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Is It Possible My Son Is Not Eligible For the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son was discharged from the Air Force because he failed out of Para Rescue. It was too physically demanding. Apparently, the Air Force is very full right now, so they are discharging rather than re-classing. He received a 2C – Involuntary separation with honorable. He was only in for 3 months 23 days and successfully completed basic training .

He is re-enlisting in the Army because none of the other branches will accept his discharge code. Also, the Army recruiter says he is now not qualified for the GI Bill. Is that correct? What can we do about it? Also, he started out as an E3 because of ROTC in high school. Does the Army have to honor that? They are trying to get away with giving him as little as possible.

A: The Recruiter is correct in saying that your son is now not qualified for the GI Bill, but he should have worded it differently, such as not qualified now or not qualified at this time, because your son never met the eligibility requirement for the GI Bill. You see training time does not count toward GI Bill eligibility and it sounds like the time your son served was all training time.

For the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), he would have had to sign up for it, make the $1,200 contribution ($100 per month for 12 months through payroll deduction) and serve on active duty for three years to get the MGIB benefit (36 months at $1,368 per month).

For the Post 9/11 GI Bill, he doesn’t have to pay anything for it, but to meet the minimum eligibility benefit (36 months at 40%) requires at least 90-days of active duty service; the full benefit (36 months at 100%) requires three years. All these eligibility time requirements start once he reaches his first permanent duty station.

As far as his E3 pay grade, no the Army does not have to bring him in at that grade. With his reenlistment code, they are probably wary and will most likely start him out at a lower grade.

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