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Can My Son Use My Deceased Husband’s MGIB Benefits for School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son’s father died while on active duty last September 2009 (it was not a service connected death or in the line of duty). He served 22 years active duty service (with 1 tour in Desert Storm in 1991 and 2 tours in Iraq 2006 & 2008/09).  I want to know if my son is entitled to use his father’s MGIB? My son is 20 years old and currently enrolled in a community college. — Warnie

A: First Warnie, you and your son have our condolences for the loss of you husband. You can take comfort in knowing he served well.

As far as your son being able to use your husband’s MGIB, he can not. The MGIB does not have any transfer benefits to dependent children. If your husband would have switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill in August 2009, he could have transferred his 36 months of benefits to your son, but many service members don’t know about the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer benefits.

If I may, I suggest your son look at applying for grants, scholarships and loans. The most common grant is the Pell. Scholarships run the gamut from various veterans’ service organizations, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, to schools themselves. Also, many states have their own scholarship programs for military dependent children.

Another source of money worth looking into is the Scholarships for Military Children. This program, administered by the Fisher House, is available to children of both active duty service members and veterans, as well as survivors of a service member. To be eligible for these dependent education benefits, you must have a valid military ID card and be attending or plan to attend college full time. You must also be pursuing an undergraduate degree.

The most common loan is the Stafford. Of course the nice thing about grants and scholarships is they don’t have to be repaid, where loans do.

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