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Military Discharge & Eligibility For The Post 9/11 GI Bill

Military Discharge & Eligibility For The Post 9/11 GI Bill

Military Discharge Types

Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility partly depends on the type of discharge you receive. There are five types of discharge:

  • Honorable Discharge – Honorable discharge is given when the service member completes their tour of duty and meets or exceeds the required standards of duty performance and personal conduct. It is only given when the discharge is not due to misconduct. For instance, service is characterized as honorable for failure in the fitness program. If you receive this type of discharge, you will generally get veterans’ full rights and benefits and may have an easier time obtaining post-service employment.
  • General Under Honorable Conditions – This discharge 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. Why would someone get this discharge? It is usually due to some form of non-judicial conduct, such as mental instability, petty offenses, frequent or prolonged absences, alcohol abuse and drug abuse. If you receive general under honorable conditions, benefits are not available to you, as an honorable discharge is required for GI Bill eligibility. Again, for anything other than honorable discharge, benefits from the GI Bill are not available.
  • Under Other than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC) – UOTHC discharge is the harshest form of an administrative discharge. It represents a momentous departure from the conduct expected by a service member. This may include security violations and the use of violence. If you receive a UOTHC discharge, you are generally banned from enlisting into any component of the Armed Forces and the majority of veterans’ benefits are unavailable to you.
  • Bad Conduct – Bad conduct discharge is a disciplinary discharge that can only be given to an enlisted service member through a Court Martial. If you are to receive a bad conduct discharge, practically all veterans’ benefits are forfeited.
  • Dishonorable – Similar to bad conduct, dishonorable discharge is a punitive discharge and not an administrative discharge. A service member may only receive this discharge through a General Court Martial conviction for offenses like murder, rape and desertion as part of the sentence. A dishonorable discharge results in a loss of all veterans’ benefits and may make obtaining gainful employment difficult.

Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility Rules

Am I eligible for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits if I have been discharged under honorable conditions?

The short answer: No

The long answer:

According to the VA, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals discharged with a service-connected disability 30 days after they’ve been released from the military. However, you must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.

There are different types of military discharge, (“dishonorable”, “honorable”, “discharged under honorable conditions”, etc.) but Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility is reserved for those who received an honorable discharge. A general discharge under honorable conditions is not enough to get you access to Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

You must have been honorably discharged for Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility.


The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is now accepting applications for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The latest announcement reads as follows:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now accepting and processing applications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You should complete and submit the application form available online and will receive a letter explaining VA’s decision regarding your eligibility for the program.

The application form requires that individuals currently eligible for benefits under the Montgomery GI BILL-Active Duty (MGIB-AD), Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) make an irrevocable election from their existing program to the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Payments will be processed August 1, 2009.

Military.com offers advice on whether you should apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill right away or weigh your options before going through the application process. While the Post 9/11 GI Bill provides better benefits for most military personnel that qualify, the Montgomery GI Bill is still a more profitable option under certain conditions. Keith Wilson, the Director of Education Service for the Veterans Benefits Administration, quotes:

This needs to factor in, not just what VA pays, but also the impact on any other educational assistance the person receives. For example, if the student attends school in one of the many states that offers veterans free tuition or receives another form of state or campus aid, will switching to the Post-9/11 benefit change that?

Students that are currently receiving financial benefits from a different GI Bill may also apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill for the remaining months of their benefits to be transferred to the new bill.

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  • Mathew

    Questions: I served approximately 6 years in the Marine Corps. My first contract was from 06/13/2000 to 06/12/2005. During my last year of my first contract I decided to reenlist. Upon any reenlistment that military member is first officially discharged and then reenlisted. During my second contract I was medically discharged with a “Personality Disorder” on 02/07/2007 and was given a General (Under Honorable Conditions) discharge. From what I have read under the Veteran Affairs website pertaining to the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, to be eligible you must have an honorable discharge or be discharged for something such as hardship or a condition interfering with your duties. My question is since I did not get an Honorable Discharge but a General (Under Honorable Conditions) discharge will I still be entitled to the new Post 9/11 GI Bill???? Two factors that I want to point out is 1. I contributed to the MGIB during my first year of my first contract in which before being reenlisted I was officially Honorably Discharged. And 2. A personality disorder is a medical condition which interfered with me performing my duties. Does anyone have any information that they coudl give me for my situation??? Since I performed on complete contract with the Marine Corps to which was when I contributed to the GI Bill will I be entitled to the Post 9/11 GI Bill??

    • Kourtnie McKenzie

      Mathew– I recommend calling 1-888-GI-BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) to speak with a representative of the VA as these are very specific questions and a government official might be able to aid you better. However, if you were discharged due a medical condition, you should still qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Also, if you served from 2000 to 2005, I believe you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill through this time of service.

  • Melissa

    Mathew, I had the same problem- I have 2 years served after 9/11 and was dischared with a “personality disorder” with a “general under honorable conditions” discharge. Perfect service record- not a thing negative. Let me know what they say about your case. I’ve applied but I havn’t heard anything back. I know I wasn’t able to get the other MGIB because the discharge was not stricktly “honorable”. I hope we quilify under this one.
    -Melissa: Meesa7@yahoo.com

  • Dean

    I am in process of writing everyone from the VA to include the President himself. According to FM-14 under discharge benefits, any personnel discharge with General Discharge with honorable conditions is eligible for ALL of the same entitlements as those with “Honorable” discharge with the exception of Civil Service Retirement Credit. on Page 2 of the FM in the sixth block it is labeled education assistance. If the post 9-11 Gi bill isn’t assistance i don’t know what is

    • Rissa0701

      So if someone applies who has a general but honorable and is denied should they appeal under these conditions? Is it likely that they will recieve post 911? My boyfried served 34 months and recieved a general so technically he should be able to recieve these benefits?

