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Do I Still Get Full GI Bill Eligibility By Using Both the Student Loan Repayment Program and the Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have a question concerning the MGIB combined with the LRP. I am currently active duty under a 6-year contract. I enlisted with the loan repayment program as my enlistment guarantee. I also paid the $1200 for the Montgomery GI Bill. I haven’t seen any other questions that have been asked about my exact situation, but I have seen similar ones. When I finish my 6-year enlistment, am I correct in assuming that only the last 3 years of my enlistment can be applied towards the Montgomery GI Bill, since the first 3 years get applied to the LRP? And does that still equal a full entitlement?

A: When you enlist for the Loan Repayment Program, you incur a three-year obligation. During that time you do not acquire GI Bill eligibility because you can’t use the same period of service to pay back your LRP obligation and acquire GI Bill eligibility.

With LRP, annually you have to fill out DD Form 2475 on each eligible loan for repayment. Many servicemembers miss this step and then wonder why nothing is getting paid on their loans. At the end of three years, your loans should either be paid off or at least paid off up to the maximum amount payable per year on each loan.

Then you start acquiring GI Bill eligibility. Actually, in your case, you will start acquiring eligibility on two GI Bills – the Montgomery GI Bill that you paid for and the Post 9/11 GI Bill which is free to you just by serving more than 90 days after September 10, 2001.

At the end of the second three-year period, you will have full eligibility (36 months at 100%) that can be used for either GI Bill or 48 months if you use both of them. To get the full 48 months, first exhaust your 36 months of MGIB benefits. Then switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get the additional 12 months.

Or switch right away and get 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, a higher rate of pay, and get your $1,200 MGIB contribution back after using your last month of benefits, but you won’t get the additional time doing it this way.

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