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Is It Possible to Qualify for the New GI Bill if I Declined the MGIB?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Is it possible for me to qualify for the new GI Bill, even if I made the mistake of not buying into the original GI bill in basic training?

A: Yes, most definitely, and you don’t have to make the $1,200 contribution as you would have with the Montgomery (MGIB) GI Bill. To get the full Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit, at the 100% level, you needed to serve at least three years on active duty, after September 10, 2001. The minimum benefit of 40% only requires 90 days of service after the same date. Active duty service times between 90 days and three years fall into various percentage groups in between 40% and 100%.

Whether you are at the minimum of 40%, the maximum of 100%, or somewhere in between, you will still get 36 months of education benefit. The difference is the percentage of what the VA pays your school for tuition and what they pay you for a housing allowance and book stipend.

If you are interested in the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer benefit, then you will have to serve at least six years and agree to serve an additional four years. Then you can transfer any amount of unused education benefits to your spouse or dependent children.

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