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If I Convert Now to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Will I’ll Get a 5-Year Extension to Use My Remaining MGIB Entitlement?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served from Jan 2000 – Jan 2005 on a 5-year contract. I used all but 8 months of my Montgomery GI Bill entitlement and I’m coming up on the 10-year deadline. I want to seek a Master’s degree and/or some professional certifications but that won’t happen until after the expiration of the 10-yr. mark for the Montgomery GI Bill. Is it correct that if I convert now to Post 9/11 that I’ll get a 5-year extension and my remaining 8 months of entitlement only? Contrarily, if I let it lapse/expire before sending in Form 22-1990 I’d get 12 months of additional payout instead? I’m interested in maximizing my benefit but I don’t want to lose remaining entitlement entirely. There’s a lot of conflicting “advice” out there and I really need to avoid losing out on any further entitlement. Thanks in advance for suggestions!

A: Yes it is true that if you convert from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with unexpired benefits left, all you would get under the New GI Bill is the same number of months as you has left under the old GI Bill. The advantage of course would be the additional 5 years of time to use your remaining 8 months of benefits (along with a more robust pay structure).

As far as the number of months of benefits you get if you let your MGIB expire, officially all you would get is the 8 months you had left under the MGIB.
However, more and more veterans are telling me that when they convert from the old GI Bill to the New GI Bill after their old one has expired, not only do they get the number of months they had left, but they are getting the additional 12 months also. I have not been able to confirm with the VA if this is a change in policy or not as their old policy is still in effect in everything that I read.

So at the least, you would get your 8 months of remaining unused benefits and you may get the additional 12 months bringing your total up to 20 months.

Otherwise the only way to get the additional 12 months of benefits would be to exhaust all of your MGIB and you don’t have enough time left to make that happen.

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