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Can My Wife Get the Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance If I’m Still Serving?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am planning on transferring my Post 9/11 GI Bill to my wife, but I am still on active duty. Will she receive the housing allowance if I am still serving or should I retire first? I guess my question is, who is entitled to the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance?

A: If you are still serving when she starts using her transferred benefits, then no she will not get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance, however, she would still get her tuition paid up to the resident rate and receive the book stipend.

And you need to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement to her while you are still serving; once retired and it is too late. She has 15 years from your date of discharge to use her transferred benefits. Before making a transfer request, be sure you have served at least six years on Title 10 orders (active duty), are still serving and have at least four years left to serve (or agree to serve) at the time you make your request.

Whether she uses her transferred benefits while you are still serving or not depends on how quick she wants to get her degree. Because the housing allowance averages $1,200 per month across the United States, it is worthy to put some thought in how to use her benefits.

If you have a lot of years yet to serve, she might be better off forgoing the housing allowance and using her benefits now rather than later. If you have four years or so left and don’t plan on staying in, then she may be able to wait until you are out, so that she can maximize the entitlement you gave to her.

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