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Will I Get the Post 9/11 GI Bill When I ETS in 2014?

Q: I joined the Army National Guard in 2006 receiving the Montgomery GI Bill in my contract. I then went to Active Duty Army in 2008. Do I receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill as a result when I ETS in 2014? If not can I transfer into the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

A: What confuses many people is there are two Montgomery GI Bills – one for active duty personnel – the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD), the other one for the Reserves and National Guard – the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserves (MGIB-SR).

And they are very different from each other. One of the unique properties of the MGIB-SR is that expires upon discharge from the Selected Reserve or after ten years of service if you would have stayed in the Reserves that long. So that GI Bill is gone.

However, because you have over three years of service in one of the active duty components, you are most likely eligible for 36 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 100% tier level. I say most likely, because your first enlistment in the Army either had to or will have to (if you are still on your first enlistment) end in an honorable discharge to maintain your eligibility. If you get anything less than a fully honorable, you still have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but you would not be able to use your education benefit.

Just so you know, you don’t have to wait until you get out to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill. As a matter-of-fact, I would look into using Tuition Assistance (TA) and Tuition Top-Up right now while you are still on active duty.

Those two programs are a good way to maximize your GI Bill benefit as TA pays most of the bill. What it doesn’t pay is covered by Top-Up and taken out of your existing GI Bill unused benefits, but because TA is paying the lion’s share, the cost to you is minimal.

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