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Can I Use Both My Post 9/11 GI Bills to Cover All Schools Costs?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have the new GI 9/11. I get about 70% of that to cover my expenses at school. My husband also has the new GI 9/11 and has transferred 50% to me. I was wondering if I can use both (mine and his) to cover all costs for my school?

A: No you can’t use both GI Bills at the same time as the VA will only let you use one entitlement at a time. What normally happens is when you have exhausted your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement at 70%, then your 18 months of transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits would kick in.

You didn’t say if your husband’s Post 9/11 GI Bill was at the 100% tier or at a lesser percentage, so your percentage of coverage could go up or down depending on his tier percentage.

Depending on your education goals, you might use your GI Bills entitlement in a couple different ways. If you have a choice on how you want to use your benefits and if you choose to get a four-year degree and have no plans for an advanced degree, then you may want to use your 18 months of transferred benefits first if they are at the 100% level. Then use 18 months of your benefits at the 70% level for your last two years of school.

If you plan on getting an advanced degree, then you may be better off using your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits first and save your 18 months of transferred benefits for your advanced degree if they are at a level higher. Advanced degree tuition is usually more than undergraduate tuition.

The point is you will have to figure out which program would benefit you the most depending on your educational goals and then use your benefits accordingly.

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