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Is It True That Upon My Discharge I Would Not Be Eligible for the GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, I served just under two years in the US Navy (Sep 2005 to July 2007). I was honorably discharged and have a re-enlistment code of 4 (I believe). During Boot Camp, I elected to deposit $100.00 a month for the GI Bill for the total of a year. I completed my deposits at the end of my first year of service – totaling $1,200.00 invested. Upon my discharge I was informed that I was not eligible for the GI Bill. Is this actually the case? Am I entitled to some benefits here? Or at least a refund of the $1,200.00 I invested? I look forward to hearing from you. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Thank you in advance.

A: Whether or not you are eligible for the GI Bill depends on a couple of things. If you didn’t complete your original enlistment, you may still be eligible if you were separated early for one of the following reasons:
• Convenience of the Government
– You must have 30 months of continuous active duty if your obligation was 3 or more years.
– You must have 20 months of continuous active duty if your obligation was less than 3 years.
• Service-connected disability
• Hardship
• A medical condition that you had before service
• A physical or mental condition that interfered with performance of duty and didn’t result from misconduct on your part

If you qualify with an early separation for Convenience of the Government as described above, you may be eligible for the full 36 months of Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits. If you qualify with an early separation for any of the other reasons above, you will be eligible for less than 36 months.

The best you can hope for is one month of benefits for each month of service. However, you should also qualify for a partial Post 9/11 GI Bill. You should have 36 months of benefits at the 80% tier. As far as getting your $1,200 back, that isn’t going to happen unless you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. After using up all your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, you might get some of your $1,200 back as part of your last housing allowance payment.

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