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Am I Still Eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill or Only Chapter 1606 – the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served from April 2004 to October 2005 on active duty orders given by the Louisiana National Guard for the OIF III campaign and was discharged from those orders honorably. Once I returned home from the tour and back into active drilling status with the Guard, I inactivated during my contract to pursue overseas government contracting for a year. When I finished that year, I returned home and re-entered the Guard. A year after re-entering the Guard a second time, I inactivated during my contract a second time to pursue overseas government contracting. After I finished working as a civilian overseas a second time, I returned home and re-entered the Guard (this time would be my third time entering/re-entering the Guard). My question is this: because I inactivated during the middle of my contract twice, would I still be eligible for Post 9/11 or would I have to go with Chapter 1606? Or what other information could you provide me with that would help me make a more informed decision on how to maximize my benefits regarding this situation?

A: No you are still eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill based on your deployment for OIF III. What happened after redeploying back home will not change your Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility.

However what it will affect is your eligibility to make a transfer of benefits to your spouse or children. To be eligible for the transfer option, you have to have served a minimum of 6 years, be currently serving at the time of the transfer request and agree to serve an additional four years.

By jumping in and out of the guard you are spreading those six years of eligibility out over a greater length of time, not to mention not establishing a good track record for maintaining a good standing in the Guard.

I think you have to decide whether you are going to focus on being an independent contractor overseas and not continue in the Guard, or stay in the Guard and work here in the States. Jumping in and out of the Guard is not good for you or your unit. They can’t depend on you being there when they need you.

Frankly with your track record, I’m surprised you can find a unit that will enlist you.

As far as Chapter 1606, you only get that GI Bill if you enlist for six years. And once you get out of the Guard, there isn’t any residual value left that you can use once out of the Guard as there is with other GI Bills. Once you are out, or have served for 10 years, your Chapter 1606 is null and void.

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