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Am I Also Eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill With a General Discharge?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am about to get discharged with general under honorable conditions (service length of 24 months). Would I still be eligible for the GI Bill? And I originally signed up for Montgomery GI Bill, can I still get Post 9/11 GI Bill? If I can, can I also get the housing allowance as well?

A: To answer your first question, yes you are still eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill. And it gets better yet; you are also eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill complete with the monthly housing allowance and book stipend.

But Houston, we have a problem; with a discharge less than fully Honorable, you can’t use any of it. The benefits are there, but they are hands-off, unless you get your discharged upgraded to fully Honorable.

How do you do that? It starts with you filling out and submitting DD Form 293 and sending it to your service branch Discharge Review Board. It is your job on the form to convince the Board why your current discharge rating is wrong. Historically, about 41% of the people have been successful. If you end up being part of that statistic, then you would be able to then use your GI Bill benefits.

Now let’s look at the benefits. If you did not complete your full enlistment contracted time, then you most likely would end up with 24 months of the Montgomery GI Bill – one month of eligibility for each month of service. As a full-time student, you could get up to $1,270 per month.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, training time does not count for GI Bill eligibility until you have more than 24 months of service; assuming you had a 5-month IADT, you most likely have 36 months of eligibility at the 70% tier level. If your IADT was longer than 6 months, then you would be at 60%. Your housing allowance, book stipend and the amount of tuition the VA would pay would all be calculated at the authorized tier level.

So to use your GI Bill benefits, the first thing you must work on is getting your discharge upgraded.

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