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How Would I Know If I’m Eligible for, or Have, the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How would you know if you are eligible for the GI Bill or have a GI Bill?

A: Currently, the two most popular GI Bills are the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The MGIB started in 1984 and the Post 9/11 GI Bill started in August 2009. As you might expect, each has its own set of eligibility rules.

To qualify for the MGIB, you would have had to fulfill your enlistment contract of a minimum, of either two or three years, and paid the $1,200 contribution fee. That fee was paid via a $100-per-month payroll deduction for the first 12 months you were in the military. So if you:

  • fulfilled your enlistment contract;
  • made the $1,200 contribution;
  • received an Honorable discharge;
  • are within 10 years from your discharge date, then you have the 36 months of MGIB entitlement.

To qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you needed to have served a minimum of 90-days, after August 1, 2009, to get the minimum benefit of 40%. The full 100% benefit requires at least three years of active duty service. This GI Bill also requires an Honorable discharge and you have to use up the 36 months of entitlement within 15 years of your discharge date.

If you think you might have a GI Bill, you can confirm it by submitting VA Form 22-1990 to the VA. If you get back a Certificate of Eligibility, then you have a valid GI Bill. If your request is declined, then you were never qualified, or you have went past the delimiting date, or you do not have an Honorable discharge.

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