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Now That I Have Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits, Can I Get Back-Pay for the Fall Semester?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, My husband has been in the Army for 12 years. Last Fall I attended a University and was denied his GI benefits because he did not have 4 years remaining on his contract. I ended up having to take out loans out because I was relying on the GI Bill. Now, in my last few months of my Spring Semester, he is re-enlisting to fulfill his 20 years in service which will allow me to use the benefits. Question is, can I back track the GI Bill to cover my Fall Semester? I am told this semester will be covered because it is still in session but I am unsure about Fall. The school is confused too. Thanks!

A: While the VA can go back up to one year and pay back benefits, you had to have the benefits during the period of time you are claiming, meaning you did not have any transferred benefits yet to use back in the Fall semester. Therefore you could not claim back pay for that period of time.

And I wouldn’t bet all of this semester will be covered either … here again, to claim benefits going back to the beginning of the semester, you would be trying to claim benefits for a period of time when you did not yet have entitlement from his Post 9/11 GI Bill.

However, you could send in a claim for the period of time from when your entitlement was approved up to the end of the semester.

Also know that because he is still serving, you would not get the housing allowance due to the fact that your husband is drawing BAH on you already. To get the housing allowance would be double-dipping which is against the law.

You would get your tuition paid up to the resident level at a public school or up to $19,198.31 per year at a private school and get the book stipend once per semester (up to the $1,000 per year cap). Depending where you are stationed, some states give military spouses the resident rate whether you are a resident of that state or not. It wouldn’t hurt to ask.

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