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Is It True I Can’t Get Both Student Loan Repayment and the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have a question involving MGIB, Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the student loan repayment program. I raise this question as the responses I’ve received to this point have been rather ambiguous. My situation: I joined the Army in 1996, served 4 years active and used the MGIB in full to pay for my undergraduate degree. I continued on with a graduate degree, paid for with student loans.

Upon reenlisting with the OCS option in 2008, I was informed that I didn’t qualify for the MGIB or the Post 911 GI Bill since it’s a 1 per lifetime benefit. That being the case, I requested the student loan repayment program and was informed that since I had already used the MGIB, I didn’t qualify for that either.

Since returning to active duty, I’ve realized that some SMs in fact do receive both the student loan repayment program, covered by their initial 3 or 4 year enlistment, then qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, covered by their subsequent term of service. I’ve talked to some who advised me that I’ll have 12 months remaining on my MGIB that can be transferred to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, since I used 36 months and qualify for 48 months.

Question 1 is how can I confirm this?

Question 2 is why wouldn’t I qualify for the student loan repayment program being that my initial term of service, used to qualify for the MGIB has already been served? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

A: I’m always amazed at the misinformation that is out there, but I’ll do my best to separate fact from myth.

Fact: You only get the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) once and you can have 36 month of MGIB benefits that one time. Since you used them all up getting your undergraduate degree, your MGIB is dead as far as educational benefits is concerned.

Fact: You can’t get the GI Bill and Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) for the same time period. Once you sign up for the SLRP, you instantly incur a three-year obligation in which during those three years you are not acquiring GI Bill eligibility, so those who told you they were on an initial three-year enlistment and getting both incentives were blowing smoke up your backside. You could get both on a six-year enlistment though as the first three years would “pay back” your SLRP obligation and the second three years would qualify you for the Post 9/11 GI Bill in full.

Normally, if you are going to use SLRP, you sign up for it during your initial enlistment. Some service branches offer it from time-to-time as a reenlistment incentive, but it may not have been available you when you reenlisted.

Fact: Even though you had the MGIB-AD and SLRP, you would still qualify for 12 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. To use your additional months of benefits, submit VA Form 22-1990 to get your Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when enrolling in school.
These facts should have answered all your questions concerning the MGIB, SLRP and Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Comments  (8)

My question stems from this one…

I enlisted and served only once, from 11/2003-01/2009. Upon enlisting, I waived the MGIB for the SLRP. I was medically retired (PDRL) just over my five year mark.

I understand that the first three years paid back the SLRP and the subsequent time was ‘earning’ time toward the P911GIB. However, since I was retired with a combat related disability, does this entile me to the full P911GIB benefit?

posted by David
11:05 am on July 11, 2012

Most likely it does. If you served over 30 days on a qualifying order and were discharged due to a service-connected disability, you should qualify for the full 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill.

posted by Ron Kness
10:46 am on September 9, 2012

My husband enlisted in April 2009 and he choose the SLRP. He then re-enlisted in Nov 2010 for 4 more years. So april 2012 was his 3 year mark. At that point does he then start earning toward post 9/11 gi bill? Basically is he still eligible to use any or all 36 months of the 9/11 GI BILL? He plans on re- enlisting again when is window is open. Thanks

posted by DL
6:33 pm on February 21, 2013

Once his SLRP three-year obligation was finished, he started acquiring Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility. While on active duty, it takes three years to get to the 100% tier level. And while he does have 36 months of eligibility 90 days after his SLRP is complete, he basically can’t use his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits until he has completed his three year post-SLRP and at the 100% level.

posted by Ron Kness
7:05 pm on March 11, 2013

I am a bit confused about the SLRP and post-911. I am about to start school in a week and did receive an eligibility letter stating I was 100% elgible but I dont want to have to make repayment if the VA made a mistake.
I signed up for SLRP and served 23 months and was seperated for medical reasons after about 7 months in WTU. I received a final SLRP payment that was prorated.
Am I really eligible for 100% GI bill also? or did the VA make a mistake with the eligibility letter.

posted by Min
5:27 pm on July 9, 2013

If your reason for a medical discharge was deemed as a result of a service-connected illness or injury, then in fact you could be 100% eligible for 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. If it was not service-connected, then you would not have Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
6:25 pm on July 11, 2013

I enlisted in 2009 for 4 years. I re-enlisted in 2012 and subsequently again in 2013 due to deployment. I have never used my GI Bill benefits. Can I possibly switch for CLRP?

posted by SGTLEGAL
1:22 pm on October 25, 2013

No you can’t. That may be an option when you reenlist again, depending on if your branch of service offers it as a reenlistment option or not, but for now you are locked into whatever you get at the time of your last reenlistment.

posted by Ron Kness
9:16 pm on October 29, 2013
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