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How Do I Convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Without Losing My Chapter 1606 Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If I have 9 months and 29 days remaining of my Chap 1606 GI Bill, and I would like to start using my Post 9/11 GI Bill, do I need to somehow convert those 9months and 29 days into my New GI Bill, or does it happen automatically? I don’t want to lose the time I have left on my Chap 1606 by starting my Post 9/11 GI Bill immediately. Thanks.

A: Even if you lost your remaining 9 months and 29 days of your Chapter 1606, you wouldn’t be losing much as that GI Bill only pays $362 per month as a full-time student. However, know that if you do switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, that is all the entitlement you would get under that GI Bill – 9 months and 29 days – the same as what you had left under Chapter 1606.

I’m not sure what you were told you would get by switching, but it sounds like you were expecting to get more entitlement than what you presently have.

Monetarily under the Post 9/11 GI Bill you would get more as it would pay your tuition and you would get a monthly housing allowance that on average runs about $1,300 per month for someone at the 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier level. Since it is based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take, yours could be more or less. Plus you could get up to $1,000 per year in book stipend money.

But you do have another option. If you would first use up all of your Chapter 1606 entitlement and then switch to the New GI Bill, you could get an additional 12 months of entitlement at the Post 9/11 GI Bill pay rates.

So if you need more entitlement, it may be worth suffering through your remaining Chapter 1606 entitlement and then going over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. But if your remaining Chapter 1606 entitlement would get you to your educational goal, then it would most likely be wise to switch now and get more money out of your remaining benefits.

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