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Do We Need to Apply for Our Post 9/11 GI Bill COE’s Now or Wait Until We Enroll in School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband has transferred months of entitlement to our minor son (13) and me. We have the approval certificate printed from the milConnect TEB site. Do we need to apply for the COE now just to have for our records or wait until one of us enrolls in school? The main purpose is for our son, so it will be at least four years from now until he enrolls. Thank you.

A: For yourself, you can do it either way, however, I think it is better to wait until you at least know which school you will attend and your education focus. That way, what you are doing is clearer to the VA and there is less of a chance at something getting screwed up.

For your son to get his COE, he has to wait until one of two things happen:
• either he graduates from high school,
• or he turns age 18.

Being neither would most likely happen for another four years, he has to wait. As a dependent to get a COE, go to the eBenefits website and fill out VA Form 22-1990e. The VA Form 22-1990 is for the service member when s/he wants to use his/her GI Bill benefits to go to school.

But when you do apply, be sure to give yourself some lead time between the time you apply and when you would start school as it can take 8 to 10 weeks to get your COE. It most likely should take less time, but use that for a planning factor.

If you plan on using your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits while your husband is still serving, you would only get your tuition paid and the book stipend. However, regardless of your husband’s service status, when your son uses his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits he will get his tuition paid plus the housing allowance and book stipend.

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