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If I Exhaust My Benefits Mid-Semester, Will the VA Pay for the Whole Semester?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am about to run out of benefits and want to start a new semester. When I start I will only have 1 month left before my 3 years. I was wondering if the GI Bill will pay through the whole semester or will I have to pay the remainder. — Jody

A: Yes, the VA will pay for you to finish the semester.  I can’t tell if you are using the MGIB or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but let me suggest something.

If you are using the MGIB, and you have three years of active duty service after September 10, 2001, you would qualify for up to an additional 12 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The way to do it is to exhaust your MGIB benefits first and then switch to the New GI Bill. The VA would subtract the amount of benefits they paid for you after you ran out of your MGIB from your additional 12 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you could use the rest.

If you switch before exhausting your MGIB benefits, then you only get the same number of months you had left on your MGIB; it is called the Rule of 48.  If you qualify for two GI Bills, you can get up to a total of 48 months.

Comments  (2)

I will run out of benefit a month into a semester, then I will be eligible for the additional 12 months by switching to the post 9/11. Now if I have only a month left of the post 9/11 in my final semester, will they continue to pay or cut me off right when it expires?

posted by Robert Jones
9:05 pm on May 18, 2011

If you have used up your MGIB and are on your last month of Post 9/11, the VA will quit paying you once you are out of benefits. However, if you did not qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and are using the MGIB, the VA would continue paying you until the end of the semester or up to 12 weeks after your benefit runs out, whichever comes first. Different GI Bills, different rules.

posted by Ron Kness
11:12 am on May 23, 2011
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