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Should I Switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill Now or Wait?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My pre 9/11 GI Bill delimiting falls in October (mid semester) next year. Can I then switch to Post 9/11 GI Bill, or should I just switch before the semester begins?

A: The key to getting your additional months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, is to first use up all your Montgomery GI Bill benefits before switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It is a timing issue; if you have your effective date start before you have exhausted your MGIB, then all you will get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill for benefits is what you had left under the MGIB. In some cases that has been just a matter of days – not good.

So to prevent that from happening, when you fill out your VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website, ensure that you set your effective date in Part II, Block 9f well after when you have estimated when you would run out of benefits. You can put down a date two weeks to a month after – it really doesn’t matter and I will show you why.

Once you submit your VA Form 22-1990 and the VA sees you are Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible and still in school, they will start your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits the day after you run out of your Montgomery GI Bill regardless of the date you enter. So your benefits will continue on – just at the Post 9/11 GI Bill rate.

However, because there is a lag between the time your request is processed and when you get your new Certificate, it would most likely show that you actually have less than 12 months of benefits left to use as the VA took off the number of days and months you needed to get you to the end of the semester. On your end it should be seamless except for the change in the amount you get once you are on the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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