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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired from Active Duty in November 2009. Can I still transfer from the old GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Do you know how I apply to switch over? I have called the VA several times and have never been able to talk to a real person.

A: Yes, you can switch over to the New GI Bill and use your entitlement, but you would not be able to make a transfer of benefits to your spouse or dependent child.  You have to be on active duty at the time you make the transfer.

To switch from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have two choices. First, the preferable way is to go to the VONAPP website and fill out VA Form 22-1990 online. That will also get you the fasted processing of your application. The second way is to download the same form, fill it out, print it out and send it in using the instructions on the form.

When your application is approved, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when you enroll in school.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can I use my Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill for Flight School and in getting my pilot’s license?

A: You can’t use the Post 9/11 GI Bill to get your private pilot’s license, but you might be able to use it for flight school, providing your flight school is a four-year aviation program taught by a VA-accredited college or university.

If you plan on going to a flight school that does not issue you at least an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, then no, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will not pay for flight school, however, the Montgomery GI Bill would.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is focused on students attending degree-producing schools. If your flight school is a non-degree school, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will most likely not cover your training. The GI Bill in general will not pay you to get a private pilot’s license because that is viewed more of an avocation instead of a vocation.

The whole purpose of using the GI Bill is to get you an education you can use to establish a career and having a private pilot’s license in most cases does not qualify. And yes an argument could be made that being a bush pilot in Alaska is a career, but you would still have to pay for your private pilot’s license.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I came in under VEAP, never changed to the MGIB and never put in the $2,700. The allotment stopped after a year and I don’t know how. It was either $600 or $1,200. How do I change over to the MGIB or Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: I’m trying to figure out exactly which GI Bill program you have. The $600 figure tells me you had the Buy-Up program. The $1,200 leans me toward the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), but under VEAP you could have contributed anywhere from $25 to $2,700, so the $600 and $1,200 could be just coincidences and the amount you had paid when your contributions stopped.

The cut-off date to make VEAP contributions was April1, 1987, so that could explain why your contributions stopped if you came up against the cut-off date. That is purely an assumption on my part as I don’t have enough information from your question to give you a definitive answer.

Assuming you have VEAP, and never used it within 10 years after your discharge, you should have gotten the money you put into it back according to the rules of VEAP.  If you didn’t get your money returned to you , and you are past the 10-year mark, contact the VA and ask about your money. They may not have been able to find you to give you your money back.

The last election date where you could have converted over to the MGIB was October 31, 2001, so converting to the MGIB is not an option.

You could qualify for the minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits (40%) though, if you had at least 90 days of active duty after September 10, 2001. With at least three years after that date, you would get 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

I wish I could have been of more help, but with the limited amount of information in your question, this was the best I could do. If you could send me more information, I could be or more assistance.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m currently on active duty and have a question about transferring the new GI Bill benefits to my wife. I received an ROTC scholarship which paid for school and have completed my 4-year obligation. Am I eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the transfer option to my wife? Thanks.

A: The answer is no to both questions concerning the eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and a transfer to your wife. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, the time served to pay back for ROTC scholarships, or CLRP does not count towards GI Bill eligibility because you can’t use the same time-frame for both purposes.

Once you met your 4-year ROTC obligation, then you started acquiring time toward your GI Bill eligibility. To get the minimum 40% benefit, you need to serve at least 90-days. The full 100% benefit requires at least three years of service.

However, to access the transfer option, so you could transfer benefits to your wife, you have to have served at least six years on active duty, be at the 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit level and agree to serve an additional four years. So if you are at the four-year mark now, you will have to serve an additional three years to get you to the 100% GI Bill level, sign-up for an additional four years, and then you should be able to make a transfer request to your wife as you will have seven years of active duty at that point.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can you tell me the two pay rates for 40% and 50% for full-time schooling in Ventura, California?

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill full housing allowance for the Ventura, CA zip code is $1,776 per month, so the 40% rate would be $710.40 with the 50% rate at $888.

As far as tuition and fees, the 100% amount for 2009/2010 is $335.75 per credit for tuition and $2,165.25 for fees. The 40% and 50% rates for tuition would be $134.30 and $167.88 per credit respectively and $866.10 and $1,082.63 respectively for fees.

