This website is not affiliated with the U.S. government or military.

Is It Possible to Use My Father’s GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, my name is Jalyn and my father is a veteran. I don’t think he has ever used his benefits, nor has any of my siblings, so would it be possible for me to use them? I will graduate from high school on 5/23/13 and I plan on attending Alabama A&M University in the fall, but the tuition is a little too much for my mom so can I have his benefits? I’ll be anticipating your response, thank you in advance.

A: Jaylan, I would love for you to have your father’s GI Bill benefits if it was up to me, but it isn’t and here is why.

First, it depends on which GI Bill your father has. If he has the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), he would not have been able to transfer benefits to you because it never had a transfer-to-dependents option to it. The only thing he could really do with it is use it himself.

If he has the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it does have a transfer option where he could have given it to your mom, and/or you and your siblings. The reason he now can’t transfer those benefits to you or anyone else is when Congress wrote the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, they put in that the servicemember had to be serving “on or after August 1, 2009″, or in other words still serving at the time the transfer request was made. Once retired, it was too late.

But don’t let that daunt your college aspirations. If you want to go to school bad enough, you will find a way to do it. My recommendation is to start by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and see what you can get in student financial aid. It may surprise you. Also your college may give out its own scholarships. Apply for everything you can.

Comments  (4)

jayln, i’m a navy vet looking for info here for my husband who was army and really have nothing to do with this except i wanted to offer some words of encouragement to you. if it truly is your desire to attend college there will be many ways to pay for it. all schools have state and federal benefits (some grants that don’t have to be repaid) available to those who apply early enough or first until funds run out. my son attended texas tech university in lubbock texas and some of the years he qualified for some of these benefits but some years was not early enough in applying to receive them. also, there’s always a way to fund your education through working while going to school. i know that doesn’t sound very appealing but you know, i’m so proud of my son because he worked very hard at odd jobs during school and came home to work during the summer months at higher paying jobs. he managed to get through four years at tech and then two more years to earn his masters without any student loans…i think that’s quite a “job well done”. not just because he’s my son but because he chose to go for his dream, worked hard to achieve it and paid for it without incurring any student loan debt. yes, we (his father and I) did help most of the time as well when he could not afford to handle the entire semester cost on his own so it was a joint effort. i guess what i’m trying to say is that if you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way. i would encourage you however to try your best to stay away from student loans that will begin having to be repaid as soon as you are out of school, job or not. it can be quite daunting to get out of school and be 50,000-100,000 dollars in debt right off the bat. my son brett is living proof that it can be done. he even worked as a referee at flag football games on campus at night earning 12.00 per game…that was at least 12.00 that he didn’t otherwise have! go for it, don’t give up on your dreams, you’ll find a way and God will show you the path to see your dreams become reality and four years from now you’ll be coming back here to comment that you made it! GO GET IT, DON’T LET ANYTHING STAND IN YOUR WAY! the best of luck to you, shelley

posted by shelley
4:21 am on April 22, 2013

If my father does not have anything to do with me, but i know that he retired, would i be able to recieve benefits?

posted by Brock
4:26 pm on April 28, 2013

I’m sorry, you would not. Your father still controls his GI bill benefits, so he has to be the one to transfer them to you. Nobody can make him do it if he doesn’t want to.

posted by Ron Kness
8:47 am on May 1, 2013

Well said Shelley. If a person wants it bad enough s/he will find a way. Be sure to think outside the box and be inventive in how you generate money to pay for college. An as you said Shelley, every little bit helps. The $12.00 your son earned being a referee, was $12.00 less he had to come up with. The effect is cumulative if you work the system.

posted by Ron Kness
9:25 am on May 1, 2013
Post a New Comment

Displayed next to your comment (required)

Will not be published (required)