What Happens to Your GI Bill When You Are Mobilized?

FacebookTwitterPinterestEmailShare
Members of the Illinois Air National Guard assemble medical equipment.
Members of the Illinois Air National Guard assemble medical equipment at the McCormick Place Convention Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago, Ill., March 30, 2020. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Jay Grabiec)

If you are receiving the GI Bill and have to drop out of school as a result of reserve or Guard mobilization orders what will happen to your GI Bill? Will you lose your housing allowance? Will you owe the Department Veterans Affairs money?

Most of the rules governing orders and your GI Bill only apply for federal mobilizations. That means these special rules apply to all Title 10 mobilizations and Title 32 mobilizations only if they are under federal authority.

Different Rules For Mobilizations

Normally, if you drop classes the VA will take back any money, including the tuition and Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) payments you received for those classes. However, different rules apply if you’re dropping them because you’ve been mobilized for military service.

If you drop out due to mobilization, the VA will pay your tuition and fees to the school for the entire term, no matter when you drop out. As a special bonus, VA will also give you back any GI Bill entitlement you used during the term from which you were forced to withdraw.

For instance, if your term began on Jan. 15 and you dropped out on March 15, you used two months of GI Bill entitlement (which is normally 36 months total). VA will pay you for attending school those two months and give you back those two months of entitlement to be used at a later date.

VA will also pay you the MHA through your date of withdrawal, rather than stopping it on the beginning date of the term, which is what normally happens if you drop classes. If you’ve been mobilized under Title 10 or under Title 32 for at least 30 days, your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) will begin on the effective date of your orders, so you will most likely get some type of housing allowance for the entire time.

Effect of Mobilization on Future GI Bill Payments

Being called to active duty may also increase your Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement percentage. The entitlement percentage is based on the amount of time you have served on active duty after Sept. 10, 2001. The entitlement percentage affects how much of your tuition is reimbursed to the school and how much your MHA payment will be.

For example, if you have served 24 months active duty after Sept. 10, 2001 your GI Bill percentage is 80%. If you are attending a public school with a tuition of $10,000 a semester you would have 80% of your tuition and fees or $8,000 paid by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Active duty orders and mobilizations can add more active service to your base GI Bill percentage. The percentages and corresponding active duty requirements are:

  • 100% - 36 or more total months
  • 100% - 30 or more consecutive days with disability related discharge.
  • 90% - 30 total months
  • 80% - 24 total months
  • 70% - 18 total months
  • 60% - 6 total months
  • 50% - 90 or more days

The entire length of your mobilization will be added to your existing service.

Also, if you haven't been on active service since before Jan. 1, 2013, your mobilization may give you more time to use your GI Bill.

People who were discharged before that date have 15 years to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill or 10 years to use their Montgomery GI Bill. However, additional active duty of at least 90 days effectively removes that time limit, and your additional active duty will effectively remove any time limits for receiving your GI Bill. Thanks to that new service, you are now covered under Public Law 115-48, the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, commonly known as the "Forever GI Bill."

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, Military.com can help. Subscribe to Military.com to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article