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As a National Guardsman, Can You Tell Me Why I Don’t Qualify for the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I was in the MA ARNG from March 1999 to June 2006. I applied, without contacting a VA officer, for benefits and was denied. When serving in the Guard, does the 10-year rule not apply? I was curious as to the denial, and was told I simply don’t qualify. Maybe I didn’t apply correctly? Is there someone I can contact for better info? I initially was supposed to do a 4×2, but ended up re-enlisting for another 4 as I anticipated flight school. So I actually did 2 more years-worth of benefits.

A: The 10-year rule does apply when using the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR), however, it applies differently. The MGIB-SR is only good for 10 years while you are serving. This means you only have 10 years to use your Reserve GI Bill while you are still in. Once you hit 10 years of service, it expires.

The other unique thing about the Reserve GI Bill is once discharged, your GI Bill immediately expires, so you do not have the 10 years after you get out to use your Reserve GI Bill as you would if you had the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (MGIB-AD).

It is unfortunate that you did not know these rules while you were still in as you would have had some time left to use some of your GI Bill benefits.

However, all may not be lost; if you deployed on a Title 10 Order in support of a contingency operation for at least 90-days after September 10, 2001 while you were in the Guard, you most likely have some Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility that you can use even if you are now out of the Guard. A typical one-year deployment would give you 36 months of benefits at a 60% tier level that you have 15 years from your date of discharge to use.

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