  • Kaprice

    Thanks for that info Dean, I was not aware of that. I applied for the Post 9-11 GI Bill and was denied since I received a General (Under Honorable Conditions)and not a Honorable. That will help me in my appeal.

  • jessica combs

    I submitted my claim for the post 911 gi bill. don’t know if they are going to accept it or not. I got a general under honorable. I was harassed everyday by this guy for like 5 months verbally and emotionally so I threw my butcher knife at him. I didn’t even go to mast or njp for this incident. I had a perfect service record, good conduct medal, letters of comendation etc. the psycho ward determined that I should get out. the ship that I was on the infamous uss halsey which I am very proud of and has come a long way seeing as it has had its share of scandals and tragedies. look it up. I was kicked out. after 4 years and 9 months. I have severe depression issues. I am going with voc rehab till I hear word about this. I think that regardless people who have served with more than 3 consecutive years should be entitled to school benefits.
    I am rated 100 percent disabled. I had to fight for that. I am thankful for that.

    we’ll see if they go ahead and give me my certificate of eligibility. if not, there is always voc rehab.

  • Heather

    Dean i was just wondering if you could tell me where you found the FM-14 code at so that i can use it in my appeal?

  • James

    I am in the same boat but I havent recieved anything yet. It’s kind of up to me wether or not I would like to get the GUH discharge because I am an NCO and have got into a few problems in the past few months. Nothing to bad but I am really wondering if I am going to be able to get the post 9/11 GI Bill because for me thats the most suitable one for the school path I would like to do. Please if anyone has any information on this let me know because so far this has the most helpful information.

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  • jonathon

    i was wondering if any of you ever heard anything back from the VA about educational assistance with the general under honorable discharges being as that i’m in the same boat. it is very interesting information because i have never read that FM before and was always under the assumption since my discharge about a year and a half ago that i wasn’t going to be eligible for the educational benefits. but even if that doesn’t go through i was wondering if since i’m not barred from reenlistment that if i got a waivered to get back in and got out a second time with an honorable discharge would i be eligible or the education benefits that way? i would be grateful for any help or input. thankyou

  • Melissa

    Its been a couple years now- the first time I applied for the 9-11 GI Bill they lost my VON APP even though I had the printed out and submitted form with the confirmation n umber. They told me to resubmit and I again heard nothing back no official denial or acceptance. I too had a clean service record and just had major depression but reather than medical boarding me they told me I could get out quicker with a General under honorable conditions discharge and I could get benefits through the VA – this was all correct but they failed to mention I would loose my GIBILL. I feel like an idiot- have any of you heard anything back? I have a thrid request in -I’ve been approved for Voc Rehab but the prob with that I s Its so limited I have to prove that theres a good chance I’ll get a job in the field I want to go to school in. How on earth in this economy will they approve anything but nursing and teacher jobs (and here in NY teachers are getting laid off!). My BA is in the Visual arts and I want to do Museum studies- not exatcly a field I can prove I’ll find work in.

  • Petty Officer Me

    Just FYI!  I am sure you are aware of this but you can petition to have your discharge upgraded to honorable if you current discharge is general under honorable.  I have heard that if you can get a letter from your congressman’s office recommending you for upgrade it helps a lot.  I will be contacting my reps office to see about any charity or volunteer programs supported by my rep that if I serve some time assisting the community will he write me a letter.  I have heard that doing things like this are pretty much the only way to even be considered for an upgrade. I guess it depends on how much you want it.  Good luck all please let me know if anyone finds out any more info.  My story is simple…  Had a rough breakup with my GF and went to the Chaplin to talk and next thing I know he giving me the boot saying i am borderline personality disorder.  I was also told general under honorable would still give me benefits…  So because I was depressed and sought help there is something wrong with me…  yeah love it.

  • Kylekotecha

    If a guy served 4 years and resigned would that be an honorable discharge? If so when he resigned he recieved a general under honorable conditions would he still get his GI bill since he did have 1 honorable discharge?

    • Corykim33

      “For the MGIB Chapter 30All you need is one qualifying period of service. So if you served 4 years before you reenlisted (36 months is actually long enough) you have MGIB chapter 30 qualifying service. You have to be honorable to reup. And you get to use the MGIB for 10 years from the date you were finally released from active duty. So if you got that general discharge on say (for example) October 2, 2008, then you will have until October 3, 2018 to use the MGIB. In your case your General discharge for your second period of Service does not matter.

      • Savinpar_007

        Corkykim33,  I’m just trying to clarify what you said for my sake. I understand what I just read. That is the exact situation I am in. I enlisted in 1996 and extended in 1999 before my enlistment was up to get my reenlistment bonus and that took me out to 2004 for my first enlistment. I was then given an Honorable Discharge in 2004 the day I reenlisted. So that would cover my HONORABLE DISCHARGE for the use of my GI BILL right? But during my time between 2004 and 2007 I get into some minor trouble and I was given an General Discharge “under honorable conditions”. BLOCK 18 on the DD FORM 214 under REMARKS states. “Member has completed first full term of service. Continuous Honorable Active Military Service from 12 JUN 1996 to 19 OCT 2004. I was discharged Dec 18 2007. So does that means that I have until Dec 18, 2017 to use my GI BILL?

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  • K Mccall76

    I recieved a honorable discharge in 1987, I did not complete basic training; since then I
    I lost through diseater all my belonging a long while back and my DD214 along with my
    honorable Discharge award was lost. So I have 2 questions. How can I obtain a replacement DD214 and Honorable Discharge Award also am I now or had been eligible for any form of

  • Rookrook137137

    if a person has served ten years honorably and then is to receive a Dis-honorable or a bad conduct will i still keep my post 911 GI bill?