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Do You Think I am Eligible for the Post 911 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I applied for the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for a trade school but was denied benefits. I served 13 years and my last discharge was OTH. I have 2 contracts indicating the time frame and 2 certificates indicating Honorable Discharges. I have received documentation on how to appeal and I plan to do just that. My questions are: Do you think I am eligible for the Post 911 GI Bill? Should I hire an attorney to write the letter and provide the documentation to the Board of Veterans Appeals for my appeal? My service was from 1998-2013.

A: Without more information, I have no idea if you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill or not. But I can tell you what the requirements are to be eligible. Minimum eligibility of 40% comes with a minimum of 90 days of service on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001. Total eligibility comes with at least three years of service after the same date.

Because your last discharge was an OTH, that term of service does not count toward Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility, so to have any coverage at all, one of your terms ending with an Honorable discharge would have had to come after the September 10th date.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the trade school you had planned on attending must be VA approved, so the issue might be the school’s lack of VA approval and not a GI Bill eligibility issue. Again, without more information, I have no idea of the issue that is causing the VA to deny you benefits.

If you think you meet the Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility requirements and your school is on the VA-approved list, then it could be the VA just does not have all of your service information.

If you have not submitted copies of your Honorable discharge certificates and contracts, I would try that first. If they still deny you benefits, then yes, I would hire a lawyer specializing in working with military benefits. Just know going in that win or lose, you have to pay for your own legal expenses.

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