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Does My National Guard Contract and Service Make Me Able to Use the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was in the National Guard from December 06 to January 09 and was discharged with an Honorable discharge. Then I enlisted into the active duty Army on the same day of January 09 and then reenlisted and completed my first contract with the Army. Do I receive GI Bill benefits from that first contract? I’ve paid into the GI Bill twice already, once in the Guard and once in the Army. Now on my second contract with the Army, I’m being discharged on Chapter 14. My question is does my National Guard contract and service makes me able to use the GI Bill? O.K., my 2nd question is since I served honorable with the first contract with the Army, am I able to use the GI Bill from that 3-year contract? I just really want to go back to school.

A: If you enlisted in the National Guard for 6 years, then you had the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR). That GI Bill is unique in that it ended when you got out of the National Guard. I’m not sure what you paid for the first time because the MGIB-SR is free – you do not have to pay for it.

As far as your GI Bill with the Army, if you paid your $100 per month for 12 months, then you have the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD). You served for three years on your first contract, so you have 36 months of MGIB benefits that you can use. Right now if you were going to school full-time, you could get up to $1,648 per month. Keep in mind that you have to pay your own tuition, fees, books, etc.

But you most likely also have another GI Bill – the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It too is free just from your service. So you can either use up your 36 MGIB months, and switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get another 12 months of entitlement, or you can switch over your 36 months of your MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill right away and not get the additional time.

If you switch with all of your MGIB entitlement intact, you would get your $1,200 MGIB contribution fee back once you have used up the last of your Post 9/11 GI Bill. If you use up your MGIB first and then switch, you do not have any of your contribution fee back.

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