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Is It True That I Paid In Extra to the Old Montgomery GI Bill to Get an Extension of Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, I have a question on extending my Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits. I entered the Navy in 2004 and in boot camp I signed up for the option where I paid an addition $1,200 to the Montgomery GI Bill and in return I would get more monetary benefits. When I was separating from the military in 2009 to begin school I asked what would happen to people who opted to pay in extra into the old GI Bill. I was told that I can request an extension to my Post 9-11 benefits as I paid in extra to the old GI Bill for an extension. Was that true? I have 8 months of benefits left but because I had trouble with a math class am a semester behind. I am married and my wife is a student as well so I am figuring out what to do so we can cover our expenses for that extra semester where I won\’t have BAH. Thank you.

A: Not true! What your $1,200 MGIB contribution bought you were 36 months of education benefits that you could use once you met the eligibility requirements. You didn’t pay anything extra for an extension because the extension is the Post 9/11 GI Bill which didn’t come into existence until 2009. So how could you have paid for something in 2004 that didn’t exist until 2009?

The truth is you have full eligibility under the Post 9/11 GI Bill just by serving for at least three years after September 10, 2001 on active duty. However, under the Rule of 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, the maximum combined number of months of benefits you can get is 48.

So here is what you do to get your additional 12 months of benefits under Post 9/11 GI Bill. Go to the eBenefits website and bring up VA Form 22-1990. In Part II, check Block 9F. In the Effective Date block, put down a date that is well after you have used up all of your Montgomery GI Bill Chapter 30 benefits.

It is important that your effective date is after you have used up your Chapter 30 benefits or all you will get for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits will be the number of months/days you have left under Chapter 30.

Then check the Chapter 30 Block as the GI Bill you are giving up, finish out the form and submit it. This should more than cover you for the additional semester that you need.

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