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Do I Lose My GI Bill Benefits With a General Discharge?

Q: I was discharged back in 1999 with a general discharge under honorable conditions. I was told that I lost my GI Bill benefits when I was discharged. Can you tell me if that is so. And if not, how can I receive my benefits?

A: What you were told is correct. Anything other than a fully honorable discharge and you can’t use your GI Bill. If you feel an injustice was done, you can appeal your discharge to the Board of Corrections.

Your discharge is less than 15 years old, which is one of the main requirements. You can start the process by submitting DD Form 0293, Application for the Review of Discharge or Dismissal from the Armed Forces of the United States, to your branch of service corrections board. Each branch is listed below:

Expect the process to take at least six months or more. If you are successful in getting your discharge changed to honorable, then you can apply for your GI Bill benefits.

Submit VA Form 22-1990 and a copy of the Board results, either by using the VA’s VONAPP Website or by downloading the form and sending it in using the instructions on the form.

The delimiting date on the Montgomery GI Bill is 10 years, so if you would have been able to use your benefits, they would have expired in 2009. However, if you get your discharge changed to honorable, the VA should give you enough time to use your benefits – it should be ten years, since you never had an opportunity to use them in the first place.

Once your application is approved, you get back a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need to enroll in school.

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