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How Do I Know Which Chapter of GI Bill to Apply for?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I got out in 03. How do I know what chapter of GI Bill to apply for and is it true that I only choose one or the other?

A: If you did not sign up for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) when you enlisted or while at Basic Training, then the MGIB is not an option you have now. So basically you only have one option – the Post 9/11 GI Bill – which will make selecting one a lot easier.

The way the Post 9/11 GI Bill works is you acquire an eligibility percentage based on the number of months you served after September 10, 2001. Depending on when you got out in 2003 will put you either at the 70% or 80% tier. If your discharge date was after September 10, 2003, then you have the higher amount as that gives you 24 months of service.

What that percentage does for you is it determines how much tuition and fees the VA will pay and also how much you get in housing and book stipends.

It is true that you can only choose one at a time. For example, let’s say you had both the MGIB and Post 9/11 GI Bills. If you chose to use the MGIB, you could use all of it up and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of benefits, or you could choose to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right away and relinquish your rights to the MGIB, but not get the additional 12 months. You would however, get your MGIB contribution back once you used up your benefits.

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