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If My Future Wife Uses Chapter 35 GI Bill Benefits, Would It Affect My Children’s Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m a 100% permanent and totally service-connected disabled veteran. I am using my Montgomery GI Bill currently. If I use up my GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill, meaning 48 months of benefits, will the VA Rule of 48 cause my dependents and future wife to not have VA Chapter 35 benefits? If not, then, if my wife uses 48 months of Chapter 35 benefits will my children then lose eligibility to Chapter 35 benefits due to the VA Rule of 48?

A: No it will not (with a caveat). I’m assuming your future wife did not use Chapter 35 benefits before marrying you. If so, she most likely would not be eligible again. If she is currently using Chapter 35 benefits at the time she marries you, her benefits will expire on the day of her marriage (unless she is 57 or older. Then her benefits would continue).

As far as your dependents, each would be eligible at age 18, or when they graduate from high school if younger than 18, and their unused benefits will expire on their 23rd birthdays.

Because you referenced 48 months, just know that the maximum number of months of entitlement under Chapter 35 is 44 months. If your dependent children or spouse were eligible for an additional GI Bill, then they could pick up the additional 4 months to total out to 48 months.

For your future spouse and dependent children to apply for Chapter 35 benefits, each of them have to submit VA Form 22-5490. In return, each will get a Certificate of Eligibility showing how many months of entitlement, under which GI Bill and the delimitation date when the benefits for each will expire.

The current Chapter 35 benefits is paying $987 per month and the student is responsible to pay his/her own tuition, books and other education-related expenses. Also, if your future wife would be eligible for Chapter 35 benefits, don’t forget to add her onto your DEERS account.

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