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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can a Soldier elect to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill and still be eligible for the Kicker?

A: Yes you can, provided you are eligible to receive the housing allowance as that is how your kicker is paid – added onto your housing allowance payment. If you are taking all online classes, then you are not authorized the housing allowance, so neither will you get your kicker. Of course the way to establish housing allowance eligibility is to take at least one class per term that applies to your degree plan.

Some people erroneously call the $600 Buy-Up plan a kicker when it is not. True kickers do not cost soldiers any monetary contribution, whereas the Buy-Up does. Consequently, the Buy-Up is not authorized for payment if you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

If you were authorized a kicker under either the MGIB-AD or MGIB-SR and you switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can still get paid your kicker, however, if you are less than a full-time student, your kicker amount of payment will be prorated according to your rate of pursuit.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How do I get information about the 9/11 GI Bill?

A: An Internet search will being up all kinds of pages of information, but you can get a quick read on the Post 9/11 GI Bill right here on our Army Study guide.com website. However I can also cover the basics tenets of the program.

To qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you had to serve at least 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001. While you will get up to 36 months of benefits, the percentage of coverage you get is directly tied to how much time you served on active duty. The minimum of 90 days would put you at 40%; three years or more are required to get to 100%. Terms of service between these two times will put you at a percentage between the minimum and maximum.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill generally pays for degree-producing courses. It may pay for non-degree courses if they are taken through a degree-producing school. As far as the payment structure, the VA pays your tuition and eligible fees directly to your school up to your percentage of the in-state maximum. You get a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend. Of course each of these are also subject to your tier percentage.

If you have at least six-years of service and agree to serve an additional four years, you can transfer benefits to dependents. If you are at the 100% level, then you can also use the Yellow Ribbon Program, which helps you if you are:

  • paying outstate tuition;
  • attending a private school;
  • or in a graduate program.

For more in-depth information on each of these items, use your favorite search engine and look for:

  • Post 9/11 GI Bill;
  • Transfer of benefits to dependents;
  • Yellow Ribbon Program.
Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently under Selective Reserve Chapter 1606. I have 21 months remaining on this benefit. I have been in the National Guard for 2 years now. I am deploying for 12 months, 6 months from now. Once I get back, will I be able to switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: Yes you will. With a one-year deployment, you will have 60% coverage meaning the VA will pay your school directly up to 60% of the in-state maximum for your tuition and eligible fees. You in turn, would get up to 60% of the housing allowance and up to 60% of the book stipend.

There are a couple of ways you can use your GI Bills once you are back from deployment (however, only one way really makes sense, depending of course on your educational goals). Under the Rule of 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, you can only get a combined maximum benefit of 48 months.

So your two choices would be:

Let’s look at each scenario:

Scenario 1 * Denotes constants
*15 months of MGIB-SR + 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill at 60%
*4-month semester at 12 credits per semester
*$250 per credit (in-state maximum at $250 per credit)
*$1,000 per month housing allwaonce
*$41.67 per credit book stipend
MGIB-SR 15 months equates to 3.75 semesters
$1,348 ($337 per month X 4 months)
($3,000) Tuition paid by student
(-$1,652) (owed per semester)
(-$6,195.00) (owed at the end of 3.75 semesters)
12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill paid at 60%
$2,400 $1,000 per month housing allowance at 60%
$300 (12 credits per semester paid at 60% of $41.67 per credit)
$3,000 (tuition paid by the VA)
$2,700 Paid to the student each semester
$8,100 Paid to the student after 3 semesters
$1,905.00 Net from both GI Bills
Scenario 2
15 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill at 60%
$2,400 $1,000 per month housing allowance at 60%
$300 (12 credits per semester paid at 60% of $41.67 per credit)
$3,000 (tuiton paid by the VA)
$2,700 Paid to the student each semester
$10,125 Paid to the student after 3.75  semesters
Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I served in the United States Army active duty from 1997 to 2001. I qualified for the Army College fund ($40,000). Due to moving states and having children, I was unable to start using my benefits until 8 months ago. On June 5, 2011, my 10-year deadline will be up, but I have only used half of my benefits. I was born in Houston, TX and currently reside in Memphis, TN. Is there any way to extend my benefits or receive help (tuition assistance) to continue my online college courses until I receive my degree?

A: Most likely not. The VA generally only issues GI Bill delimiting date extensions under three situations:

  • detained by a foreign power;
  • if you had an illness or temporary disability that prevented you from attending school for an extended period of time;
  • if you were recalled to active duty;

While moving around the country and raising a family might have prevented you from going to school, I don’t think you can defend it to the point of getting an extension to your Montgomery GI Bill, but you can apply to the VA and see what happens. All you would lose is some time.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have my bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and completely used up my regular GI Bill. I qualify for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill but have not yet used it. I now live and work in California and want to take classes to obtain my California Broker’s License. Because I work, I’ve been looking at online real estate schools (such as Allied Real Estate School). They don’t have a VA Department and don’t seem to have any information on if their course is covered under the GI Bill. How can I find out if these courses are covered by the new GI Bill? How can I find other programs that will allow me to get my CA Broker License that are covered under the new GI Bill? Thanks,

A: Being you used up your first GI Bill, the Rule of 48 will only allow you to get an additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is geared toward paying for degree- producing courses, however, some non-degree courses, such as the Real Estate Licensing course you want to take, could be covered if you take the course at a school also teaching degree courses. If you take it online at a school only teaching a real estate licensing course, it most likely would not be covered. While your training for the course would most likely not be covered, you can get up to a one-time $2,000 reimbursement to cover the cost of taking your license test.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have been in the National Guard for 3 years and I am in my first semester of college. I was wondering if I can use my tuition assistance and my G.I. Bill at the same time?

