How Do I Get the Additional 12 Months of Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefit?

Q: Hi, First I would like to thank you for making things much clearer. I've enjoyed the clarifications you've given here. And now to my questions:

1) In reading up on Post-9/11 GI Bill, I see an option of using up the old GI Bill and then qualifying for an additional 12 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Do you know what will qualify a person for this? I served for over 6 years, separated and went back to school using the old GI Bill. I do have some months left.

 2) I am enrolled in a postgraduate course and set to receive payment under the old GI Bill. I'm thinking of switching to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. When do you think would be an appropriate time for this? After this semester I will have 10 months left. The new Post 9/11 Bill seems better for me. Thanks.

A: The answers to your questions are below:

 1) The only way you can get the extra 12 months is first, you have to be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. That requires a honorable discharge and serving at least three years on active duty after September 10, 2001.  Second, if you meet the eligibility service period, then you have to exhaust your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you switch without first exhausting your MGIB benefits, you will get the same number of months of Post 9/11 that you had under the MGIB and not the 12 additional months.

2) I guess it really depends on how many months you have left to get your postgraduate degree. If you have 10 months or less left, now probably would be a good time to switch. Just know you will only get the 10 months you have left on your MGIB.

Financially, it probably would be better to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Under the MGIB, you are getting $1,368 per month and you have to pay your tuition and fees. Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays your tuition and fees directly to your school, up to the in-state maximum, and you get a monthly housing allowance and book stipend. Also, if your school is a Yellow Ribbon school, and they include your graduate course in their Yellow Ribbon Program, under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, your school can pay up to half of what the Post 9/11 GI Bill doesn’t pay and the VA will pay an equal amount.

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