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Is It True I Can’t Get Both Student Loan Repayment and the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Q: I have a question involving MGIB, Post 9/11 GI Bill, and the student loan repayment program. I raise this question as the responses I’ve received to this point have been rather ambiguous. My situation: I joined the Army in 1996, served 4 years active and used the MGIB in full to pay for my undergraduate degree. I continued on with a graduate degree, paid for with student loans.

Upon reenlisting with the OCS option in 2008, I was informed that I didn’t qualify for the MGIB or the Post 911 GI Bill since it’s a 1 per lifetime benefit. That being the case, I requested the student loan repayment program and was informed that since I had already used the MGIB, I didn’t qualify for that either.

Since returning to active duty, I’ve realized that some SMs in fact do receive both the student loan repayment program, covered by their initial 3 or 4 year enlistment, then qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, covered by their subsequent term of service. I’ve talked to some who advised me that I’ll have 12 months remaining on my MGIB that can be transferred to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, since I used 36 months and qualify for 48 months.

Question 1 is how can I confirm this?

Question 2 is why wouldn’t I qualify for the student loan repayment program being that my initial term of service, used to qualify for the MGIB has already been served? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

A: I’m always amazed at the misinformation that is out there, but I’ll do my best to separate fact from myth.

Fact: You only get the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD) once and you can have 36 month of MGIB benefits that one time. Since you used them all up getting your undergraduate degree, your MGIB is dead as far as educational benefits is concerned.

Fact: You can’t get the GI Bill and Student Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) for the same time period. Once you sign up for the SLRP, you instantly incur a three-year obligation in which during those three years you are not acquiring GI Bill eligibility, so those who told you they were on an initial three-year enlistment and getting both incentives were blowing smoke up your backside. You could get both on a six-year enlistment though as the first three years would “pay back” your SLRP obligation and the second three years would qualify you for the Post 9/11 GI Bill in full.

Normally, if you are going to use SLRP, you sign up for it during your initial enlistment. Some service branches offer it from time-to-time as a reenlistment incentive, but it may not have been available you when you reenlisted.

Fact: Even though you had the MGIB-AD and SLRP, you would still qualify for 12 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. To use your additional months of benefits, submit VA Form 22-1990 to get your Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when enrolling in school.
These facts should have answered all your questions concerning the MGIB, SLRP and Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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