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Can I Still Use My GI Bill If I Have Been Out of the Army Since 2006?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’ve been out of the regular Army since 06. I need to know how and if i can use my GI Bill and if I have any kind of 401k or the like that I can pull out. How and where do I find the info I need?

A: You can find the info right here. I’ll explain it to you. If you paid into the Montgomery GI Bill, and you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill (more on that in a minute), then you can get your $1,200 MGIB contribution back, once you have used up all 36 months of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. If you switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with less than 36 months of benefits left, then you would get a lesser amount of your contribution back; it would be prorated based on the number of MGIB months you have left at the time you switched.

Because the Post 9/11 GI Bill does not require any monetary contribution (as does the MGIB), they felt it was only far that if you did not use any MGIB benefits, or had some left and used them under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, that you could get some of your contribution back.

If you participated in the Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) for the uniformed services, you also have money there you could pull out. You can pull out your contributions and any earnings you may have accumulated, but if you are less than 59 ½ year old, you will pay a penalty for the withdrawal. If you are 59 ½ or older the penalty is waived. Unless you really need the money bad or meet the age requirement already, I would leave it in and let it make money for you.

If you have less than $200 in it, then you got the money when you separated. If you have more than $200 invested, then you have other options, such as a single payment or monthly payments to name two.

Comments  (1)

You have ten years from your date of separation to use you GI Bill benefits. Keep in mind that means you have until the last day of the month you separated from the Army in 2016. That being said though if you wait until 2015 to start going to college you still only get until the last day of the month you separated from the Army in 2016. SO I would suggest getting enrolled in school and using your benefits now. You can get really close to a 4 year degree if you start now. Also after you use the GI Bill check into Vocational Rehabilitation offered through the VA. I don’t know too much about voc-rehab but I know it can help you if you are not degree complete but you have used all your GI Bill benefits.

posted by Cynthia
9:12 pm on October 26, 2011
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