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How Much Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefit Can I Earn/Transfer If I Previously Had and Used the MGIB?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How much Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit can I earn/transfer if I previously had and used MGIB? I used 14 months of MGIB benefits because my employer paid the majority of the costs of obtaining my degree. The remainder of my benefits have expired due to hitting the delimitation date.
I served in the US Army Reserves, Mobilized: Feb 2004 – May 2005 (15 months active duty) in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. National Guard, Mobilized: May 2011 – present (6 months and counting; will be 11 or 12 months by the end of our tour) in Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Total anticipated active duty time for Post-9/11 GI Bill by May 2012 is approx. 27 months, earning an estimated 28 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (at the 80% eligible rate).

If I wish to transfer my Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to my spouse or children, how many months will I be able to transfer? I understand that I am capped by the rule of 48, but am I further limited to the unused amount remaining from my MGIB benefits (36-14=22 months) or can I earn up to and transfer 32 months (48-14=32 months) if I deploy again? I have been eligible for retirement since Jun 2009 so will not incur an additional duty obligation by transferring benefits but I also have no plans to retire in the near term.

A: Under the Rule of 48 you are capped at a maximum of 48 months if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, however, there is a process to get those 48 months. As you probably know, you can’t transfer Montgomery GI Bill benefits to a spouse or dependent, so the only option you have is to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

When you switch, the number of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits you get is the number of unused months of MGIB benefits you had left, which in your case was 22 months. So 22 months will be the number you can divide and give to your spouse and/or children.

The only thing deploying would do is increase your percentage tier from 80% to 100% – it will not add any more months of benefits to what you have left. That would help out your transfer recipients as they inherit the same percentage of support as the sponsor making the transfer. If you do plan on deploying again, and your recipients don’t need their benefits right away, then wait until your are back to make your transfer. That way their percentage will post at 100% right away.

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