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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If I’m the child of a veteran, am i eligible for benefits? — Sean

A: Maybe, Sean. It really depends on which GI bill your parent qualified for.  If he or she came into the military in 1984 or later, it was the Montgomery GI Bill. Then no, you don’t have any educational benefits you can use.

If your parent was still on active duty on or after August 1, 2009 and qualified for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, then he/she could have transferred education GI Bill benefits to you.  I’m assuming he/she would have told you about the transferred benefits, if indeed benefits were transferred. You could have gotten a maximum of 36 months of education benefits.

You may be eligible for benefits under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Education Assistance Program (DEA) if you are the son or daughter of:

  • a veteran who died or is permanently disabled as the result of a service-connected disability;
  • a veteran who died from any cause while having a service-connected disability;
  • a service member missing in action or captured in line of duty by a hostile force;
  • a service member forcibly detained by a foreign government or power.

Under the DEA program, you could get a maximum of 45 months. With both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and DEA benefits, you have to use them up by age 26 or you lose what benefits are left.

If your parent is still alive, ask him or her about GI Bill benefits or ask a family member that would know.

Are you or a relative a current or former member of the military? Do you like writing about your experience with the military? Have you benefited from the financial or education benefits the military provides? If so, enter the ArmyStudyGuide Military Blogger Contest for a chance to win up to $1,000.

This contest is open to current and former members of all branches of the military–not just the Army–and their immediate families.

Competition Details

Using the entry form, submit a blog post that discusses how you and/or your family have benefited from a military program like the GI Bill, MyCAA, Tuition Assistance, college scholarships, home loans, or any other benefits program. Your entry can be a blog post you have already written or a brand new blog post created specifically for the contest. You don’t have to be a blogger and your entry does not have to be published to enter.

The submission deadline is April 18th, 2010. Three finalists from each of the three categories (Veterans, Active Duty, Military Families) will be selected for a run off.

Winner Selection and Prizes

  • The finalists will be announced on April 26th, 2010 and will compete in the run-off until May 10th, 2010.
  • Three category winners and one grand prize winner will be announced here on May 17th.

Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who will consider content, relevance to the topic, visitor ratings, and traffic generated by your entry. The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and each category winner will receive $250. Additionally, winning entries will be featured on our blog, and their authors may be considered for paid blogger positions on ArmyStudyGuide.com, GruntsMilitary.com, ArmyDomain.com, or another military Web site. Read the official rules before entering.

How to Submit Your Entry:

  1. Post your entry of at least 100 words on your blog or website (You may submit an entire post if you are unable to publish it anywhere else).
  2. Submit your post via the “Ask a Question” form here:


  1. Select “I am submitting a contest entry” from the dropdown list
  2. Enter your name, email, phone number (your phone number may be used if we are unable to contact you via email, your contact information will not be published or shared) and your address.
  3. Indicate the category you would like to enter under in the text box:
    • Active Duty (includes National Guard and Reserves)
    • Veterans
    • Military Families (spouses, parents, and children)
  4. If you are unable to post your entry on a blog or website copy it into the text box below your submission category.
  5. Subscribe to the ArmyStudyGuide blog RSS feed to see when your entry is published to the live site: /education/blog/feed/rss
  6. Once your entry is published on the ArmyStudyGuide blog, please share your post via your preferred social media networks in order to recruit star ratings and comments for your entry.

If you’ve got a story to tell about your military benefits, submit your entry, share your post, and check out your competition. Good luck!

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am about to run out of benefits and want to start a new semester. When I start I will only have 1 month left before my 3 years. I was wondering if the GI Bill will pay through the whole semester or will I have to pay the remainder. — Jody

A: Yes, the VA will pay for you to finish the semester.  I can’t tell if you are using the MGIB or the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but let me suggest something.

If you are using the MGIB, and you have three years of active duty service after September 10, 2001, you would qualify for up to an additional 12 months of benefits under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The way to do it is to exhaust your MGIB benefits first and then switch to the New GI Bill. The VA would subtract the amount of benefits they paid for you after you ran out of your MGIB from your additional 12 months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill and you could use the rest.

