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Can My Son Get the Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance If I’m Still On Active Duty?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Thanks for your insight on the Post 9/11 GI Bill. My question is this: I am active-duty and will continue to be active-duty while my teenage son enters a 4-year university out-of-state in California. Will he be eligible to receive the BAH stipend while attending school and I am still on active-duty?

A: No he would not get the BAH stipend as you know it, but he would get the Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA). Being you are still on active duty, your BAH is paid twice a month – on the 1st and the 15th. Also the amount you get is tied to your pay grade and where you live.

The MHA is calculated based on the zip code of the school, the number of credits taken and paid once per month while going to school at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents. Whether or not the person using the benefits has dependents or not does not enter into it.

Dependent children fall under a separate set of rules than spouses.

As you probably know, if your spouse went to school under your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, she would not get the MHA – only the book stipend and get her tuition and eligible fees paid. What is ironic about dependents using the Post 9/11 GI Bill is your son could live at home, not pay rent and still get the full MHA amount he was authorized to receive.

As a non-resident though, he may get charged out-state tuition if his state of residency does not have a reciprocity agreement with California. So in that case, he would have to pay the difference between the resident and non-resident tuition rate.

One thing for him to keep in mind is if his school has a Yellow Ribbon agreement with the VA, most if not all of that difference could be paid between his university and the VA. If his school is not a Yellow Ribbon school, then he would have to pay all of the difference.

It is something worth looking into as it can make a huge difference in the amount he would have to pay.

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