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Am I Still Eligible for the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: To whom it may concern. I’ve been out of the Marine Corps on an honorable discharge since August of 2005. I never used my GI Bill while on reserve duty during those 7 years. I served 2 tours in Iraq, between 2003 and 2005. I want a career change, and I’m interested in taking a commercial driver’s license course. Am I still eligible for the GI Bill? And is a CDL course applicable under the GI Bill? How do I get starting in getting this benefit? Thank you for your time and effort in this matter.

A: Your Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) expired when you got out of the Marine Corps Reserve. However, with your 2 tours in Iraq, you qualify for partial payment under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The way the New GI Bill works is you get to a percentage tier depending on how much active duty time you had after September 10, 2001 on Title 10 orders for a contingency operation such as Iraq. If your 2 tours were each one-year in duration, then you would have 36 months of entitlement at the 80% tier for your 24 months of qualifying service.

As far as taking a CDL course, you would have to find a course that is taught at an institution of higher learning (IHL) or in other words, a school that also teaches degree-producing programs. Then your CDL training should be covered. Also the Post 9/11 GI Bill can reimburse you one-time up to $2,000 for your CDL test/endorsements.

To apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, you will get back a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when you enroll in school.

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