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Can I Still Use My GI Bill from My First Term of Service?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: While on active duty Air Force stationed in Germany, I reenlisted for another 4 years. After 4 years and 5 months of my 2nd term, I got myself in a little trouble and requested a discharge in lieu of court-martial. I was given an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions, which is an Administrative Discharge. (I know, it sounds terrible) My DD-Form 214 doesn’t show much information regarding my first enlistment, which was honorable. Am I allowed honorable benefits for that time?

A: Yes your first four-year term, with the honorable discharge, qualifies you to use your GI Bill. Because your DD-214 doesn’t’ show your first term as having an honorable discharge, you should send in a copy of your Honorable Discharge Certificate to the VA to validate your first term as honorable. Many servicemembers miss that entry when reviewing their DD-214 before getting out and while it requires some additional work, it isn’t that big a deal to set the record straight.

If you paid into the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) during your first term, then you will have 36 months of entitlement that you can use for either degree or non degree-producing programs. Under the MGIB, you get $1,426 per month and you have to pay all your own education expenses.

If you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then the VA will pay your tuition and fees directly to your school (up to the in-state maximum) and you will get a monthly housing allowance and up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend.

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