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With a General Discharge, What Conditions Allow Me to Use My GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have a question – I was discharged with a General discharge. What are the conditions which would make me eligible for G.I. Bill benefits? Like I know hardship is one, but what were all the others? I am just curious I need more info on who exactly is eligible.

A: You are confusing apples with oranges. Let me explain. There is a difference between being eligible for GI Bill benefits and being able to use GI Bill benefits.

For example, you may still have the eligibility for benefits if you were if you were separated early for one of the following reasons:

Convenience of the Government

You must have 30 months of continuous active duty if your obligation was 3 or more years.

You must have 20 months of continuous active duty if your obligation was less than 3 years.

Service-connected disability.


A medical condition that you had before service.

A physical or mental condition that interfered with performance of duty and didn’t result from misconduct on your part.


A certain reductions in force.

However, with anything but a fully Honorable discharge you would not be able to use your benefits – you still have them, you just can’t use them.

If you were able to get your discharge upgraded to Honorable, you would then be able to use the benefits that were waiting for you (provided they hadn’t expired yet.)

Comments  (2)

you can receive The post 9/11 GI bill on a general discharge. I joined the army Jan.1998 I reenlisted in 2001 and again in 2004. In 2007 I was realsed from the Army with a general discharge. under pattersn of miusconduct.(serious offense). My two previous enlistments even though just the few seconds from reelisting I qualified. I suppose if you only serve one term it would be hard if possible at all.

posted by Rangerwill
10:01 am on August 27, 2013

Your statement “You can receive The post 9/11 GI Bill on a general discharge” is not true. If you had only served one term, and received a General discharge, you would not get to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill. The only reason you can use yours is due to you having served at least one term after September 10, 2001 that ended in an Honorable discharge.

posted by Ron Kness
12:47 pm on September 1, 2013
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