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How Do I Switch from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I currently have the Montgomery GI Bill but I am looking to switch it over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I qualify for the switch and I am wondering how to do so?

A: Doing so is easy – just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990, but please read the rest of this post before doing so because once you switch, you can’t go back.

If you have both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill, there are two ways you can use both GI Bills. The first way is to use your MGIB benefits to exhaustion and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Once switched, you would get an additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits.

Or, you could switch with all your MGIB months of benefits intact and not get the additional months of benefits, but you would then be able to use your benefits at the higher pay structure.

Also, by switching with all 36 months of benefits intact and once you have used up your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI bill benefits, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution back. It would come as part of your last housing allowance payment.

So, it comes down to if you want more months of benefits (especially if you are looking at getting an advanced degree) or getting a four-year degree and getting paid more in the process.

Under the MGIB, you would get $1,473 per month as a full-time student and you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition and fees, you get a monthly housing allowance and a book stipend once each semester for two semesters per year. Your housing allowance is usually almost or more that what you get from the MGIB by itself.

Just a word of caution – if you are at the Post 9/11 GI Bill 60% tier or less, you may be better off staying with the MGIB.

41 responses on “How Do I Switch from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

No it is not possible to have two Post 9/11 GI Bills, however, you could get Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement from two or more different sources – for example, your own Post 9/11 GI Bill and benefits transferred to you from either (or both) your Mom or Dad.

No you would not qualify for the additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits is you switch to it with one month of MGIB benefit left. However, what you can do is apply for a MGIB extension due to the fact that you were unable to attend school. If approved, that would give you extra time to use up that one month of benefit and then switch over to your Post 9/11 GI Bill and get the 12 months of additional time, not a 12 month extension as you are moving to an entirely new GI Bill.

I started using my MGIB Aug 2012 and have 27 months left of benefits. Are there any ramifications to switch to the POST 9/11 GI Bill now.

Yes there are – both positive and negative. For one, if you switch now, you won’t get the additional 12 months of benefit that you would otherwise get if you first exhausted your MGIB and then switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Second, if you plan to only get up to a bachelor’s degree, then you would most likely benefit more by switching to the New GI Bill now. Instead of getting $1,564 per month under the MGIB, you would get your tuition paid directly to your school, a monthly housing allowance that is almost as much as what you get under the MGIB (and you have to pay your own tuition under that GI BILL) and a book stipend up to $1,000 per year.

Plus once you finished up using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you brought over from the MGIB, you would get a pro-rated portion of your MGIB $1,200 contribution back as part of your last housing allowance payment. In your case it would be 27/36ths of $1,200 or about $900.

I will be retiring from active duty shortly and I have used the Top Up program for about 9 months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill. Prior to getting out do I have to fill out any paperwork transferring to the 9/11 GI Bill?

No you don’t unless you want to transfer benefits to your spouse or dependents. Then the transfer has to be approved before you get out. But if you plan on using your GI Bill benefits yourself, then you can switch anytime – either while you are still in or after you are out.

Is it still possible for me to switch from my GI bill to post 9/11 and transfer it to my husband? I am no longer in the military and we were married while I was active so he is on my record.

I have 26 months, 23 days left on my chapter 30 benefits, but they expire 8/28/2014. I would like to transfer benefits to my wife for the post 9/11. I have not switched yet. What route should i take to ensure she get’s the most out of the benefits, and how many months would she have?

Hi Chris. If you want your son to use your GI Bill benefits, then you will have to convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill as the Montgomery GI Bill does not have a transfer of benefits option. The conversion will happen automatically when you submit your Transfer of Educational Benefits (TEB) request. Go to the milConnect website and click on the Transfer of Benefits Section. Follow the instructions.

Periodically go back to the TEB website and look for a status change to “Transfer Approved”. Once that happens (and it can take up to 10 weeks) then your son has to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e about three months before he is ready to register for school. In return he will get his Certificate of Eligibility that he will need when registering for school as a GI Bill student.

It isn’t going to make any difference how many months she would have had, because you won’t be able to make a transfer of benefits to her. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, you have to be serving at the time you make a transfer request. If your expiration date is 2014, you most likely got out in 2004 or about 5 years before the Post 9/11 GI Bill was enacted.

Your best bet now would be to convert over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill so that you can get an additional 5 years to use your 26 months of unused benefits.

I have 18 months of the old GI Bill entitlement left. The problem is that it expires on the 22nd of August. Is it possible to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill? I had qualifying service post 9/ll. Thanks

Yes it is. And if you do, you can extend out your delimitation date by an additional 5 years. But you have to hurry as it can take up to 8 weeks to get a transfer approved and you are running out of time. Go to the eBenefits website and fill out and submit VA Form 22-1990. This will switch you to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get you a new Certificate of Eligibility.

i signed up for the MGIB and have already paid the full $1200. I want to switch to the 9/11. Im separating from the military next november and plan on going to school (specifically a university) in 2015 for 4 years. If I switch who should I talk to first and will I get the $1200 back?

Sir I have College Fund benefit during I enlisted the service. What is going to happen to it if I switch to post 9/11 GI BILL? How can I use it after I swithed? Thanks.

Switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill has no effect on your College Fund. The amount of your fund would be divided into 36 equal payments and you would receive a payment each month as part of your housing allowance.

However, if you have Buy-Up program that you paid into, that is not able to be used with the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you would lose the money you had put into it. The Buy-Up program can only be used with the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty.

To switch, just go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. You’ll get your $1,200 back when you finish using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. It will come as part of your last housing allowance payment.

Wow, a lot of questions. I’ll do my best to answer each one of them:
==>This January I will hit my 6 year mark and in order to accept my orders to AK I reenlisted for an additional 6 years. I want to transfer my benefits to the Mrs; will she have to wait for approval and if so approximately how long does this approval process take? Yes she does have to wait until your TEB transfer is approved. To find out if your transfer is approved or not, keep going back to the website where you submitted your TEB. When you initially submitted it it showed a Status of “Transfer Pending”. Once that status has changed to “Transfer Approved”., then she can request her Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that she will need when enrolling in school. She can get her COE by submitting VA Form 22-1990e from the eBenefits website.

==>I read on the VA website that as a spouse theyÔÇÖre eligible to utilize the benefits immediately, if this is true what constitutes immediately? Immediately is once the transfer is approved and generally once she has her COE, although the VA Certifying Official could help her request her COE so that she could enroll in school and it will follow later. It is a little cleaner to have the COE at the time of registration.

==>Also, I am a bit confused about her/my eligibility of using the yellow ribbon program. Since I am and will continue to be AD, this disqualifies her/me correct? Correct!

==>Also, in order to TEB I have to switch from chapter 30 to chapter 33 would she/I qualify for the additional 12 months? No, not if you have Chapter 30 benefits left to use. If you do have benefits left, then all you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill are the same number of months as you had left under Chapter 30 – in your case 36 – and not the additional 12 months.

==>I paid into the whole ch 30 and have not used it, or top up at all. Will I receive the $1,200 I paid into back? I am still currently enrolled in ch 30 and have not switched yet until I have decided firmly on what the best course of action would be. If you were to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits, then this question is easy to answer – yes, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution fee back as part of your last housing allowance payment. But because you are transferring benefits, I’m not sure if you get it back of not. My gut is telling me no.

What becomes of your post 9/11 or MGIB if you decide not to go to school for some reason. can you get the benefit financially?

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