The VA announced the New GI Bill 2010/2011 rates, which increases tuition for California to $391.75 per credit and $2,264.75 for fees. That breaks down into the 40% and 50% rates of $156.70 and $195.88 per credit respectively for tuition and $905.90 and $1,132.38 respectively for fees.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How would you know if you are eligible for the GI Bill or have a GI Bill?

A: Currently, the two most popular GI Bills are the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The MGIB started in 1984 and the Post 9/11 GI Bill started in August 2009. As you might expect, each has its own set of eligibility rules.

To qualify for the MGIB, you would have had to fulfill your enlistment contract of a minimum, of either two or three years, and paid the $1,200 contribution fee. That fee was paid via a $100-per-month payroll deduction for the first 12 months you were in the military. So if you:

  • fulfilled your enlistment contract;
  • made the $1,200 contribution;
  • received an Honorable discharge;
  • are within 10 years from your discharge date, then you have the 36 months of MGIB entitlement.

To qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you needed to have served a minimum of 90-days, after August 1, 2009, to get the minimum benefit of 40%. The full 100% benefit requires at least three years of active duty service. This GI Bill also requires an Honorable discharge and you have to use up the 36 months of entitlement within 15 years of your discharge date.

If you think you might have a GI Bill, you can confirm it by submitting VA Form 22-1990 to the VA. If you get back a Certificate of Eligibility, then you have a valid GI Bill. If your request is declined, then you were never qualified, or you have went past the delimiting date, or you do not have an Honorable discharge.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son is 28 years old. Is it too late for him to use my Chapter 35 benefits? He attended before about 5 years ago.

A: I’m not altogether sure I understand your question, but I will give it a shot. What I’m not understanding is if you have Chapter 35 benefits that you want to transfer to your son or if you are talking about your son being able to use Chapter 35 due to you being 100% permanently disabled from a service-connected disability?

If you are authorized and already have Chapter 35 benefits, then no you can’t transfer them to anyone else. If you are disabled, your son may be eligible for Chapter 35, but at age 28 he may be too old to use those benefits. Generally, age 26 is the upper limit, however, there are some instances where the child can go age 31 and even beyond, but you would have to contact the VA for those specific circumstances.

Whether he attended college five years ago may or may not have any relevance depending on if he attended under a GI Bill or not. Under the Rule of 48, if a person is eligible for two GI Bills, the maximum number of combined months is capped at 48. If he did use the GI Bill, then his maximum number of months he has left to use would be 48 minus how many months he already used five years ago. If he did not attend using a GI Bill, then he would have 45 months under Chapter 35 benefits, providing he would qualify for an age extension.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can a divorce agreement keep me from revoking the transfer of the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Also, my new spouse is active duty. Does my ex receive BAH as well?

A: Generally speaking as a servicemember or veteran, you always retain the right to revoke or re-allocate the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits you transferred to your spouse or dependent child. However, if your divorce agreement specifically addresses transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your ex-spouse, then I suppose that could prevent you from revoking them, but because I’m not a legal expert, I’m only speculating and am not basing my assumption on legal fact.

As far as the housing allowance, once your ex-spouse is no longer tied to your DEERS record, yes she could start getting the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance for as long as she is using her Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Post 9/11 GI Bill – Over the summer I was enrolled full time into a program and got my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I am enrolled in the same school, same program and am using the same benefits. The school successfully submitted my enrollment on August 26th with my pre-existing verification. How long will it take to receive my benefits?

A: It may take some time. Right now the VA is showing it takes 56 days to process a new claim. Because they are flooded with claims for the fall term, it may take longer. If your Certificate of Enrollment was submitted on August 26th, I would not expect any payment before the first part of October.  If you do see a payment in September, it will only be for the few days of August that you attended school, but most likely, those few days will show up with your September payment you will receive the first part of October.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Post 9/11 GI Bill – Over the summer I was enrolled full time into a program and got my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I am enrolled in the same school, same program and am using the same benefits. The school successfully submitted my enrollment on August 26th with my pre-existing verification. How long will it take to receive my benefits?

A: It may take some time. Right now the VA is showing it takes 56 days to process a new GI Bill claim. But because they are flooded with claims for the fall term, it may take longer.

If your Certificate of Enrollment was submitted on August 26th, I would not expect any payment before the first part of October.  However, if you do see a Post 9/11 GI Bill housing payment in September, it will only be for the few days of school you attended in August. Most likely, those few days will show up with your September payment which you should receive during the first part of October.