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Would I Really Have Had to Pay a Total of $5,400 for the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Did I really have to pay a total of $5,400 for the GI Bill? Enlisted in Mar 85; separated Jul 90. Paid by allotment a total of $2,700 for VEAP. Used every cent by Dec 92 when I graduated college. Graduated OTS Jul 93. Was told in Oct 01 that I could buy into new GI Bill, but because VEAP account had $0 bal, I would have to pay $2,700 AGAIN. And I did. So now, I’ve paid total of $5,400 for the GI Bill. Retired Feb 08, so now can’t pass benefits to my kids. Besides converting to Post 9-11 Bill, do I have any recourse?

A: According to the VEAP/Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) rules, what you had to pay is correct. If you would not have used up your VEAP money, then you could have avoided making the second $2,700 payment when you converted to the MGIB. Unfortunately, you only ended up getting an additional 12 months of benefits for your second $2,700.

Under the Rule of 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, the maximum number of combined months of benefits that you can get are 48 months. I’m assuming you used up 36 months getting your degree in 1993.

But you do have 12 months of benefits that you can use either under the MGIB or Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you choose to use the MGIB, then you could get up to $1,564 per month to go to school and you have to pay all your own education expenses including tuition.

If you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with your 12 months of benefits intact, you would get some of your MGIB contribution back once you finished using your Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Under that GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition directly to your school and monthly you would get a housing allowance. Once per semester you would also get a book stipend, however, you would be limited to the $1,000 academic yearly cap.

So about the only recourse I see would be to use your remaining 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and get some of your MGIB contribution back.

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