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If I’m Chaptered Out of the Army, Will I Get to Keep My GI Bill?

Q: I signed to serve in the Army in Sep. 2009 and I started BCT in Feb. 2010. I’m 7 months pregnant and I just got to this unit that keeps asking me if I want to stay in or get chaptered out.

In my last unit they told me that if I was chapter out, I wasn’t going to keep my GI Bill. Is that true? How long do I have to be in the Army to keep it? I want to stay in but if for some reason I need to get out, I want to use the GI Bill and study.

A: I would recommend staying in. Generally speaking, you have to serve at least 30 months of a 36-month enlistment to qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill. Anything less and most likely you would only get one month of benefit for each month served. If you have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you would have a little over a year of qualifying service, putting you at the 50% tier as training time does not count toward New GI Bill eligibility.

As far as chaptering out, ask your command what kind of discharge they are considering. With the reason being pregnancy, and if you were a stellar soldier otherwise, they might give you an honorable discharge. However, if you had some other issues in your military past, they could decide to make it a general under honorable condition, which would prevent you from using either GI Bill.

And because you don’t have enough time in yet for the Montgomery GI Bill, and you would be at around 50% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill even an honorable discharge isn’t going to help you out that much – so if you want to go to school to secure a good future for yourself and your baby, your only real option is to stay in.

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