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Is It True That I Can Sign Up for the Post 9/11 GI Bill Now?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: In 1988 I joined the Navy and at that time I opted not to receive the GI Bill. In 1992 when I left the active Navy and joined the USNR, I was told that I could not sign up for the GI Bill. Then in 1994 I joined the Army and was again told that I was not eligible to sign up for the GI Bill. Now, I have heard that I can sign up for the Post 9/11 GI Bill; is that true and if so, how and where do I do that? I am still on active duty and have served 23 years with 21 of them on active duty.

A: I understand why you were not eligible to sign up for the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) when you joined the Army, because that would have been the same GI Bill you declined when you joined the Navy six years earlier. The part I don’t understand is you being told you could not get the GI Bill that cover Selected Reservists, the GI Bill you would have been eligible for when you joined the USNR. National Guardsman and Reservists are covered under the Montgomery GI Bill–Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), an entirely different GI Bill.

But, that is water under the bridge now and really it doesn’t make any difference – if you would have had the MGIB-SR, it would have expired when you left the Navy Reserve anyway.

However you are eligible to receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill. All you needed to serve was a minimum of 90 days after September 10, 2001 on a Title 10 order, which you have completed multiple times. So being you never had a GI Bill before, you should have 36 months of education benefit that you can use.

To get your Post 9/11 GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility, submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. On your certificate, it will show how many months of eligibility you have. To use your New GI Bill, hand in a copy of your certificate to your school when you register for classes. Be sure to talk to your school’s VA Certifying Official so you can get everything set up correctly.

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