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When Does the GI Bill Expire?

Does the GI Bill expire?

One of the most frequently asked questions about the GI Bill is how much time you have to use it. How long until the GI Bill expires? Is it possible to lose your GI Bill benefit? The answer depends greatly on which GI Bill program you are using and when you signed up, as we’ll explore below.

Before You Read On

When reading the information below, remember that VA loan rules state only one education benefit is permitted “for a period of service”. You’ll have to choose which education benefit you’d like to use. You can use the GI Bill and GI Bill extension options together, but you cannot use two GI Bill options at once or otherwise “double dip” in your education benefits.

When Does the Post-9/11 GI Bill Expire?

Those who retired or separated before 2013: If you applied for the Post-9/11 GI Bill AND your military service ended before the first day of 2013, your GI Bill benefits expire 15 years after you separate from the military. If you have more than one type of military service (active duty to Guard/Reserve, for example), your last day of military service on your final service commitment is when the countdown begins.  You must use the GI Bill benefit by the deadline, or any unused portion may be lost.

Those who retired or separated after January 1, 2013: If your service ended on or after January 1, 2013, your GI Bill benefits DO NOT EXPIRE.

Read More: Veteran Education Benefits Guide

When Does the Montgomery GI Bill Expire?

Montgomery GI Bill benefits expire ten years after you separate from the military, according to VA.gov. Some may qualify for an extension to their GI Bill benefits, depending on circumstances.

Related: Do I Owe Taxes on the GI Bill?

Who Qualifies For a GI Bill Extension?

VA.gov says vets may qualify for a GI Bill extension if any one of the following is true: You may qualify if you served a “later period of active duty” of 90 consecutive days or more, you had a medical issue that prevented them from attending school, or you were held by a foreign government or power.

How to Apply for a GI Bill Extension After Serving a Later Period of Active Duty

To be approved for an extension of your GI Bill benefits after serving on active duty at a later time,  send a written extension request to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This should include a copy of orders to report for active duty, and/or a copy of DD214 or other discharge papers where applicable. Send your request to the nearest VA Regional Processing Office.

Applying for a GI Bill Extension After Illness or Disability

If an illness or disability prevented you from using your GI Bill benefits before they expired, you may apply for an extension in writing, including documents to support your claim:

  • A copy of orders to report for active duty, or
  • A copy of DD214 or equivalent
  • A description of the illness or disability
  • The dates from when you couldn’t attend school
  • A doctor’s statement which includes diagnosis, treatment information
  • A list of any jobs held during this time

Mail the package to your nearest VA Regional Processing Office.

Related: Does the GI Bill Count as Income?

How to Apply for a GI Bill Extension After Being Held by a Foreign Government

The Department of Veterans Affairs requires a formal letter requesting GI Bill extension to include starting and ending dates when you couldn’t attend school because a foreign power detained you.

Related: GI Bill After Failing a Class

GI Bill Extension Options

The Rogers STEM Scholarship is an extension of federal education benefits offered to those who seek degrees in high-demand technical fields sometimes known as STEM fields. Those who qualify for the Rogers STEM scholarship must meet requirements including having a post-secondary degree or a graduate degree in an approved field or seeking a clinical training program. Some may be approved for a STEM scholarship when they have a STEM degree but need additional certifications in order to teach.

The Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC)  program  is a VA option that can place qualifying veterans with a training provider “to help you develop skills to start or advance your career in a high-tech industry”according to VA.gov. Those who qualify for GI Bill may also qualify for VET TEC.

The Yellow Ribbon Program can extend your GI Bill by supplementing the costs of out-of-state, private school, or graduate school tuition not fully covered by the GI Bill. VA.gov reminds us, “If you get Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and your school participates in this program, you may be eligible.”

Read more: Scholarships for Military Members and Veterans



About the author

Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.