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Will I Lose My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits If I Fail Another PT Test?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I’ve served in the Army now for 5+ years and am in the process of ACAP to separate from the military. I plan to start school in Denver next fall…I recently failed a record PT test and was told that if I failed another I would be separated from the Army and would lose all benefits including the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I have heard numerous answers from that as long as you get an honorable discharge you will get your GI Bill benefits to if you don’t complete your term of enlistment you will forfeit all GI Bill benefits. I was just wanting to clear up the issue and see what the correct issue is on that.

A: What you heard – “as long as you get an honorable discharge you will get your GI Bill benefits” – is the truth. If you do end up failing another pt test, talk to your Commander about what discharge s/he is considering, your plans for using your GI Bill and how a discharge less than fully Honorable would prevent you from accomplishing your plans. You Commander knows all this stuff already, but it doesn’t hurt to let him or her know that you also know it and that you plan to better yourself if s/he allows you to use your GI Bill benefits.

As a matter of Code, your command has to do the following first before issuing a Chapter 13 discharge – Separation for Unsatisfactory Performance. You must have been formally counseled in writing at least once prior to initiation of the chapter action, and this counseling must include:

1. The reason for the chapter action.

2. The fact that separation action may be initiated if you fail another pt test.

3. The type of discharge that could result from the possible separation action and the effect of each type.

4. That you should have been given reasonable time to correct the deficiency.

This must not have happened yet or otherwise you would know what kind of discharge they were considering.

If the CO gives you a Chapter 13, then you would not be able to use your GI Bill benefits. Your only option then is to try and convince the Army Discharge Board to upgrade your discharge to Honorable – something done in only 41% of the cases heard.

As far as not finishing out your enlistment, don’t worry about that. You have served for at least three years after September 10, 2001 – all that is required for full 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Get the Honorable discharge and you’ll be all set.

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