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Are My GI Bill Benefits Gone?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served Army Active Duty from 1998 – 2000 and paid in the $1,000 dollars to MGIB and had the Army College Fund for $26,500 in my contract. After my ETS, I joined the National Guard and have deployed for a total of 5 years and 4 months of Title 10, several trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. I was unable to use the ACF or MGIB benefits. Are they now gone and how can I maximize the use of the benefits or transfer them to my children?

A: No they are not gone, but you have a much better deal you can use – more on that in a minute.

The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) has a 10-year delimitation date or a shelf life, if you will. But the time starts from your last date of discharge. Since you are still serving in the National Guard, your date of discharge has not started yet.

But since you have deployed on Title 10 orders in excess of three years, you are fully vested in the Post 9/11 GI Bill. That is a much better GI Bill than the MGIB and ACF combined.
But let’s digress for a minute.

What most people don’t know about the ACF is the dollar amount includes what you get from the MGIB too, not the amount you will get in addition to the MGIB. So in reality, you didn’t have all that much in just the ACF.

Now let’s talk about the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You will still have the 36 months of benefits, but the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays better. The VA will pay your tuition directly to your school and you will get a monthly housing allowance that averages across the U.S. at $1,200; double that amount if you live on either the East or West coast. Plus once each semester, you will get a book stipend that pays you $41.67 per credit (up to the $1,000 per year cap).

And you have transfer-of-benefit rights with the New GI Bill, meaning you can transfer any or all of your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse or children or both if you want (as long as you are still serving – Once retired and it is too late to transfer benefits). So forget the MGIB and ACF and say hello to the New GI Bill.

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