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Will I Have to Exhaust My Last 20 MGIB Days Before Applying for Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently using my Montgomery GI Bill to pay for school. I am going to have exactly 20 days of entitlement left at the end of the school year. I also have another year to go and planned on getting my extra 12 months from the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Will I have to exhaust the last 20 days before applying for Post 9/11 GI Bill? If so, will they back pay for the time I am sure to be waiting for the application to be processed while I am in school?

A: Yes, to get the additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you do have to use up your remaining 20 days of your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) entitlement first. But if you do it right, there would not be a lag between when you exhausted your remaining MGIB benefit and when your Post 9/11 GI Bill kicked in.

It sounds like you think you have to first physically use up your remaining 20 days and then send in your VA Form 22-1990 to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, when in fact, you can submit your application prior to using up your last 20 days of your MGIB benefits. The key is to tell the VA when you want your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit to start. Just make sure that date is well after you have used up your last day of MGIB.

Here is how you do it. On your VA Form 22-1990, fill in PART I and go to PART II. In PART II, check the box in block 9F. Put a date in the effective date space that is a week or so after you are sure you have used up your final MGIB entitlement. Check the Chapter 30 box (as the GI Bill you are giving up) and finish filling out the form and submit it.

Once you run out of your remaining 20 days of MGIB, your Post 9/11 GI Bill kicks in with no lag or interruption of benefits. It is easy when you do it the smart way.

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