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Can You Tell Me What I Have Left for GI Bill Eligibility?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Sir, I’m trying to determine whether I have any Montgomery GI Bill or Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility remaining. I used the Montgomery GI Bill beginning in the Fall of 2004 until I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in the Fall of 2007. I added to the “kicker” prior to separating from the US Army, for a total value of $56,000. How do I determine my balance? Is there a way to apply for a Post-9/11 extension? Thank you very much in advance.

A: If you served for three years or more on active duty, then you had 36 months of Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) entitlement that you could have used. From the information in your question, you most likely used up three academic years-worth or 27 months. By you probably have 9 months of entitlement left to use under the MGIB.

If you exhaust your remaining MGIB benefits and then switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you could get an additional 12 months of benefits, however, if you switch to the New GI Bill with any unused MGIB entitlement left, you would only get that same amount of entitlement under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and not the additional amount.

I’m a little confused on the kicker that you “added” unless you are talking about the Buy-Up program where you could pay $600 and get $5,600 in additional MGIB benefits. If you did contribute into the Buy-Up program, then note that you can only use that program with the MGIB and not the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

As far as your balance of your initial $56,000, you should have about $15,471 left to use – $14,076 for 9 months of MGIB at $1,564 per month + 9 months of your Buy-Up at $155 per month.

If you would witch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, those 9 months would be worth almost as much as your MGIB/Buy-Up in just monthly housing allowance and book stipend … and your tuition would already be paid directly to your school. Under the MGIB/Buy-Up combo, you would have to pay your tuition/fees out of that amount. Something to think about.

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