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Can I Apply for My Post 9/11 GI Bill after My LRP Obligation Has Expired?

Q: I have 8 months left on a 5-year enlistment. I chose the Loan Repayment Plan when I enlisted. Do I get any GI Bill benefits for the 2 years after my 3-year LRP commitment? If so, did I have to apply right after the 3 years? Can I still apply?

A: Yes you will have GI Bill benefits, but you don’t have to apply to get them – only apply when you are ready to use them. Let me explain.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is free to you just by you serving your country on a Title 10 order for a minimum of 90 days after September 10, 2001. There isn’t a sign-up process or required contribution as there is with the Montgomery GI Bill.

Yes, you are correct in noting that the first three years of your service will go to “pay back” LRP. However, your two years after that will get you 36 months of education benefits at the 80% tier level. One more year of service and you would be at the 100% level, so that might be worth considering.

Once you decide you are ready to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you will get your Certificate of Eligibility which you will need when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student. On your certificate, it will say which GI Bill you are authorized, how many months of benefits you have left to use, your tier level, and when your benefits will expire.

Once you are enrolled in school, the VA will pay 80% of your tuition at the resident undergraduate level. The remaining 20% would be your responsibility. You would also get 80% of both the housing allowance and book stipend.

Because you initially signed up for LRP, I’m assuming you already have a four-year degree. If you served one additional year, then you would also qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program which could help offset graduate school tuition rates, which as you know are considerably higher than undergraduate.

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