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How Long Do I Have to Serve to Get Full Montgomery GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have a four-year contract and am thinking about getting out early. How long do I have to serve to receive full benefits with the MGIB? — Abby

A: When you signed the four-year contract Abby, you agreed to serve four years in exchange for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). The important life lesson here to learn is a contract is binding and both parties are expected to fulfill their part of the agreement.

Generally, you have to fulfill your contract, but depending on why you are getting out, you may be able to get your full MGIB by serving 75% of your contract or 36 months. Just so you know, you will need a good reason to get out, not just because you are tired of it and want to terminate your service.

With at least three years of qualifying service, you could also qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Depending on your education goals, that may be a better option for you. It is easy to convert – just send in VA Form 22-1990. If you do convert, once you exhaust your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you can get your $1,200 MGIB contribution or a portion of it back, depending on how many unused MGIB months you had left at the time you switched. If you choose to stay with the MGIB, once you exhaust all of the MGIB benefits, you could convert and get an additional 12 months of education entitlement, but not your MGIB contribution back. So you have a couple of options to think about.

Comments  (6)

im in the army, ive served about seven months and i had some issues, and im getting Chaptered (General)Will i recieve any GI bill Benefits

posted by Jay
11:56 pm on September 13, 2011

No you won’t. It takes a fully honorable to use your GI Bill education benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
8:25 am on September 20, 2011

It depends on the situation. Being that you could be terminated for medical reasons that occured job-related, and still recieve your GI. Even if you have only been in for 6 months.

posted by RS
12:04 pm on August 26, 2012

What RS is referring to is that is you have served on a Title 10 order for at least 30 days after September 10, 2001 and you are separated due to a service-connected injury or illness, you would get your full 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility, even if you have only been in six months.

posted by Ron Kness
10:07 am on September 9, 2012

I have served 2yrs in the service and im getting chaptered for being overweight will i get 100% of my GI bill

posted by SB
12:31 am on June 17, 2013

Most likely not. With two years of service (and an Honorable Discharge) you should get 36 months of education benefits, but it would be at the 80% tier. If you get something other than Honorable, then you would not be able to use any of your GI Bill benefits. The only way you could get all of your benefits at the 100% tier level would be if you get a service-connected discharge which is unlikely.

posted by Ron Kness
11:03 am on June 28, 2013
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