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Is It Possible to Get an Extension on My Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently using my Montgomery GI Bill and benefits will end in January 2015. I’ll be about a month shy about a month shy of getting another 12 months of benefits totaling 48 months since I do have some Post 9/11 time. I am a Police Officer and was involved in a very bad on-duty injury and was out of work for about 6-7 months. I have documentation from my doctors and pictures that I submitted to the VA. They sent me a letter saying they will look into it and decide just before my time expires. Is this normal? Do they give extensions based on medical reasons like this?

A: Yes they do. The VA will generally consider Montgomery GI Bill extensions in three situations:
• Detained by a foreign power
• Recalled back to active duty
• Not being able to attend classes due to a disability, job relocation, or being a primary caregiver.

You would fit in that last category. If they do approve your extension, what normally happens is you’ll get an extension for the same amount of time that you were unable to attend classes. In your case, the 6 to 7 months.

An extension would give you enough time to use up your remaining MGIB benefits and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of benefits as you referenced in your question.

Medical disabilities are difficult to document, but it sounds like in your case, you should have adequate documentation. Also don’t overlook lab reports. The more documentation you can provide the better.

If you do get denied, try to determine why they disapproved your extension, and provide the documentation that was missing. You can do that in letter format in the form of a Notice of Disagreement. Just explain why you are disagreeing with their decision and provide the additional documentation to support your request.

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