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If I Paid into the GI Bill and Then Discharged Due to a Training Injury, Can I Still Use My Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I got honorably discharged while injured during training, but I also paid into the G.I. Bill. So can I still use those benefits? Or if not can they be refunded to me?

A: Whether you qualify for GI Bill benefits or not depends on how or why you were Honorably discharged. If the reason for your discharge was coded as service-connected, and you had spent at least 30 days on active duty, then you should qualify for the full 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100% level. However, under the Montgomery GI Bill, you would most likely only get one month of benefits for each month served.

However, if your injury was not classified as service connected or you were on duty for less than 30 days, you would most likely not qualify for either GI Bill. One other option you might possibly have for a non-service-connected discharge would be if you served for at least 90 days on active duty. Then you would qualify for the minimum Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit 36 months of education benefits at the 40% level.

When you talk about “…can they be refunded to me?”, it sounds like you paid into the Montgomery GI Bill – $100 per month for each month you were in (up to the first 12 months). Just so you know, whatever you paid in is gone – you won’t get that money back.

However with that said, if you were in for at least a full year, paid your $1,200, and are fully eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can get your $1,200 contribution back if you transfer from the Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and use up your 36 months of GI Bill benefits. Your contribution would come as part of your last housing allowance.

I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but without more information, such as how long you were in and whether or not your discharge was service-connected, I can’t refine my answers to be more succinct.

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