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How Does the VA Calculate Post 9/11 GI Bill Entitlement Use?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I do not understand the calculations for the months and for the benefits. For Post 9/11 V.2.0, are the months remaining arranged just like the rate of pursuit tiers? For example, 10 units certified is listed as 80% rate of pursuit. Is the VA also deducting 80% of the months and days remaining, or 10/12=83% (with rounding)? Thank you.

A: Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement use calculations are made based on the rate of pursuit figured by taking the number of credits you are taking, times 30 days per month, divided by the number of credits considered full-time by the school.

So if you are taking the minimal number of credits the school uses as their full-time floor, you would use up one month of entitlement for each month of school. But if you are taking for example 10 credits, and your school considers 12 to be their full-time floor, then you would use up 25 days of entitlement for each month of school (30 days x 10 credits = 300 credit days/12 credits = 25 days).

However, unlike you noted in your questions, the VA adjusts how much entitlement you have left based on months and days and not a straight percentage. That is how you can end up with a certain number of months and days of entitlement left instead of just straight months.

Also note that because the monthly housing allowance is partially calculated based on the number of credits taken, and due to the Post 9/11 GI Bill 2.0 fix last year, your housing allowance would be proportionally less (based on the number of credits you take) if you take less than a full credit load. If you take less than 51% of the full-time credit number, you are not authorized any housing allowance at all.

Comments  (9)

Ron, I just want to say that you have the most helpful & informative posts on the Internet about calculating your GI Bill benefits. Your advice and guidance on multiple posts have helped me SO much in the last few days, I just wanted to express my thanks.

posted by Brian
3:59 pm on March 14, 2013

Thank-you Brian, I appreciate the gratitude. My goal is to take a very confusing and complex system and make it as simple as possible.

posted by Ron Kness
8:21 am on March 16, 2013

I have a follow up question on this Ron. Suppose I am enrolled full time with the semester starting on Jan 15 and ending on May 25, how does the VA compute the amount of usage towards my 9/11 MGIB for the months that are not complete in terms of days(January and May)?

posted by zunerz
5:53 pm on April 3, 2013

Entitlement use is on a day-by-day basis, so in January for example, you would only be charged for 17 days.

posted by Ron Kness
11:32 am on April 19, 2013

Just to clarify, if I take 18 credit hours in a 4 month semester and 12 is considered full time, does this mean I will have less than 36 months to use?

posted by Heather
5:02 pm on April 25, 2013

No it doesn’t; you would still have up to 36 months of benefits that you could use. As far as your two months left over, you would either get paid for just the two months or for the whole semester depending on which system your school uses. If your school is on the quarter or semester system, then your payments would continue to the end of the semester.

If they are not on the quarter or semester system, but your remaining entitlement took you over the halfway mark, then you will receive payments to the end of the course or for 12 weeks whichever is first. If you have not yet reached the halfway mark when your entitlement runs out, then your payments will end on the day your entitlement was exhausted.

posted by Ron Kness
9:18 am on May 1, 2013

What about holidays and spring breaks? Are those included in the days or excluded from the total of days used?

posted by Lisa
12:39 pm on September 6, 2013

The VA uses a standard 30 days as a month calculation, so holiday days (like federal holidays) are not factored out, however, spring and other breaks are. In other words, you do not get charged entitlement during spring or holiday breaks, however neither are you paid during these breaks either. That was a change in 2011 when GI Bill 2.0 came into effect.

posted by Ron Kness
9:57 pm on October 29, 2013

If I’m going to school part time (half time) for 36 months straight, will my benefits run out after 36 months? Should I be doubling up on classes within the 36 months?

posted by Thad
5:19 pm on February 25, 2014
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