron Kness
9:40 pm on October 29, 2013

Wow, a lot of questions. I’ll do my best to answer each one of them:
==>This January I will hit my 6 year mark and in order to accept my orders to AK I reenlisted for an additional 6 years. I want to transfer my benefits to the Mrs; will she have to wait for approval and if so approximately how long does this approval process take? Yes she does have to wait until your TEB transfer is approved. To find out if your transfer is approved or not, keep going back to the website where you submitted your TEB. When you initially submitted it it showed a Status of “Transfer Pending”. Once that status has changed to “Transfer Approved”., then she can request her Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that she will need when enrolling in school. She can get her COE by submitting VA Form 22-1990e from the eBenefits website.

==>I read on the VA website that as a spouse they’re eligible to utilize the benefits immediately, if this is true what constitutes immediately? Immediately is once the transfer is approved and generally once she has her COE, although the VA Certifying Official could help her request her COE so that she could enroll in school and it will follow later. It is a little cleaner to have the COE at the time of registration.

==>Also, I am a bit confused about her/my eligibility of using the yellow ribbon program. Since I am and will continue to be AD, this disqualifies her/me correct? Correct!

==>Also, in order to TEB I have to switch from chapter 30 to chapter 33 would she/I qualify for the additional 12 months? No, not if you have Chapter 30 benefits left to use. If you do have benefits left, then all you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are the same number of months as you had left under Chapter 30 – in your case 36 – and not the additional 12 months.

==>I paid into the whole ch 30 and have not used it, or top up at all. Will I receive the $1,200 I paid into back? I am still currently enrolled in ch 30 and have not switched yet until I have decided firmly on what the best course of action would be. If you were to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits, then this question is easy to answer – yes, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution fee back as part of your last housing allowance payment. But because you are transferring benefits, I’m not sure if you get it back of not. My gut is telling me no.

posted by Ron Kness
9:53 pm on October 29, 2013

What becomes of your post 9/11 or MGIB if you decide not to go to school for some reason. can you get the benefit financially?

posted by Xuxess
11:16 pm on November 23, 2013

No you can’t. The only way to get your $1,200 Montgomery GI Bill Contribution Fee back is to switch all 36 MGIB months over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and use them up. Your contribution fee would come as part of your final month’s housing allowance.

posted by Ron Kness
1:12 pm on February 8, 2014
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