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If My Post 9/11 GI Bill Tier Level Increases, Can I Get Back Pay?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have been using my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for school under the system where my time on active duty qualified me for 60% of my tuition. I just learned that my Reserve time would qualify me for 90% coverage. If it is accurate and I am qualified for a higher percentage tier, will the VA back pay me for extra 30% that I was paying that the Post 9/11 GI Bill should have been covering?

A: I’m not sure what you mean when you say “… under the system where my time on active duty qualified me for 60% of my tuition.” That “system” is eligible time. If you are at 60%, then it means you spent at least 12 months, but less than 18 months, on active duty, so I’m guessing that time was on Title 10 Orders in support of a contingency operation in either the National Guard or Reserves. But then you reference your Reserve time, so I don’t think you were in the Reserves at the time you earned your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

For your Reserve time to count as eligible Post 9/11 GI Bill time, it would have to have been either mobilized Title 10 time or Title 32 time in the AGR (Army Guard Reserve) Program.

If you are eligible at the 90% tier level, the VA would pay you back pay in only two instances. One, you would have had to have been at the 90% level during the whole time you are claiming back pay and two the VA can only pay back pay one year back. So if the back pay you want to claim is over a year old, you would not get it anyway even if you were at the 90% eligible level and they paid you for 60%.

The one way to find out which tier level you are really at is to submit new VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. In return, you’ll get your Certificate of Eligibility that shows which GI Bill you have, the tier level, how many months of entitlement you have left to use and your delimitation date. Also send in with your form any documentation that would prove you should be at a higher level.

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