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Can I Get Education Benefits from My Step Dad’s GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was wondering if I am able to get benefits from my step dad’s GI Bill?

A: While your question seems like it would have a simple answer, it does not; as a matter-of-fact, it can be quite complex to answer, because there could be so many different facets to it.

First, which GI Bill are you referring to? If your step dad had the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), then the answer is no because that GI Bill (either the Selected Reserves or Active Duty versions) never had a transfer of benefits option to it.

If you are referring to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then that could be a possibility as it does have a transfer of benefits. However, in order to make a transfer request, your step dad would have had to officially adopt you so that you would show up on his DEERS as one of his dependents. If he never formally adopted you, then you are not eligible to receive benefits.

And if he is not currently serving, he can’t make a benefits transfer request. The way the rules are written, he would have to meet three service requirements:
• Have served for at least six years of which three had to be after September 10, 2001.
• Currently serving at the time of the transfer request.
• Have at least four years left on his enlistment (unless he is retirement eligible or his current enlistment takes him to retirement). After August 1, 2013, he would have to extend for four years regardless of the number of years he has served.

So you can see there are a lot of moving parts to the answer of what seems like a simple question. But at least now, you know the requirements and how everything fits together. From this information, you would have to determine if you are eligible to receive Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits or not.

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