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September 15, 2023

Does the GI Bill Expire? 7 Key Questions

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Many veterans looking into educational options after the military are curious about the GI Bill expiration.

But does the GI Bill expire?

This post will answer 7 key questions veterans have regarding the GI Bill.

Let’s begin!



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#1. Does the GI Bill Expire?

It depends on when you were discharged from active duty. 

  • If your service ended before January 1, 2013, Your post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) benefits will expire 15 years after your last separation date from active service. You must use all benefits before then or lose what’s left. 
  • If your service ended on or after January 1, 2013, Your benefits DON’T expire due to a law called the Forever GI Bill – Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act

Understanding the Forever GI Bill 

When the Forever GI Bill was instituted in 2017, it eliminated the 15-year-use-it-or-lose-it policy associated with Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. 

Additional changes from the Forever GI Bill include:

  • Creation of the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship
  • Reinstatement of lost GI Bill benefits due to school closures 
  • Post-9/11 Purple Heart Veterans are eligible regardless of the length of their service 
  • Expanded Yellow Ribbon Program coverage for Active Duty service members
  • Increased DEA payment structure
  • Creation of a High Technology pilot program 
  • Changed how Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is determined 

#2. How Long Does the GI Bill Last?

Typically, the GI Bill expires 15 years after your separation from the military; however, there are exceptions, so it’s essential to understand your eligibility. 


#3. Who is Eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

You are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill if one of the following is true:

  • You served at least 90 days on active duty (either all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, OR
  • You received a Purple Heart on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged after any amount of service OR 
  • You served for at least 30 consecutive days (all at once or with breaks in service) on or after September 11, 2001, and were honorably discharged with a service-connected disability OR 
  • You’re a dependent child using benefits transferred by a qualifying veteran or service member.

Good to Know: If you’re a Reserve member who lost education benefits when the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) ended in November 2015, you may qualify for restored benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. 


#4. What Benefits are Covered Under the GI Bill?

The following benefits are included under the GI Bill:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Money for Housing 
  • Money for books and supplies
  • Money to help you move from a rural area to go to school 

#5. How Do I Get GI Bill Benefits?

You must apply for educational benefits, and the benefit amount you receive will vary depending on the following:

  • Which school do you go to
  • How much active-duty service you’ve had since September 10, 2001
  • How many credits or training hours you’re taking 

If you use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, you’ll have to verify your enrollment every month to keep receiving a monthly housing allowance or kicker payments. 

#6. Can I Qualify for a GI Bill Extension?

Maybe! According to the VA, specific circumstances may make you eligible for a GI Bill extension. 

You may qualify for a GI Bill extension if one of the following applies to you:

  • If you served a “later period of active duty” of 90 consecutive days or more
  • You had a medical issue preventing you from attending school 
  • You were held by a foreign government or power after your last discharge or release from active duty

More information about applying for a GI Bill extension here. 


#7. Can You Transfer GI Bill Benefits?

Yes, you may be eligible to transfer your GI Bill benefits to your spouse or dependent children; however, the Defense Department makes the final decision. 

ALL of the following must be true to transfer your GI Bill benefits. 

  • You’ve completed at least 6 years of service on the date your request is approved, AND 
  • You agree to add 4 more years of service, AND
  • The person getting benefits is currently enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)


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