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Do I Have a Choice Between the Montgomery GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Do I have a choice between GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill? I served in the USAF from 19 Nov 1984 to 30 Nov 2004, so I’m eligible for 100% under the post 9/11 GI Bill. Another question, I don’t believe I ever paid the $1,200.00 into the GI Bill, would I have the option at this time to pay into that if the GI bill serves me better than the Post 9/11 GI Bill? Also, to get the Post 9/11 GI bill, would I have had to pay the $1,200.00? Thank you!

A: Because you are already out, you can’t buy into the Montgomery GI Bill, however, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is free. And if you had “bought” into the Montgomery GI Bill, and still had all your benefits intact, you could convert to the New GI Bill; after you had used up your 36 months of benefits, you would get your $1,200 contribution back as part of your last housing allowance payment. But since you did not purchase the MGIB, you will not have to invest any money to get the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you still get 36 months of benefits. How cool is that?

If you would have asked which GI Bill would serve you better before August 1st in 2011, I would have said it depends on your educational goal, as the two GI Bills paid for significantly different programs. But since GI Bill 2.0 went into effect, they almost mirror each other as far as the training each covers, but in most cases the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays much better, unless you are at less than the 70% tier.

Under the New GI Bill, the VA pays your school for your tuition and you get a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend once each semester. The housing allowance is based on the zip code of your school and how many credits you take. The book stipend is based on $41.67 per credit and does have a $1,000 yearly cap.

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