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Of My Three GI Bill Options, Which One Would Be the Best for Me to Use?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I came across your blog and noticed you were very informative on the GI Bill topics. Therefore, I would like to ask a few questions.

I am eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) and the Reservist Education Assistance Program (REAP) at the 40%.

I was given the option to relinquish either the MGIB-SR or the REAP to receive the Post 9/11. So, as far as I can understand; would it mean that I am eligible to using two benefits? I am assuming that I would be receiving the Post 9/11 at the 6-12 months tier level at 50% benefit since I’ve been overseas about 9 months excluding training and schooling.

As I tried to research more regarding what is the best to use comparing those three options, I cannot come up with using the REAP with the other two.

I am now in school at the moment taking one class in the process of pursuing my bachelor’s degree. So, as of now I am paying out of my pocket due to the fact that the VA didn’t process my packet for my benefits. Anyhow, would I be better off having the Post 9/11 at that tier level and the MGIB-SR or either one of them along with the REAP at 40%. Which would I benefit most out of?

Thank you for your time and effort.

A: Under the Rule of 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, you could get up to a maximum combined benefit of 48 months. And what the VA is asking is that in order to get the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which GI Bill are you willing to give up out of your two other GI Bills. So if you take your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you would get up to 12 additional months of either REAP or the MGIB-SR.

What I can tell you is that your Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) is worth about $362 per month. As a Selected Reservist, you would also be eligible for Tuition Assistance, which can pay up to $250 per credit (with a $4,500 yearly cap).

Your Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP) GI Bill would pay you up to $659 per month to go to school with less than one year of eligible service. Under either GI Bill, you would be responsible to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc. Without knowing your school’s tuition rate, I can’t calculate your net after paying education costs.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA would pay up to 50% of your in-state tuition and you would get 50% of both the monthly housing allowance and book stipend. I can tell you your book stipend would amount to about $250 per semester. I can’t tell you what the housing allowance would run as it depends on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking.

Sorry, but with so many variables, I can’t give you a definite answer as far as which GI Bill you should give up. The best advice is to run the numbers of each one and give up the one that would net (after paying all related costs) you the least.

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