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What Date Do I Put Down as Far as When I Want My Post 9/11 GI Bill to be Effective?

Q: I am trying to switch from the MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I EAS from the Marine Corps next August but I’m trying to get my benefits now (I don’t want to wait until the last minute). During the application, when I checked the Post 9/11 GI Bill it says when do I want it to be effective. My question is do I want it effective the day I apply or do I want it effective next August?

A: This question on the VA Form 22-1990 is important, but somewhat nebulous as putting down the wrong date can make a difference in the amount of eligibility that you could get. For example, if you have Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits left, but you intend to use them up first, then you would want to put an effective date on the form that is after you have used up the last month/day of your MGIB. That way you would get the additional 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits (and have an additional 5 years to use them up before they expire.

However if the date you put down is before you have used up all of your MGIB benefits, then all you would get for eligibility under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the same number of months and days as you had left under the MGIB and not the additional 12 months (although you would still get the additional 5 years to use up your transferred benefits).

Switching with MGIB benefits left is not a bad thing as it is all about how much eligibility you need to reach your education goal. If you only plan to get a four-year degree, then 36 months of MGIB/Post 9/11 GI Bill is probably enough. However if you plan to get an advanced degree, then you may want the additional eligibility.

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