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My Husband Is Using His Montgomery GI Bill, But Is He Also Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligible?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, my husband is a veteran and is currently in his final semester of his undergraduate degree. He has been using the Montgomery GI Bill for his undergraduate, and we have been wondering if he would be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill for his graduate degree? Any information would be helpful. Thank you, Melanie.

A: Whether or not your husband qualifies for the Post 9/11 GI Bill (and if so at which tier level) depends on if he served on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001 and for how long. Minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits (at the 40% level) are earned with at least 90 days of eligible service after the September date referenced above. Each successive six months of eligible service boosts the tier up an additional 10% until full eligibility is reached after three years of service.

I referenced eligible service because training time does not initially count toward Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility until you have 24 months of eligible service and then training time is added to the total amount of eligible time.

If your husband uses up all of his Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) first and then switches to his Post 9/11 GI Bill (if eligible), he could get an additional 12 months of entitlement he could use towards his graduate degree. However, if he switches over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB unused eligibility left, he would only get the same number of months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and not the 12 additional months.

If he decides to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, ensure the effective date he puts in Part II Block 9F is well after he has used up his last month/day of MGIB eligibility. In reality, the VA would switch him over to the New GI Bill the day after his MGIB entitlement runs out, so in effect the switch is seamless. But if he is left with just only one day of MGIB remaining on his effective date, he would only get that one day of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and not the additional 12 months.

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