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Why Was My GI Bill Denied When I Tried to Use It?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have split service. I got out in 1996 with honorable discharge and earned the GI Bill. I reentered service in 2000-2003, and was discharged with other than honorable. I tried to use the rest of my GI Bill but was denied because of the type of second discharge. Is this an error? I thought once I had earned my GI Bill they couldn’t take it away. I know that it has been over 10 years since the original discharge but I had been told that once I had reentered the service my time was reset.

A: Each type of GI Bill has shelf life in that they are good only for a specific length of time. If your first term of service was in 1996, then you had the Montgomery GI Bill. That has a shelf life of 10 years from your date of discharge, so it would have expired in 2006.

As far as resetting your date, what you were told would have been true had your second term of service ended in an honorable discharge. But because it ended with an other than honorable, it did not count for resetting your shelf-life date of the GI Bill you earned from the first time you were in.

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