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Is It Possible to Switch Back to the Montgomery GI Bill After Converting to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was recently advised by a VA counselor at my community college to apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill even though I still had 1 month and 29 days left on the Montgomery GI Bill. I did the application process after which I moved to another state and did not have any correspondence with VA. After moving I learned that the VA left a message which I didn’t receive telling me that I needed to rescind the application for the Post 9/11 GI Bill until I exhausted the 1 month and 29 days left on the Montgomery GI Bill (needed to do so within 7 to 10 days). I didn’t receive the message until about a week after the 7 to 10-day period. I contacted VA by email and I received a reply that unfortunately, my claim for Post 9/11 GI Bill was processed. I haven’t attended school or received any money since applying for Post 9/11 GI Bill (so I haven’t used it). Is it possible for me to appeal or cancel the Post 9/11 GI Bill claim and continue using my Montgomery GI Bill? What are my options? If I hadn’t been advised to do so, I would have never submitted the application knowing that that would only provide me with 1 month and 29 days.

A: The advice you were given was not entirely wrong. The part that was left out or the part you did not hear is what to put down for an Effective Date in Block 9F, Part II or VA Form 22-1990.

If you would have put down a date well after you had used up your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) eligibility, your 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement would have seamlessly kicked in and everything would have been fine.

But if you did not put an effective date in that space or put a date before you would have used up your MGIB benefits, then yes, you would have been converted to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with 1 month and 29 days of benefits left to use.

However, because you have not used your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you may be able to convert back to the Montgomery GI Bill and try again either after you have used up your MGIB or as I described above. Call the VA or the VA Regional Office in charge of your state and explain what happened, that you have not used your Post 9/11 GI Bill and you would like to convert back to the MGIB. If you do not get any satisfaction from who you talk to, ask to talk to his/her supervisor. Keep pressing until you can’t go any further. They have done this in select cases before, so they should be able to do it for you.

If your Post 9/11 GI Bill effective date is during a semester, then your new Certificate of Eligibility (COE) would most likely show that you have less than 12 months of eligibility left. The VA would have deducted what you had used between your effective date and when they cut your new COE.

2 responses on “Is It Possible to Switch Back to the Montgomery GI Bill After Converting to the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

I am retired. I used one year of MGIB while on active duty and I used one year after I retired, then I learned about post 9/11. I was advised by an counselor that if I switch to post 9/11 I could get an additional year. So i switch to post 9/11 and was only awarded one year an lost my final year of MGIB.

Can appeal, because I was advise incorrectly and my total benefits used was only 36 months.

What that counselor forgot to tell you (or you didn’t hear) is that you have to use up your 36 months of Montgomery GI Bill first, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, and then get your additional year of entitlement. What happens if you switch with MGIB benefits left is that you get that same number of months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill as you had left under the MGIB. So you didn’t lose your last year of your MGIB benefits, they transferred over; what you didn’t get is the additional year under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Can you appeal? Of course, you can appeal anything. But what are your chances of success. All you really have is a verbal statement and I doubt the counselor would remember making it (or admitting to it if he did remember). So your grounds for an appeal would be shaky at best. And the VA usually does not honor a plea of the ignorance of not knowing as a valid reason to appeal. Even though a counselor gave you wrong information, in the end it was your responsibility to research the issue on your own through several sources to either validate (or in this case invalidate) what he told you was correct or not.

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