Can I Request Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits After Exhausting My Chapter 30 Benefits?
Q: Recently received my Certificate of Eligibility for Ch 33 benefits – 14+ months remaining as a result of previously utilizing 21+ months of Ch 30 benefits. I intend to use my remaining Ch 33 benefits to attend law school, which will likely require 24+ academic months over a 3 year period. My question – will I be eligible to apply for 12 additional months of Ch 33 benefits (bringing the total number of months of VA education benefits utilized to 48) when I exhaust the remaining 14+ assuming I have not yet completed my course of study or law degree? If not, why not? If so, what’s the process? Thanks in advance for your assistance.
A: If you do it the way you outlined it in your question, you will not be eligible for the additional 12 months of entitlement. The Post 9/11 GI Bill rules are very specific. To get the additional time, your election date when you intend to start using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits has to be after a time when you have already exhausted your Chapter 30 benefits. If you switch with Chapter 30 benefits left, as you have done, you will get the same number of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement as you had left under Chapter 30.
As a matter of fact, this issue is discussed in Part II, 9F of VA Form 22-1990, which is the form you use to transfer from the MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The exact wording is “If you elect chapter 33 in lieu of chapter 30, your months of entitlement under chapter 33 will be limited to the number of months of entitlement remaining under chapter 30 on the effective date of your election. However, if you completely exhaust your entitlement under chapter 30 before the effective date of your chapter 33 election, you may receive up to 12 additional months of benefits under chapter 33.”
So because you already switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB benefits left, you won’t be able to get the additional 12 months of benefits. I know, it makes no sense why it has to be done this way, but that is what is specified in the rules.