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Are We Still Eligible for Any GI Bill Education Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband was in the Marines and the Army. He married while in the Army and later divorced. He has been out since 1990 and has never used his benefits. We have been married for 6yrs. Am I eligible to go to school through VA? He also wants to go back to school. Can we both go at the same time? Any information about the marriage change, schooling, housing or what might we be able to get help with through VA would be great.

A: Actually the marriage change, schooling or housing won’t affect anything as his GI Bill benefits have expired, so there is nothing to use.  If your husband got out in 1990, he most likely had the Montgomery GI Bill. That GI Bill had a 10-year delimiting date meaning he had 10-years from his date of discharge to use his benefits or lose them. You didn’t lose anything though as the MGIB did not have a benefits option transfer. Being he did not use them, they expired in Y2K. I know that wasn’t what you wanted to hear, but those are the facts.

Servicemembers meeting the transfer requirements of the Post 9/11 GI Bill can transfer entitlements to a spouse and the spouse can go to school. As long as the veteran has benefits left, both can go to school at the same time.  Under the New GI Bill, the VA would pay your school for your tuition and fees and you would get a housing allowance and book stipend. If you were both going to school, you would both get these benefits as long as each of you had benefits left to use.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a great GI Bill; unfortunately it came out 11-years too late for your husband to take advantage of it.

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