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With an Other Than Honorable Discharge, Does This Still Mean I Don’t Qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have received an other-than-honorable discharge for drug abuse which is entirely false, but dealing with it none-the-less. I have served 7 years and have never reenlisted so technically I am still on my first term. Does this still mean I don’t qualify even though I paid my money and served over 6 years honorably?

A: Yep, that is what it means. If this had been your second enlistment and your first one had ended honorably, then you would be eligible to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill or Montgomery GI Bill benefits, but being this is still your first enlistment, you will not. How long you served and whether you paid your money into the GI Bill or not has no bearing on you being able to use your GI Bill if you have an other-than-honorable discharge.

However, it sounds like you think the reason for you getting the discharge may not be right. If so, and you have the documentation to prove your case, fight it. You can start by submitting DD form 293 to your service branch Discharge Review Board. It can take up to a year to hear back with their decision and there are no guarantees, but it is an avenue of appeal if you feel you have been wronged.

If their decision comes back disapproved, you can appeal it one step higher by filling out DD Form 149 to the Military Corrections Board of your service branch. If they disapprove your request, then that is the end of the line.

Comments  (12)

This confuses me now – so had he reenlisted he would get his benefits?

posted by DM
9:45 pm on May 13, 2012

That is correct. He has to have at least one term ending in an honorable discharge to be able to use his GI Bill benefits.

posted by Ron Kness
1:01 pm on June 2, 2012

so say i reenlisted twice and only been in five years, but i am getting a general discharge under honorable. do i still get to use my GI bill?

posted by C Whitham
4:53 pm on August 21, 2012

Your first enlistment should qualify you to be eligible to use your GI Bill.

posted by Ron Kness
10:27 am on September 9, 2012

But if a marine is OTH discharged, I thought he could not reenlist? Why cant he get his money back then?

posted by Kally
11:34 pm on September 10, 2012

So, if you are a reservist on the first contract, but you deploy multiple times and received several DD-214’s w/ honorable discharges, will you still lose your benefits if you receive a general under honerable discharge for your final DD-214? All honorable discharges were on active duty, and the general under honerable would be during IRR time in drilling status.

posted by UMR
2:12 pm on September 14, 2012

He paid his money to be able to use the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), however, if he gets a discharge that prevents him from doing so, that does not mean he would get his money back. He still has his GI Bil, he just can’t use it right now with his current discharge. But if he would get his discharge upgraded to Honorable, then he could use his GI Bill benefits. Also, if his discharge is upgraded to Honorable, he could get his money back if he switched right away from the MGIB to the Post 9/11 with all 36 months of entitlement intact and then used up all of those benefits. His $1,200 contribution would come as part of his last housing allowance.

posted by Ron Kness
12:15 pm on September 30, 2012

No I don’t think it means that at all. When you deploy from the SEL RES, you are discharged from that entity and enlisted into the Active Component under a Title 10 order. Once redeployed back, you are then reentered into the SEL RES, so I’m thinking that the deployed active duty time would count toward Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility, even though the final outcome is a discharge of General Under Honorable Conditions.

posted by Ron Kness
12:19 pm on September 30, 2012

What is you got a Honorable Discharge during your first enlistment, but an OTH 11 months after that. Do you qualify for the Post 9/11 5yr extention after the MGIB runs out?

posted by Kenneth Walker
11:37 am on December 11, 2012

It depends on if you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill or not. To meet minimum eligibility requirements, you would have to have served for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001, but during your period of service where you received an Honorable discharge. If your Post 9/11 GI Bill period of service was during the time you got your OTH, then you would not be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

posted by Ron Kness
10:34 am on December 23, 2012

I received an OTH discharge a year after my 2nd enlistment. I’ve sent in my application to use the post 9/11 g.i. bill and am waiting to hear back. Will I get the full BAH? Also, are there any other benefits I can use from my first honorable enlistment?

posted by Sam Tarlton
12:26 pm on January 9, 2013

First off, you will not get BAH. Instead you would get the Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance. How much you get per month varies according to where you go to school and how many credits you are taking. It is calculated based on the zip code of your school and credits. Just be aware that if you are taking all your classes online, then the most you can get in MHA is $647.50 per month. Take one class on campus along with your online classes and you can get more in MHA because you would fall under the zip code/credit formula instead of the online-only one. Depending on your school zip code and credits you take, it can sometimes be as much as doubled the online-only amount.

posted by Ron Kness
9:30 am on May 1, 2013
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