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Am I Eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill with My National Guard Duty Time?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I entered the military 01 May 1969. I used my GI Bill at various periods completing my degree in August 1997. I served on active duty from August 2005 – April 2006 with Hurricane Katrina & Rita. I did active duty for two months in 2008 with Hurricane Gustav. I then was on active duty from 21 April 2009 – Sept. 2009. Then seventeen months from November 2009 – March 31 2011. All of this active duty was in the state of Louisiana with the Louisiana National Guard. My question is am I eligible for Post 9-11 GI Bill & if so what are my entitlements. I am retiring from the Louisiana National Guard on 30 June 2012 with thirty years served. Thanks.

A: The real issue here is the type of orders you were on during your “active duty” as not all active duty qualifies you for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. For example, if you were ordered to active duty on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation for a period of at least 90 days, such as Afghanistan, that would establish Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility at the 40% tier; a typical one-year deployment would inch you up to the 60% level. Two more one-year deployments would get you to 100%.

However, if you were ordered to state active duty, it was most likely on a Title 32 order which may or may not qualify you for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If the orders were “for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training”; or under section 502(f) “for the purpose of responding to a national emergency”, then you are eligible. The hurricane duty should have fallen under Section 502(f), but you will have to look at your orders to be sure.

So assuming all your state active duty time was “good” time, I come up with 32 months of eligible service, putting you at the 90% tier.

The bad news is under the Rule of 48, if you qualify for two or more GI Bills, your limited to a total combined maximum of 48 months. Assuming you used up your 36 months of MGIB to get your Bachelor’s degree in 1997, the most you could get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill would be 12 months at the 90% tier meaning the VA would pay up to 90% of your tuition and you would get 90% of the authorized housing allowance and book stipend.

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