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Transitioning from military to civilian life
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In general, how much time at school will the GI Bill cover?


In most cases, 36 months, or about four school years, are covered under the GI Bill. Under the post-9/11 Bill, you have 15 years to use the benefit, and under the Montgomery Bill, you have 10 years.

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Generally speaking, if you receive the same income and benefits will you pay more or less in taxes as a civilian?


In a military job, you usually take home a higher percentage of your pay because more of your benefits are non-taxable. Be sure you know what to expect when you accept your first civilian job after your discharge.

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Key Takeaways

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  • Try to put aside a transition fund as you approach the end of your duty to help cover any employment gap you might encounter
  • Remember that generally more of a civilian paycheck is taxable as compared to a military check, so your take-home pay could be less than you expect
  • Military health insurance usually ends the day you separate, so be sure you understand your health insurance options and what they’ll cost
  • If you plan to go to school post-service, be sure to read up on what education benefits like the GI Bill will provide—benefits vary depending on when you served, how long you served, and other factors
  • Try to do your homework on civilian retirement plans, and understand how they differ from military plans.