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What Is the Best Way to Switch from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good afternoon Mr. Kness, I understand that you’re an expert in these issues, and my recent galvanizing of myself to straighten out issues I’m unsure about, has prompted this email. I recently took a closer look at my service record, and found that I’m currently enrolled in the MGI Bill program. I’m strongly considering attending college upon completion of my military service, and would like the start the process of switching over to the Post-9/11 Bill. What would be the best way to start this process? Thank you for your time.

A: Switching over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill is easy – just submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. But you need to be sure that is what you really want because once you switch, you can’t switch back to the Montgomery GI Bill if you made a mistake.

Being you have the Montgomery GI Bill, you are eligible for up to 36 months of benefits with three or more years of service. However, if you first exhaust those MGIB months and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you could get an additional 12 months of benefits.

If you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB months of benefits left, then all you would get is that same number of months you had under the MGIB before you switched and not the additional months.

So if your education goal is a 4-year degree or less, then switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill may be the way to go, however, if an advanced degree is in your plans, you might want to stick with the MGIB, use that up first and switch at a later time.

One other thing to know, if you switch with months of MGIB benefits left, you would get a prorated amount of your MGIB $1,200 contribution once you finished using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. The amount you would get is directly proportional to the number of months you transferred over to the New GI Bill.

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