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Why Is There a 10-Year Time Limit to Use My Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Why is there a 10-year limit on when you can get education assistance if you served on Active Duty for 15 years? What if you have been in the Reserves 11 years after the 10 year active duty limit? Is there any other way to get assistance? Thank you kindly for your help.

A: The reason why there is a 10-year delimitation limit on using Montgomery GI Bill benefits and many other GI Bills is because Congress wrote the Bills that way. There has been talk on and off through the years to change it to either no limitation or make the expiration date 10 years after you start using benefits, but as of yet, neither has made any progress.

The other thing many servicemembers do not know is that their 10-year clock starts at their last discharge from a branch of the Armed Forces of the United States (of which the National Guard and Reserves of the different branches are a part of). So while you have been off active duty more than 10 years, if you have not yet gotten out of the Reserves, you have not even started your 10-year clock yet.

You most likely are eligible for both Montgomery GI Bills – the Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty, and if you signed up for six years in the Reserves, the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserves. If so, know that your MGIB-SR will expire either once you have been in the Reserves for 10 years past your Notice of Eligibility (NOBE) or at the point of discharge from the Reserves. But then you’ll still have 10 years to use your MGIB-AD.

An if you deployed while in the Reserves for more than 90 days after September 10, 2001, you may also have some eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you have 15 years from your last date of discharge to use that GI Bill.

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