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As a Reservist With Prior Active Duty Service, What Would I Get In the Way of GI Bills?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello. I’m in the active duty Corps right now and was curious as to what benefits I would receive if I decided to reenlist as a reservist after 4 years of active duty. Would I receive the full GI Bill, or the Reservist version of the Bill, or would I have a choice? Thank you for your time.

A: With four years of active duty, you already have at least 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 100% tier. You automatically became eligible with three years of active duty service after September 10, 2001. The only thing that could prevent you from using it would be if you got anything less than a fully Honorable discharge.

If you signed up for and paid in your $1,200 contribution when you first enlisted, you may also have the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). If you do, there could be a couple of ways you could use both GI Bills. You could use up all of your MGIB and then switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of education benefit.

Or you could switch right away and use your 36 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You would not get the additional months of benefits, but the New GI Bill normally pays a much higher rate than the MGIB. In the end, it comes down to deciding if you need the additional time, such as for both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees, or if you plan on only getting a BA.

As far as getting the Reserve GI Bill, you would get it with a six-year enlistment in the Reserves or National Guard, but it really won’t do you much good as the Post 9/11 GI Bill and MGIB are both much better pay-wise. About all you would get by joining the Reserves would be pay for drilling, building points for retirement and continuing your service to your country.

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