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Am I Eligible to Switch from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I just received my Certificate of Eligibility for the MGIB. I have 36 months of benefits and 27 months until my delimiting date. Based on my dates of service, I would be eligible to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill (at the 80% rate). I compared the Bills’ benefits and MGIB works best for me. However, I would like to use 36 months of benefits, if possible. So, say I use 25 months of benefits under MGIB and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Would I still have 11 months of benefits remaining under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and would my delimiting date be extended by 5 years? If so, do I need to make the switch before I hit the MGIB delimiting date?

A: You don’t need me; you have it figured correctly! The way the transfer program works when transferring remaining unused Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill is you would get the same number of months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill as you had left under the MGIB – just as you had stated. And because the Post 9/11 GI Bill has a 15-year delimitation date instead of 10 years, your end date would be extended by five years.

As far as when you switch, it shouldn’t make a difference. Just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. Be sure to check the Block 9F in Part II, put in an effective date and check the Chapter 30 block as the GI Bill you are giving up.

I’m surprised the MGIB works out better for you than the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under the MGIB, you would get up to $1,648 per month to go to school. Out of that amount, you would have to pay tuition, fees, books, etc.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition up to the resident rate at a public school or up to $20,235.02 at a private school. Monthly you get a housing allowance that averages $1,300 across the United States. Your amount may be more or less depending on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking. In addition, for two semester each year you would get up to $500 per semester in book stipend money.

While the monthly amount you get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill may be less than it is under the MGIB, your tuition is already paid under the Post 9/11 GI Bill so your monthly housing allowance is free and clear. All I ask is that you recheck your numbers before deciding on which GI Bill to use.

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