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Can I Sign Up for the GI Bill Now, If I Didn’t When I First Enlisted?

Q: Can I sign up for the GI Bill now, if I didn’t when I first enlisted?

A: It depends on which GI Bill you are referring to. If, it is the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), you are not eligible. You had to sign up for the MGIB when you first enlisted and made the $1,200 contribution, via payroll deduction during that first year. However, if it is the Post-9/11 GI Bill you are talking about, then you are eligible as long as you have the qualifying period of service.

To meet the minimum eligibility, you need at least 90-days of active duty, after September 10, 2001. Full eligibility requires at least three years of service after the same date. Thirty days or more of service, with a service-connected disability, also establishes eligibility.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill has a 36-month tiered-payment system. With minimum eligibility, you are at the 40% tier, while maximum eligibility gets you to the 100% level. The VA pays your tuition and fees directly to your school based on your percentage level. You, in turn, get a monthly housing allowance and books stipend calculated at your tier percentage.

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