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Can I Use the Hazelwood Act at the Same Time With Either GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have 7 months left on my MGIB. I assume I’m also eligible for additional 12 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill since I served with the Texas ANG (and some AD) after 9/11. I figure I’ll receive 70% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill since I served 18 months of active duty post 9/11. Does this mean I have to exhaust the 7 months of MGIB before I can use the 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill? Or do I have to choose one of the bills for the remaining 19 months of entitlements? To throw a wrench into the equation, I am also eligible for the Hazelwood Act. Can I use the Hazelwood Act at the same time with either of the GI Bills? Since I’m only eligible for 70% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it’d be great to use the Hazelwood Act to help pay off the other 30% of tuition, books, etc. Lastly, is there a phone number I can call to find out how many months of education benefits I’m entitled to (according to the VA – not my own calculations)? I know about eBenefits but have yet to get a premier account set up. Thanks for all the great work you do, Aaron

A: Aaron, to get the additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, yes, you first have to exhaust your remaining 7 months of your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). If you switch with these 7 months left, then that is all the entitlement you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

With the Hazelwood Act, you can use your MGIB at the same time, but generally speaking not your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

By the way your question is worded, I think you may be confused as far as what you get under the Hazelwood Act. You get up to 150 hours of tuition waiver – you do not get any real money from using the Act, so under the Hazelwood Act, you would not get the money you wanted to pay for books and other education-related expenses. But, because your tuition would be wavered, you would not need your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

The best way to use your Hazelwood Act benefits (in my opinion) is to use the Act in association with your remaining MGIB. Once your MGIB benefits have been exhausted, then use just the Post 9/11 GI Bill by itself. Once finished with it, then go back to using just your remaining Hazelwood Act benefits. What you can’t do is use your Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Hazelwood Act for the same classes.

If you want to call the VA, their main Education number is 1-888-442-4551 (1-888-GIBILL-1). Sometimes it is difficult to get through, so just keep trying. An alternate route would be to contact the VA Regional Office in charge of your state.

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