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Will My Son Still Be Able to Use His GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, I have a son who just got a DUI and is looking to be kicked out of the Navy SEALS and the Navy. He will get a recommended discharged, but not a dishonorable. Will he still be able to get his GI Bill for school? He has been in training for 2 years now. Thank you.

A: If he receives anything other a fully honorable discharge, he loses his GI Bill. You did not indicate which GI Bill he has, but if he has the Montgomery GI Bill and doesn’t finish his commitment, he is throwing away 36 months of entitlements at $1,421 per month or about $51,000.

If he has the Post 9/11 GI Bill, he is losing 36 months of benefits worth up to $90,000. If he has both GI Bills, then total amount he is losing is 48 months of entitlements worth in excess of $80,000.

He does have one recourse to change his discharge to honorable. If he thinks he was wronged, then he can file an appeal to have his discharge changed to honorable by submitting DD Form 293 to the Board of Corrections. It can take up to six months to get a decision back and there are not any guarantees they will change his discharge rating, but it is a chance.

He may end up learning a lesson the hard way; in fact, the cost of paying for the DUI itself may be the least expensive part of the lesson learned.

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