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Discharged at 21 Months of Service, Am I Still Eligible for Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I paid the 12 months of the MGIB, but was discharged at 21 months for pregnancy. Am I still eligible for the benefits, or was my service too short? Also, if not, am I eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

A: Whether you are eligible to use any GI Bill at all or not is dependent on the type of discharge you received. Anything less than fully Honorable and you would not be able to use your GI Bill benefits.

Assuming you did get an Honorable discharge, your best long-term bet financially would be to use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The most you could hope for under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) would be one month of entitlement for each month of service or about 21 months of benefits. With less than three years of service, your MGIB would pay up to $1,339 per month as a full-time student, of which you have to pay all of your own education expenses.

Under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you could get up to 36 months of entitlement at the 70% tier level, meaning the VA would pay that percentage directly to your school towards tuition and fees. Any unpaid difference would be your responsibility to pay.

You would also get 70% of both the monthly housing allowance and book stipend. You would have to do the math, but just these two items could add up to as much as you would get under the MGIB, and with the New GI Bill most of your tuition would be paid; under the MGIB, it would not.

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