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With a General Under Honorable Conditions Discharge, What Can I Do So I Can Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I would like some information concerning the GI Bill. I joined the military on 21SEP06 and was discharged 18JUN09 with a General (Under Honorable conditions) If I am not eligible with this kind of discharge, what can I do to help my situation? If I am, how can I get this process started? I am just looking for the most logical course of action either way. Thank You for your time.

A: You are indeed not eligible to use any GI Bill with any discharge less than fully Honorable. However, as far as what you can do to improve your situation, there is only one thing – appeal to have your discharge upgraded to fully Honorable.

The process in itself to request an upgrade is not difficult – it can be as simple as filling out one form and submitting it, to as complex as hiring a lawyer experienced in discharge upgrades to represent you in person before the Board. Or you can also plead your case in person if you would like.

The difficult part is convincing the Board that the discharge you have is not right and that you are deserving of an upgrade. They will go in hearing your case with the mindset your discharge is correct. It is your job to convince them it is wrong.

On average 41% of the discharge upgrades processed result in an upgrade. That percentage gives you an indication what you are up against, but if you feel you have enough documentation to support your case, go for it.

If your documentation is strong enough to stand on its own, then submitting DD Form 293 with attachments is probably enough. If you feel there are things that could be better explained in person, then you may want to appear before the Board in person or if you have the money to spend on hiring a lawyer, that is the ultimate choice of upgrade representation.

It can take up to a year for the Board to hear your case and issue a finding on whether your upgrade is awarded or not, and there are no guarantees you will be successful, however it is the only avenue of appeal you have in the beginning.

If the Board does not feel your case warrants an upgrade, you can appeal their finding by filling out DD Form 149 and sending it to the Board of Military Record Corrections. If they agree with the Discharge Board, then it is the end of the road. If they disagree, they can award an upgrade.

If you are successful, then you would have 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you could use at the 90% tier level.

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