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Did My 10-Year Montgomery GI Bill Window Start Over With My Deployment to Iraq?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I received the old GI Bill in 1998 while on active duty. I left active duty in 2001, but, immediately joined the National Guard within a few weeks. In April of 2004 I was deployed to Iraq. In Jan 2005 I was severely injured and medically retired in 2007. Did my time start over after I retired? I’m concern, just want to finish my degree.

A: Actually, you have a couple of different things going on. One, yes your 10-year delimitation time on your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) did start over with your active duty period of over 90 days starting in April 2004. With a new discharge date in 2007, your MGIB will not expire now until 2017.

But with your deployment, you also became eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. How that works is you can either use up your current MGIB benefits, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of benefits, or you can switch now which would convert your 36 months of MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but you would then not get the additional time.

The advantage of doing it this way would be that you would get the higher rate of pay under the New GI Bill and you would extend your delimitation date out by an additional 5 years bringing your date out to 2022. Plus, once you used up all of your converted time, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution fee back as part of your last housing allowance payment.

One other thing on the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If your medical discharge was deemed service-connected (and I imaging it was), then you would get the full 100% tier, meaning the VA would pay 100% of your tuition and you would get the full housing allowance and book stipend (provided you are a full-time student). If your discharge was not service-connected, then you would get a percentage of the full amount.

From your question I can’t tell when you were taken off of active duty orders. If you had at least one year on orders, then you would be at the 60% tier. If you were on active duty orders up to your retirement date, then you would have three years of qualifying service and be at the 100% tier anyway. Anything in between one and three years would be prorated percentage-wise accordingly in 6 month/10% increments.

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