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Can I Use My Father’s GI Bill, If He Has Over 20 Years and Still Serving?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My father is actively in the Army right now and I would like to know if I am eligible to receive his benefits? He has been in the military for over 20 years.

A: It depends on two things:

  • which GI Bill we are talking about;
  • your legal dependent status with your father.

If you are talking about your father’s Montgomery GI Bill, then most likely you are not eligible to use his benefits as that GI Bill did not have a dependent transfer option. If you are talking about the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then yes you could be eligible.

I say could in that you have to be a legal dependent of your father. So if you are not biologically his, as in adopted or a step-child, then he would have to go through the legal process to formally make you one of his dependents and get you listed correctly in DEERS.

Assuming you are a legal dependent already, then he could transfer to you any or all of his unused Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlements. Just keep in mind he has to make the transfer request while he is still on active duty; after he is out, it is too late.

If he makes a transfer and it is approved, then you would have to submit VA form 22-1990e to get your Certificate of Eligibility that you need when you enroll in school.

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