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After My Chapter 30 Benefits End, Can I Switch to Chapter 33?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My Active Duty Chapter 30 G.I. Bill benefits will be exhausted as of January 2011, but I still have two more semester’s afterward to graduate. Can I extend my benefits, or am I eligible for benefits under the Post 9/11G.I. Bill after my Chapter 30 is exhausted?

A: To answer the first part of your question, no you can’t extend your Chapter 30 benefits. However, if you qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill (90-days of active duty, after September 10, 2001 for the minimum benefit, up to three years of active duty service for the full benefit), then you could be eligible for an additional 12 months of education benefits. The way the VA’s Rule of 48 reads is, if you qualify for two G.I. Bills, your maximum combined benefit is up to 48 months.

To get the additional 12 months, exhaust your Chapter 30 benefits, such as you are now doing. Once exhausted, then switch over to the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. Those additional 12 months should give you what you need to finish up your schooling.

If your Chapter 30 benefits happen to run out during a semester, don’t worry, the VA will run your Chapter 30 Benefits to the end of the semester and then subtract the months you didn’t have from your 12 additional months of Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. While it sounds confusing, it really works well and from your perspective, it will be seamless.

The real question is do you qualify for the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill?

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