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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Policy Change Boosts GI Bill Eligibility for Some

A recent Defense Department policy change widens the eligibility window for some Guardsmen and Reservists who want to use their Montgomery G.I. Bill education benefits, a senior DoD official said Tuesday.

The DoD policy now aligns with Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rules, which say Guardsmen and Reservists are eligible to receive Montgomery G.I. Bill education benefits for the period covering the amount of time they served on active duty, plus four months, said Tom Bush, with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

The previous policy, he said, only recognized the amount of active-duty time as applied to the G.I. Bill coverage period for reserve-component members but still required the member to continue serving in the Guard or Reserve. The change means the benefit can be used by those who leave the Guard or Reserve for the amount of time that they served on active duty, plus four months.

The total amount of G.I. Bill coverage for Guardsmen and Reservists is still 36 months, Mr. Bush said. So, if you've used part of the benefit, it may eat into that 36 months, he said.

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