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As a Spouse, Am I Authorized Education Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband recently returned from an extended deployment in Iraq. I’ve been told I qualify for education assistance. That the courses, books, etc. would be paid for and I could also receive extra funding for incidentals. Is this true? If so, how do I begin the procedure? Thanks!

A:  It could be true if your husband transfers some of his Post 9/11 GI Bill to you. Otherwise, I’m not aware of any special program for spouses of servicemembers having deployed to Iraq. If your husband is active duty, then you would have more educational opportunities available to you, but you would have had these whether he was deployed or not.

If your husband is a Reservist or National Guardsman (which from the way your question is worded I think he is), he can transfer up to 36 months of his Post 9/11 GI Bill education entitlement to you.

Once you are attending school, then the VA would pay the same percentage of your costs as they would if he was going to school. A typical one-year deployment would get him to the 60% tier, so the VA would pay 60% of your tuition and fees and you would get 60% of a housing allowance and book stipend. If his time on a Title 10 order for a contingency operation was less than 12 months, then he would be at the 50% tier.

If your husband is full-time active duty, then he would need six years of active duty and re-enlist for an additional four years before he could make a transfer request. Also, if you used your entitlement to go to school while he is on active duty, you would not get the housing allowance, however, you would if you waited to go to school until after he was discharged. You have 15 years from the date of the transfer approval to use your transferred benefits.

If you do get transferred benefits, go to the VONAPP website and submit VA Form 22-1990e. You will get back a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when enrolling in school under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

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