Rudisill v. McDonough, No. 20-1637 (Fed. Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Rudisill served three periods of active duty military service: 2000-2002 in the Army (30 months); 2004-2005 in the Army National Guard (18 months); and 2007-2011 as a commissioned Army officer (45 months). He received 25 months and 14 days of education benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), 38 U.S.C. 3011(a), for completion of his college degree. After his third period of Army service, he applied for education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, 38 U.S.C. 3311, for a graduate program. The VA determined that he was entitled to the Post-9/11 benefits, but only for the remaining 10 months and 16 days of the 36 months authorized for Montgomery benefits. The Board of Veterans’ Appeals agreed.
The Veterans Court reversed. A veteran is entitled to education benefits for each of his periods of separately qualifying service and is entitled to the aggregate cap of 48 months of benefits. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The legislation explicitly provides additional benefits to veterans with multiple periods of qualifying service, whereby each period of service qualifies for education benefits: “The aggregate period for which any person may receive assistance under two or more of the provisions of law listed below may not exceed 48 months,” 38 U.S.C. 3695(a). This provision has been in each GI Bill since at least 1968.