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How Do I Know If I Qualify for Both the Montgomery and Post 9/11 GI Bills?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How can we find out whether or not we qualify for both Ch. 30 and Post 9/11 GI Bill? I’ve used 18 months of Ch. 30 and have 18 months left. I plan on starting Grad school this spring and would like to know if its best to stick with the Ch.30 or switch to Post 9/11. How many months of benefits will I have total if I were to switch? Thank you.

A: To qualify for minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you have to have served for at least 90-days on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001. Three years after that same date gets you to 100%.

You initially received 36 months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). If you first exhaust all of your MGIB benefits, you could get an additional 12 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill for a total of 48 months. Under the Rule of 48, that is the maximum number of months you can get if you have two or more GI Bills.

So to answer your question being you are considering going to Grad school and with 18 months of benefits remaining, I would think you would want as many months as possible to fully cover your Grad school program which is normally two years. With that said, I makes sense to me for you to use up your remaining 18 months of MGIB benefits, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get your additional 12 months which should take you to the end of your Grad school.

However, if your Grad school is less than two years, as some are 20 months, then you may want to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, use up your remaining 18 months and pay your own tuition, fees and books for your last two months of school, if in fact you even have to. Normally, if you run out of benefits mid-semester, the VA will keep paying you until the end of the semester. Talk it over with your school’s VA Certifying Official to see exactly what your Post 9/11 GI Bill will cover as you approach using up your final months of benefits.

So to me, the deciding factor would be the length of your Grad school program.

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