When 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.
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 you were detained by a foreign power.
Related: GI Bill After Failing a Class
GI Bill Extention Options: Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship
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.
Read more: GI Bill STEM Extension
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.