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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 18811
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I Joined the Army National Guard initially with a three year

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I Joined the Army National Guard initially with a three year contract and then re-enlisted with a six year contract and completed a year long deployment overseas and received 50% of the GI bill which I have not yet used. I now have over four years left on my contract but I will be leaving the United States permanently within this year for work in Asia and will never return to the U.S. ever again. What would be the best way to get discharged with it having the least affect on my record and possibly any way I could keep my GI Bill or other benefits? I have heard that if you fail your PT test by being overweight you could get a medical discharge and keep your benefits. Is it difficult to get a medical discharge? Would suffering from clinical depression be a way to get a medical discharge? What would happen if I just left the country and never returned and never informed my chain of command?
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I look forward to assisting you today. I bring nearly 20 years of experience in various legal disciplines, including JAG.

You don't get a medical discharge from failing PT tests. You get a medical discharge when your doctor notes certain limitations in your medical records and then recommends separation based on your inability to meet standards. It's not hard to get a medical discharge if your doctor actually pushes for it and your commander is inclined to grant it.

If you just fail PT tests, your discharge would be for PT test failing, a performance discharge. It would likely be General rather than Honorable, so you'd lose your GI Bill benefits. This is also easy to get, because you just have to fail to meet the standard. Getting an honorable in this situation would be very hard.

If you just left the country, never to return, you'd wouldn't be pursued in any way. They'd likely just give you an Other than Honorable discharge which would stop you from getting any benefits. It wouldn't be considered a criminal act, so it wouldn't effect your travel. Now, technically they could list you as AWOL, not discharge you and purt a warrant out for your arrest. This was flag you for any attempt to reenter the U.S.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is it difficult to get a medical discharge for a mental illness such as depression or is it fairly difficult? If one were trying to get out of the National Guard would failing the PT test be the best way?

It's not difficult to obtain, if the command is willing to grant it.

That's the issue. A doctor can't force a commander to do anything. A doctor can discuss with you the issue of depression and then, based on those discussions, make a recommendation to the commander. The commander can act on that recommendation or ignore it.

Failing PT tests is the safest way, because it doesn't subject you to any malingering charges (if they feel you are pretending on the medical front). It takes some time though, because they give you so many chances to correct your deficiency.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok. thanks. If I failed every PT test for a year would that most likely be enough time to get kicked out?

Yes, that would be enough. You typically only need to fail two or three in a row to be discharged.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do you know if they usually make you repay whatever Federal or state tuition assistance or GI bill payments that you had receive once you are discharged for failing the PT test?

They don't make you repay GI bill payments.

They do make you pay any state tuition assistance if you failed to meet the time frame of required service following the payout on those.

I had to pay back tuition assistance from the National Guard myself, even though I ETS'd and wasn't discharged. No one explained to me that I had to renlist to extend my service time beyond a certain time period to retain the tuition assistance.
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