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My Discharge in 2004 was Honorable, So Would My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefit Start From That Date?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I joined the Army in January 1998. I reenlisted in 2001 and again in 2004. Then in 2007, I was discharged with a General Under Honorable conditions. I applied for the MGIB and I was given a letter of eligibility. I filled out the form on eBenefits through VONAPP to change over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Will I be eligible? I have been waiting over a month with no answer from VA yet. I have heard that since my last discharge in 2004 was Honorable, that my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit would be from that date.

A: As long as you had at least one term of service ending in an Honorable discharge, which it sounds like you did in 2001 and 2004, you can use your GI Bill eligibility to go to school.

Many people think they lose their GI Bill eligibility if they only have a bad discharge, when in fact they don’t; they just can’t use that eligibility until they can get their discharge upgraded to at least Honorable.

The eligibility can’t be taken away, however, it does expire in either 10 or 15 years from the last date of discharge for the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) or Post 9/11 GI Bill, respectively.

Under the MGIB, you would have received $1,564 per month for up to 36 months. Out of that amount, you would have to pay your tuition, fees, books and other education-related expenses.

However under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you could still get 36 months of eligibility but depending when you reenlisted in 2004, you might or might not be at the 100% tier. If you reenlisted before September 10th, then you would not; you would only be eligible for 90%.

If you reenlisted after September 10th, then you would be at the 100% tier. Still at 90%, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is a much better deal than the MGIB in most cases.

The date you had in question deals more with establishing how much eligibility you end up with and not in establishing your delimitation date. That is still driven by your last date of discharge. Even if your delimitation date was driven from the 2004 date, you would still have six years to use up 36 months of eligibility.

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