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With a Medical Discharge in 2005, Do I Qualify for GI Bill Benefits Now?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was put out of service in 2005 with a medical discharge and I am wondering how I can check and see if I am eligible to use GI Bill benefits. Could you help me?

A: I can’t help you in the sense that I can look up your record and tell you exactly what you have for GI Bill benefits, as we are not affiliated in any way, shape or form with the VA. I can tell you what you might have for benefits though from the information in your question though.

Being you got out in 2005 (provided you had at least three years of service and your characterization of service was classified as “Honorable”) you would have 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits at the 100% tier that you could use up to 15 years after your date of discharge. You got those benefits just from having served for at least three years after September 10, 2001.

You also might have 36 months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) if you signed up for it when you first enlisted and paid your $1,200 “contribution” fee. Do you remember them taking out $100 per month for the first 12 months after you enlisted? If so, you have up to 10 years after you got out to use your MGIB.

If you indeed have both GI Bills, you will fall under the Rule of 48 which states that if you have two or more GI Bills, the most number of combined months of benefits that you can use is restricted to a maximum of 48. The way to use all 48 is to first exhaust your 36 months of MGIB benefits, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and use your additional 12 months.

If you switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with MGIB months left, then all you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the same number of months you had left under the MGIB and not the additional months.

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