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Are You Eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill?

February 15, 2012

As with many military benefit programs, G.I. Bills depend on the type of discharge that you receive. Military members often do not realize how serious an infraction may be to the rest of their future. For example, alcohol abuse is just one offense that could take away your Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits. Many active duty and veterans are applying for their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits only to find that they may not qualify. As the Department of Veterans Affairs opened applications for this bill in May 2009, time may be running out, and veterans should understand the rules and eligibility requirements before getting started.

Your discharge is the most determining factor in whether or not you are eligible to receive any benefits. If you received an honorable discharge, which is when a service member completes their tour of duty and meets required standards of duty performance and personal conduct, then you are eligible. If you get this charge, then you also receive veterans’ full rights and benefits, and you will have an easier time getting post-service employment. This is the only discharge that is acceptable to receive benefits. Otherwise, you will be unable to receive benefits, even if you have another similar type of honorable discharge, as explained below.

General Under Honorable Conditions is another type of discharge that you may receive. This is reserved for service members who leave the service under honorable conditions but their conduct and performance of duty was not commendable enough to receive an Honorable discharge. If you had some form of non-judicial conduct, such as mental instability, petty offenses or frequent absences, alcohol abuse and drug abuse, a veteran will most likely receive this discharge. You will not receive benefits if discharged with a General Under Honorable Conditions.

There are also certain rules that military members must follow when getting benefits, and you may still be eligible to receive benefits, though it is not as easy if you don’t have an Honorable discharge. For example, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill will provide financial support for education and housing to individuals discharged with a service-connected disability 30 days after they’ve been released from the military.

Payments for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill are processed in the Fall. However, service members have reported late payments or mixed up paperwork delaying their payments. It’s imperative that in these situations the service member contacts the Department of Veterans’ Affairs immediately. There are also other forms of benefits such as the Montgomery G.I. Bill to consider if you do not qualify or do not want the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Students that already receive benefits from another G.I. Bill can also be eligible for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, but only for the remaining months of their benefits as transferred to the new bill.

Understanding your G.I. Bill rights is imperative to receiving the right amount of aid. You may be eligible for even more benefits if you were disabled in the line of duty. Service-connected disabilities are often not given the amount of attention as necessary. Military members who have suffered an injury and are not receiving the right amount of aid are urged to contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for immediate help. You can also visit an office to talk to a representative who may help you further.

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