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Can Someone Help Me Get The GI Bill Benefits I Deserve?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served in the Florida Army National Guard from 2004-2010. I did not have the opportunity to deploy out of the country on Active Duty orders, even though I had prepared thoroughly to go…only to be sent home from Ft. Hood, TX without a second opinion. When I enlisted, I was under the impression that I was obligated to complete 6 years of service without any interruptions or issues, and needed to leave with an Honorable Discharge…which I have received. I was also under the impression by my recruiter that my basic training and AIT counted as Active Duty time, also including the annual training’s I completed throughout my term of service. I am being told by the Dept. of VA that I am no longer eligible for the GI Bill because I do not have enough Active Duty Title 10 orders and also because I am no longer in the National Guard….they literally told me to re-enlist, even though according to Ft. Hood, I am non-deployable for the rest of my life. This frustrates me because my benefits aren’t to expire until November 2019 but now they are totally gone because I ETS’d in 2010. I don’t think this is fair. I devoted 6 years of my life to the Government mainly so I could go to school and make something of myself. I completed all the training I was obligated to and even worked full time for the length of 1 year with the Brigade HQ on orders to help prepare our Soldiers for the deployment in 2010. I endured my own personal hell while I was enlisted that will never be erased from my memory….and now, after all this time that I thought I was a Veteran, I am basically being told now that I am NOT a Veteran. I believe I am entitled to at least my education benefits seeing as that was what was promised to me in the beginning. Can someone please help me determine what I need to do about receiving my education benefits again? Thank you.

A: I don’t think there is anyone to help you with your GI Bill benefits because you are not eligible for any. Let’s start with the easy one first. While you were in the National Guard, you had the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve. That particular GI Bill would have expired at the end of 10 years if you would have stayed in that long, but since you didn’t, it expired the day you got out.

As far as working at the brigade for one year, unless those orders were Title 32 Section 502(f) or Title 10, they do not count for Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility. Most likely they were ADSW or ADOS orders, not GI Bill eligible orders. What your recruiter told you about annual trainings counting toward GI Bill eligibility just is not true. Isn’t that a surprise!

However, Basic Training and AIT orders can count, but only after you have 24 months or more of qualifying Title 10 service. Lastly, to qualify for minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you would have had to served for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, which it sounds like you must not have stayed on orders that long at Ft. Hood.

I wish I had better news for you, but you just are not eligible for any of the GI Bills. The VA cannot give you something you are not authorized to have.

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