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Can I Still Use the GI BIll I Paid Into?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I paid into the GI Bill and never used any of it. I need to find out if it is still available for me to use and if so what do I need to do?

A: Each GI Bill has a shelf life called a delimiting date. Being you said you paid into it, I’m assuming you have the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB). That particular GI Bill is good for up to 10 years from your date of discharge. After that, your unused benefits can no longer be used and are lost.

Usually the next question I get asked concerns extensions. Generally, speaking the VA will only extend the delimiting date in three situations:

  • If you were detained by a foreign power and could not go to school.
  • If you were recalled back to active duty.
  • If you were unable to go to school due to something out of your control, such as a temporary disability due to a car accident, or an unexpected change in employment, etc.

Other than those three, your chances of getting an extension are slim to none. If you still have MGIB benefits left to use and you have not yet reached your delimiting date, the MGIB pays servicemembers with three years or more of service $1,421 per month to go to school as a full-time student.

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