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With an OTH Discharge, What Are the Chances My Fianc├® Can Use His GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi Ron, wow your blog is very helpful. My fianc├® and I are trying to buy a house and he would like to go to college. He served a total of 6 years. He reenlisted or extended his service for an additional 2 years. His first tour was honorable, however, during his second tour he had OTH for drug abuse. Do you think there is any hope for a VA loan and GI benefits? Thank you. Summer.

A: Yes Summer, there is hope – you have a pretty name by the way. My specialty is GI Bill education benefits, so I can’t address much as far as a VA home loan, but I can tell you that his discharge can’t be Dishonorable and he has to meet the service requirement of having been on active duty for a period of 90 days or more – both of which it sounds like that he meets.

As far as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, he needs at least one term of service ending in an Honorable discharge, which he also has. With six years of service, he has up to 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that he can use to go to school.

Go get started, he can go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. In return, he would get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that would show how many months of entitlement he has left to use, under what GI Bill and when that entitlement expires (15 years from his date of discharge).

When he goes to enroll in school, he would need to bring a copy of his COE with him, so his school knows that he is a student using GI Bill benefits. Good luck to the both of you!

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