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With an Other Than Honorable Discharge, What Will Happen to My GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: There is a possibility I may receive an other than honorable discharge from the Marine Corps. I have served 4 years on a 5-year contract and have been on a combat deployment. I have been thrown around with rumors about what could happen to my GI Bill and I am looking for a real answer. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

A: The real answer is that you would have your GI Bill – you just won’t be able to use your 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill educational benefits at the 100% tier with a discharge of anything less than fully Honorable.

However, if you feel your OTH discharge is not right, and you can prove your case, you can submit to the Marine Corps Board of Military Corrections and request that your discharge be upgraded to Honorable. It can take up to a year to hear back with a decision and there is no guarantee they will upgrade it, but it is worth a try if you feel you have truly been wronged. Fill out DD Form 293, attach your supporting documentation and then wait.

You can also choose to make a personal appearance to support your case or hire a lawyer to represent you if you wish (at your own expense). And if you hear a rumor that discharges are automatically upgraded after six months, don’t believe it because it is entirely false. The only chance of it being upgraded is if you apply to the Board.

Comments  (2)

I received a oth discharge after 5 months and 11 days of service,but my dd 214 states i was in for 1 year and 9 months.I got hurt in basis(osut)was misdiagnosed,then when I graduated,i went home,got a bone scan from hospital.They found a break.I was mad and never reported to my permanent duty station.Do I have a shot at an upgrade,or any va coverage.My hip is still a problem after 10 years.

posted by johnny d
12:15 am on April 9, 2013

I have no idea how the Board would rule on your situation. But not reporting from leave as you did is AWOL no matter how you slice it and you are probably lucky you were not classified as a deserter. I think your chances for an upgrade are slim to none, but it doesn’t hurt to try. You may find the Board sympathetic to your situation.

Obviously you were not thinking about losing your GI Bill benefits when you decided to not report to your permanent duty station. It would have been much better to have reported to your duty station and then work out the differences.

posted by Ron Kness
11:38 am on April 19, 2013
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