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As a Blended Family, Can My Children Use My Current Husband’s Post 9/11 GI BIll Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband retired from the Air Force in 1997 after 20 years; we’re a blended family. I have 3 children with my first husband and he has 3 children with his first wife, and we have one daughter together. We’ve been married 15 years, can my children use his GI Bill to help pay for college? If so, who do I contact? My daughter is going to school in Alabama and we live in Ohio. My other daughter is going to school in Ohio can she use his GI Bill to help pay for school.

A: To answer your first question, no your children can’t use your husband’s GI Bill. Why? Because back in 1997 when he got out of the military, he would have had the Montgomery GI Bill. That particular GI Bill did not (and still does not) have a transfer-to-dependents benefit option.

The only GI Bill having this option is the Post 9/11 GI Bill which he does not meet the requirements (serving on a Title 10 order for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001).

If your husband would have been eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, having served for at least 6 years or more after September 10, 2001, be currently serving and had at least four years left on his enlistment at the time of his transfer request, then he could have made a transfer of entitlement to your daughters if they were listed in DEERS as his dependents, meaning he would have had to legally adopt them first.

The other thing to know would have been how the Post 9/11 GI Bill pays tuition; it only pays up to the resident rate, meaning your daughter going to school in Ohio would have had her tuition at a public school paid in full, or up to $19,198.31 per year if she attended a private school.

Your other daughter going to school in Alabama would have had a tuition difference between what her school charged and what her GI Bill would have paid. If her school was a Yellow Ribbon School, then most, if not all, of the difference would have been paid.

But since your husband does not qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, let alone the transfer option, this is just useless information for you, but maybe someone else can get some value out of it.

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