If you switch before exhausting your MGIB benefits, then you only get the same number of months you had left on your MGIB; it is called the Rule of 48.  If you qualify for two GI Bills, you can get up to a total of 48 months.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My son’s father died while on active duty last September 2009 (it was not a service connected death or in the line of duty). He served 22 years active duty service (with 1 tour in Desert Storm in 1991 and 2 tours in Iraq 2006 & 2008/09).  I want to know if my son is entitled to use his father’s MGIB? My son is 20 years old and currently enrolled in a community college. — Warnie

A: First Warnie, you and your son have our condolences for the loss of you husband. You can take comfort in knowing he served well.

As far as your son being able to use your husband’s MGIB, he can not. The MGIB does not have any transfer benefits to dependent children. If your husband would have switched to the Post 9/11 GI Bill in August 2009, he could have transferred his 36 months of benefits to your son, but many service members don’t know about the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer benefits.

If I may, I suggest your son look at applying for grants, scholarships and loans. The most common grant is the Pell. Scholarships run the gamut from various veterans’ service organizations, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, to schools themselves. Also, many states have their own scholarship programs for military dependent children.

Another source of money worth looking into is the Scholarships for Military Children. This program, administered by the Fisher House, is available to children of both active duty service members and veterans, as well as survivors of a service member. To be eligible for these dependent education benefits, you must have a valid military ID card and be attending or plan to attend college full time. You must also be pursuing an undergraduate degree.

The most common loan is the Stafford. Of course the nice thing about grants and scholarships is they don’t have to be repaid, where loans do.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Just wondering, do students on the New GI Bill, who are going to attend college online, go the tuition coverage of the state they live in or the state that the school is in? — Matthew

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill tuition paid is based on the maximum in-state public school maximum rate for the state where the school is located. As far as the tuition rate, it doesn’t make any difference if you are attending classes on-campus, online or both. If your school is online only, meaning they don’t physically have a campus, then the tuition rate is for the state where the school’s headquarters or main office is located.

What can make a difference though is if you have to pay out-state tuition.  In that case, the VA will only pay up to public school maximum for the school’s state and you will have to pay the difference, unless your online school is a Yellow Ribbon School.

If it is, then your school can pay up to half of the difference of the unpaid amount and the VA can pick up an equal amount.  If not, then you will have to pay the difference.

Also, keep in mind, you will not get a Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance if you take only online classes. The way around this is to take one on-campus class at school near you.  Just ensure the class is related to your degree plan.  You will get up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend regardless if you attend online or on-campus.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m getting married in June.  Is my wife eligible for my GI bill? — Chris

A: If you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill Chris, the short answer is as soon as you get her enrolled into DEERS. For education benefits, the Transferred Education Benefits (TEB) website uses information from the DEERS database to verify the spouse is eligible to receive benefits.

Now, here is the rest of the story. After three years of service, post September 10, 2001, you qualify at the 100% benefit level for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. However , you can’t transfer benefits to your new wife until you have served at least 6 years and agree to serve an additional 4 years.

Once, you qualify to transfer her benefits, she can begin using those benefits immediately, but she must use them up within 15 years from your date of separation from active duty.

If your new wife goes to school while you are still on active duty, then she will not receive a monthly housing allowance (because you are already drawing BAH).  If she is going to school once you are discharged, then she will get the monthly housing allowance. Regardless if you are still serving or not, she will get up to $1,000 per year for a book stipend and the VA will pay her tuition and fees directly to her school, up to the public school in-state maximum.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: How do I get my wife benefits for school? I’m on active duty, so what do I have to do to get her money for school- – Matthew

A: Matthew, I’ll give you a couple of options to get your wife some money for school. First, if you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you could transfer any  (or all) unused education benefits to her.  You need to have served at least six years on active duty and agree to serve an additional four years before you can make the transfer.

Another option is applying for a variety of scholarships.  Depending on your service branch, some of the more popular are:

  • the Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarship – Army;
  • the The Fisher House Foundation – Army;
  • the Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SSEAP) – Army;
  • the Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program (OSEAP) – Army;
  • the Anchor Scholarships program – Navy;
  • the General George S. Brown, Spouse Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) – Air Force.

