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GI Bill Benefits Require Honorable Discharge

  • Published
  • By Capt. Matthew Ream
  • Area Defense Counsel
Educational benefits are a fantastic perk of military service. In fact, the Veterans Affairs Administration predicts the average veteran who uses the Post 9/11 GI Bill will receive approximately $90,000 over three years in tuition, books and living expenses.

However, one of the prerequisites to receive full Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits is completion of three years of active-duty service after Sept. 10, 2001, and receipt of an honorable discharge.

Unfortunately, in the 11 months since the Air Force stood up Air Force Global Strike Command, more than 195 military members within the command have been administratively discharged with a less than honorable discharge, typically for misconduct, thereby losing their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

As the Area Defense Counsel team, my paralegal and I represent active duty members facing adverse action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including courts-martial and nonjudicial punishment proceedings. We also represent clients in a variety of other actions including referral performance reports, letters of reprimand, counseling or admonishment, and administrative discharges.

It is often an uphill battle to save someone's career and GI Bill benefits when a military member comes to me who is being processed for administrative discharge due to misconduct. My administrative discharge clients are often shocked to find their GI Bill benefits are in jeopardy because they are being discharged with a general discharge.

I have some advice that will keep you from losing your GI Bill benefits. Be smart about alcohol and obey the law. Never drink and drive. Never use illegal drugs or banned substances such as Spice. Never use prescription medication that has not been prescribed to you or share your prescription medication. Disclose personally disqualifying information to your personal-reliability-program monitor before going on duty. It's not too hard to stay out of trouble or to obey the law, but it's very hard to get out of trouble once you are in it.

Lastly, remember this, if you are read your rights, you have the right to remain silent and see me, a free military defense lawyer. If you find yourself in need of advise or have any questions at all, do not hesitate to call my office at 773-3248 or walk in and see us at our new location in Building 292.