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With My TA Funds Depleted for This Year, Can I Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill for Three Months and Then Stop?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello Mr. Kness. Question for you, I am active duty and have depleted my TA funds for this year. I would like to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill for three months and then stop. Can I do that? Am I eligible to use it now? Time in service: Jun 2000 – present. Contributed to GI Bill.

A: Yes, you would be eligible to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill now, but I suggest you use it through the the Tuition Top-Up program. It works seamlessly with Tuition Assistance and you wouldn’t have to worry about starting and stopping your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

How it works it that your service branch pays all of your tuition and then bills the VA for whatever part exceeds what TA will pay. The VA pays your service branch, converts what they paid into months and days of entitlement, and subtracts that amount from your unused Post 9/11 GI Bill remaining benefits.

Top-Up works great when you have reached your yearly limit, as you have done, but it also comes into play if your per-credit tuition amount exceeds what TA would pay.

I do want to caution you on one thing though – once you convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can’t go back and use your Montgomery GI Bill as you give up your rights to it when you opt for the New GI Bill.

As far as eligibility, you have to have served for at least three years after September 10, 2001 on a Title 10 order to get the full eligibility, which you have done, so you are at the 100% level.

Using TA and Top-Up is a good way to maximize your GI Bill benefits as TA pays the majority of the costs.

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