The MyCAA was a good program also, but it is on an operational pause and they are not taking any new applicants. Keep watch on it though as I expect them to open it up again at some point in time.

Also, don’t overlook the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars; they each award scholarships annually.

You can Google any of these scholarship programs to get more information, such as how and when to apply.

Finally, don’t overlook your college as another good source of scholarship money. Many have their own educational benefit programs and generally award based on need and funds available.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: If a veteran of military service has the desire to return to school, but did not take advantage of GI Bill benefits while in service, what programs are out there for veterans to further their educations? — Orlando T.

A: If it has been awhile since you were in school Orlando, one good place to start looking for non-GI Bill Army education benefits is with the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program. Administered by the Department of Education and free for veterans with at least 181 days of service, VUB’s mission is helping veterans succeed with their education goals. Whether you want to get your GED or go to college, VUB helps you hone your subject skills so you can pursue your education goals. This program is designed for veterans who are first-generation college students or who can demonstrate financial need. VUB improves your skills in:

  • Math
  • Writing composition
  • Science labs
  • Reading
  • Literature
  • Computer basics
  • Study skills

It also helps veterans with application paperwork and career counseling including:

  • Assistance in filling out college applications
  • Assistance with applying for financial aid
  • Academic advice

Another great source of non-GI Bill Army education benefits are the Veterans’ Affairs Offices in the fifty states and three territories. Some states offer scholarships for their Vietnam veterans while others have reduced or free tuition for those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to other programs. Regardless of when or where you served, there is almost something for every veteran.

States want to help their veterans. You can show your appreciation by graciously accepting their benefits and improving your future.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I used my Montgomery GI Bill when I completed my years of honorable service. I have since exceeded my 10 years without exhausting the available funds. Is it possible to petition to be able to use the GI Bill? — Jim B.

A: You can apply for an extended Montgomery GI Bill delimiting date Jim, but only under one of three situations:

  • You went back on active duty for at least 90 days after your first discharge
  • You were debilitated by injuries or health problems preventing you from going to school
  • You were detained by a foreign government or power

If you went back on active duty, provide a copy of your active duty orders or updated DD214.

If you are claiming a health problem, send the VA the information below that prevented you from going to school:

  • The type of health problem
  • The exact beginning and ending dates of the health problem
  • The reason(s) you were unable to go to school
  • Any employment you had during your health problem
  • Your employers’ names and addresses, the beginning and ending dates and the weekly hours of each job
  • Doctor documentation, such as diagnosis, treatment, the duration, the exact beginning and ending dates
  • Hospital or laboratory test reports

If you were detained, send any paperwork you have documenting your detainment and release.

Once you have your documentation ready, send it to the VA Regional Office servicing your state or territory.

The VA rarely extends the deadline for using your military education benefits under the MGIB delimiting date, but they will do so for the three above conditions.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

I was wondering about the process of the Post-9/11 GI Bill monthly housing. It seems that I have not received anything in the past two months. I thought the housing allowance was monthly. I understand the school payment takes about 8-12 weeks after it is certified. — Curtis W.

Yes Curtis, the VA pays you a monthly housing allowance along with your book stipend. Both will be sent directly to you as a check or deposited into your bank account, depending on how you set up your payment with the VA.

Ever since the VA released the Post-9/11 GI Bill on August 1 last year, they have been swamped with claims waiting to be processed. Until recently, the average time to process a claim was 10-20 weeks (closer to the 20-week mark rather than 10-week). While they have made significant progress, they are still running at least 10 weeks behind, so I would give your claim some additional time–at least another couple of weeks.

As you probably know, the VA calculates your Post-9/11 GI Bill housing allowance at the E-5 with dependents rate using the zip code of your school. Because of the zip code, the rate varies considerably throughout the nation.

You didn’t say in your question whether you were taking classes online or on campus. If you are taking only online classes, or are less than a half-time student, you do not get a housing allowance.

For your book stipend, you receive $41.67 per credit hour up to a maximum of $1,000 per academic year which equates to 12 credits per term.