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Can My Spouse From Sweden Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have just read the answer for the Post 9/11 GI Bill here. I served in the service from Mar 1999 to Feb 2007 but went immediately overseas to work. I have been married now since 2009 and my wife and I have 2 children. My spouse and 1 child biologically mine are both from Sweden. The other child was born in the states recently. I was wondering how do I know, if I can’t remember, if I have the Post 9/11 GI Bill or not and if my spouse can use the GI Bill to further her education if we choose to do so? Thank you.

A: You have served more than enough time to qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. To get to the 100% tier, all you needed was 36 months of Title 10 service since September 10, 2001. So you have 36 months of entitlement that you can use to further your education.

However, the bad news is you will not have an opportunity to pass any of your GI Bill to your spouse or children. The way Congress wrote the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you had to be serving “on or after August 1, 2009 before you could make (and get approved) a transfer request. Plus the other part was you had to agree to serve for an additional four years, so they used the transfer benefit part of the Post 9/11 GI Bill as a reenlistment incentive. Being you got out prior to August 1, 2009, you did not have an opportunity to exercise the transfer option.

But, if Congress does change the rules at some point in the future, you may qualify for a one-time transfer in which your spouse and biological child you qualify. You referenced a second child, but did not say if s/he was biologically yours or not. If not, but you have went though the legal system to formally adopt the second child, then s/he would also qualify as your legal dependent and would be eligible to receive Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlements also.

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