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How Long Do Military Benefits Last?


While the military offers its servicemembers many unmatched benefits, not all of them will last a lifetime. It’s important to understand both what your benefits are and how long you will be able to use them.

Below, you’ll find military benefits information, including time limits, on some of the military’s key offerings, to help you make the most of your time in service and prepare for what you’ll need to replace once you exit.

Military Education Benefits

Your GI Bill provides up to 36 months of training, education, and on-the-job training to eligible servicemembers, Veterans, and their families. This includes full in-state tuition and fees at public schools and partial tuition and fees for private or out-of-state schools.

  • Post 9/11 GI Bill: Expires 15 years from the date of your last discharge or release from active duty if you were discharged before Jan. 1, 2013. After that date, there is no expiration.
  • Montgomery GI Bill for Active Duty (MGIB): Expires 10 years from the date of your last charge or release from active duty.
  • Montgomery GI Bill for Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR): Expires 14 years from your date of eligibility for the program, or until you are released from the selected Reserve or National Guard. Some extensions are available.
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E): Usually expires 12 years after your separation from service or within 12 years of your being awarded service-connected VA disability compensation.

Military Health Care Benefits

  • TRICARE, the military’s health insurance program, may still be available after you retire from the service. However, you must enroll in the TRICARE retiree health plan within 90 days of your separation to maintain these benefits.
  • Veterans Health Care through the VA never expires.
  • Combat Veterans Health Care provides combat Veterans with free healthcare, related to any service in a war during any period of hostility after Nov. 11, 1998. This benefit expires 5 years after your release from active duty.

Dental Treatment

Veterans may receive a one-time dental treatment within 180 days of separation if they did not receive treatment within 90 days of their discharge or separation.

VA Pension and Compensation Benefits

  • Disability Compensation is for Veterans who incurred or aggravated disabilities while in military service. These Veterans can receive tax-free monthly compensation that does not have a time limit.
  • Disability Pension is for Veterans with honorable war-time service who are deemed totally disabled due to non-service-connected disabilities or who are age 65 or older. These benefits do not expire.

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is one of the best retirement programs around. Not only does the TSP let you contribute pre-taxed dollars towards your retirement, but the government will also match the first 3% of pay that you contribute dollar-for-dollar and the next 2% at 50 cents on the dollar. However, once you leave the military, you are no longer eligible to contribute to your TSP unless you are hired by the government in a role that also offers the TSP benefit.


VA Home Loan

The VA Home Loan Guarantee Program allows you the opportunity to use a VA mortgage to purchase a home. Because a VA mortgage is backed by the government, it allows servicemembers and Veterans to purchase a qualifying home with no down payment and low-interest rates. Depending on the mortgage lender, credit scores can also often be less than they would be for a regular mortgage. There is no expiration on VA home mortgage loan availability.

For assistance with the loan application and home buying process, contact AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS). AMS specializes in VA mortgages and their Military Mortgage Advisors can guide you through the process efficiently and effectively.

Military Life Insurance Benefits

  • Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) provides term life insurance up to $400,000 for servicemembers and reservists, plus up to $100,000 Traumatic Injury Protection in case of severe traumatic injury. SGLI expires 120 days after separation, but it can be extended up to 1 year for totally disabled Veterans. It is usually most advantageous for servicemembers to purchase supplemental coverage before they leave the service from a military-friendly issuer, like AAFMAA.
  • Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (FSGLI) provides $100,000 in coverage for spouses and $10,000 for children of servicemembers who are insured under SGLI. FSGLI expires 120 days after the sponsors’ separation. Can be converted to another commercial life insurance plan after separation/retirement.
  • Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a five-year term policy available to servicemembers who retire out of the SGLI program. While this term life policy is renewable, the rate increases every five years, which adds up quickly. If you do not renew every five years, you will permanently lose your benefit. Because of the high cost, most Veterans can secure better coverage for less from another life insurance plan, such as those offered by AAFMAA.

AAFMAA offers military servicemembers and Veterans the tools and resources you need to make informed decisions that set you up for future success. To learn more about our life insurance plans, VA mortgage loans, or wealth management options, contact AAFMAA online or call 888-862-5932 today!