A: Yes you can. I’m assuming you have the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). Under that GI Bill, you have 36 months of benefits paid at the rate of $337 per month to go to school (yeah I know, that’s not much). If you use Tuition Assistance, it will pay up to $250 per credit with a $4,500 yearly cap, which is enough to help pay for 18 semester hours per year. Add in your monthly Guard pay too as every little bit helps.

If you have deployed for at least 90 days anytime during your three years in the Guard on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation (such as Iraq or Afghanistan), you would also be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under that GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition and eligible fees up to your tier percentage of the in-state maximum and you would get your tier percentage of a monthly housing allowance and up to your tier percentage of $1,000 per year in a book stipend. Your tier percentage is tied to how long you were on Title 10 orders. A typical one-year deployment would put you at the 60% level. It would take three years of deployments to get to the 100% level. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill you could use the Tuition Top-up program. Whatever tuition is not paid by Tuition Assistance would come out of your New GI Bill. However Top-Up can’t be used with the MGIB-SR.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can my daughter use my education benefits? She is not my dependent but is retraining to get a job in this new economy and I am not going to use my benefits from the Vietnam Era.

A:  No she can’t for a couple of reasons. First, if you were from the Vietnam Era and didn’t convert to the Montgomery GI Bill as late as October 2001, then you don’t have any education benefits left. If you did convert at the tail end of the window in 2001, you would still have about a year left on your MGIB, but it wouldn’t make any difference as the Montgomery GI Bill did not have a dependent transfer option, so she didn’t miss out on anything.

Today’s GI Bill – the Post 9/11 GI Bill – does have a dependent transfer option, but it can only be used by dependents between the ages of 18 and 26, and only after the sponsor has served for at least 10 years on active duty.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello I joined the Army in July 1999 and got out in 2006 with an Honorable discharge. I want to know if it possible to transfer part of my GI Bill to my wife?

A: Generally speaking, no it isn’t an option at the present time. If you have the Montgomery GI Bill, then most likely you do not have a transfer option. Some servicemembers were able to “buy” transfer rights from their reenlistment packages starting in 2006, but not many did. To purchase this option, you would have had to reenlist, which obviously you did not.

If you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill (which you qualify for), the way Congress wrote the rules for this GI Bill is you had to be on active duty “on or after August 1, 2009”. But you wouldn’t have qualified for the transfer option because those rules read you have to be on active duty for at least six years and extend for an additional four years before you can access the transfer option.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have used up my 36 months of my GI Bill, but I heard it was raised to 58 months. Is that true or is it still just 48 months?

A: If you qualify for only one GI Bill, then it is up to 36 months. If you have the Montgomery GI Bill and you served three years or more on active duty, then you had 36 months as you indicated. If you served less than 36 months, then you may only have one month of benefits for each month you served. If you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you have 36 months of entitlement with as little as 90 days of service.

If you qualify for two or more GI Bills, then the maximum combined benefit is capped at 48 months under the Rule of 48. To get the additional 12 months though, you would have to first use up the entire benefit from one GI Bill and then switch to the other one. If you switch with benefits left on your first GI Bill, then you get that same number of months after you switch to the second.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’ve been entitled to receive 70% of benefits payable under the Post-9/11 GI Bill program and it states that I have 36 months of full-time benefits remaining. If I’m considered either full-time, 3/4 time, or half time student, then how much would be paid to me monthly.

A: The way the Post 9/11 GI Bill is set-up, I can’t give you an exact figure for each of your student statuses, however, I can explain how the pay structure works for this GI Bill.

Let’s start with the housing allowance. If your school considers 12 credits per term as a full-time, then you have to take enough credits to get to a greater-than-half-time status (51%) to qualify for the housing allowance, or in this case 7 credits. So from 7 to 12 credits, you would get paid the same amount in housing allowance. If you take 6 credits or less, (or take all online classes) you do not get the housing allowance. It is based on the zip code of your school and averages about $1,000 per month – you would be at the 70% level of this amount. If your school is on either the East or West Coast, the amount is about double with the Midwest being less.

The book stipend is straight forward in that you would get 70% of $41.67 per credit up to a maximum of $700 per year. For tuition, the VA would pay up to 70% of the maximum in-state tuition and eligible fees directly to your school. Being each state and territory has a different in-state amount, if I knew where you lived and what school you were attending, I could get give you a better estimated amount.