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Is It True My Grandson Can Get Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits from His Stepfather That Did Not Adopt Him?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My grandson says that his mother’s husband, who is not his father, an active duty Navy officer with approximately 18 years of service can transfer his GI Bill benefits to him, even though he is not his legal father, nor has he adopted him. He is planning to go to a very expensive private school, and I don’t want him to be left high and dry with great expectations of great financial help via this route.

A: Your grandson got some bad information from somewhere. In order for his stepfather to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to him, he has to be a legal dependent of his stepfather as listed in DEERS. So if his step-father did not go through the legal process to formally adopt him, which it sounds like he did not, then he could not make a transfer of benefits to him – even if he wanted too.

However, if he does end up formally adopting him, he could go to the milConnect website and follow the Transfer of Benefits instructions. Keep in mind he has to commit to serving an additional four years from the time the transfer is approved.

Once the transfer is approved, his step-son then has to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e to get his Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Upon enrolling in school, he has to hand in a copy of his COE so his school knows he is a GI Bill student. The paperwork they have to submit is what gets the payment process both to them and your grandson started.

Another thing to watch is your grandson could only receive Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits up to age 23 and he would have to use them up by age 26, so time could be of the essence as far as getting the adoption process started.

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