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My Daughter’s Ex-Husband Revoked Her Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferred Benefits- What Can She Do?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My daughter was given her ex-spouses Post 9/11 GI Bill educational benefits as part of their divorce decree. She was attending school and her ex-husband revoked her funding and now she has received a bill from the US Treasury for $9,000, PLUS $3,000 in interest. She is unable to pay this amount back; what can she do? She was in school and has recently had a new baby. Please could you give me some advice?

A: In the case of a military couple getting divorced, the court can either allow the spouse to receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance and book stipend for the duration of the number of months of entitlement that he had transferred to her, or the military member can continue to draw BAH and pay the spouse alimony. It sounds like her lawyer went with or agreed to the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance route.

And that would have provided her money and paid for her tuition for the number of months he had transferred to her. Unfortunately, the court cannot mandate that he leave her those remaining months of entitlement and therein lies the problem: he revoked the months of Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement that he had given to her.

As a military member, it is his right to control his entitlement (even after retiring) and therefore he can at any time revoke and reallocate or just revoke and use the entitlement himself (or revoke it and not do anything with it). So while the court mandated her to get the housing allowance and book stipend, they can’t mandate that he doesn’t take back the entitlement leaving her with nothing.

I can understand the $9,000 bill, but not the $3,000 in interest unless she has let this go on for a long time. I’m assuming she has already contacted her lawyer and he could do nothing for her. So, the best thing for her to do now is to get in contact with the VA Debt Collection Center and find out her options. She can set-up a monthly payment plan to start paying it back a little at a time or pay it back in one lump sum (which doesn’t sound like a viable option).

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