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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am retiring in 2 months and am interested in transferring part of my Montgomery GI Bill to my daughter who is 9 years old. 1. Can I transfer part of the GI BILL to her? 2. Once a portion of the GI BILL has been transferred to her, when does she have to use it by? I think I read 26 years old. 3. Can my daughter transfer the GI BILL to someone else? 4. I may convert the GI BILL to the Post 9/11 GI BILL and then transfer part of it to my daughter. But that depends on the answer to question # 3 above. Thank you so much for your help.

A: You would not be able to transfer your Montgomery GI Bill to her as it does not have any transfer option to it. However, you can switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and transfer up to 36 months to her.

To make a transfer request, just go to the milConnect website and follow the Transfer of Benefits Section. When you make a TEB request, you are automatically switching from the MGIB to the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

You will have to do it soon though because the transfer has to be complete before you get out. Actually you should have started many months ago as it can take up to 10 weeks to get a transfer approved.

Once your daughter is ready to go onto post-secondary education, she can go to the eBenefits website and fill out VA Form 22-1990e to get her Certificate of Eligibility (COE). At least that is the process right now. By the time she is college-eligible, the process may have changed somewhat, but there will still be a similar process.

Once she gets her COE, she will have to give a copy to her school so they know she is a Post 9/11 GI Bill student using transferred benefits. And she has up to her 26th birthday to use her benefits. After that, they expire, unless you take back what is left before she turns 26.

You daughter would not have any transfer privileges herself – they remain with you. At any time, you can revoke unused benefits and either keep them for yourself or allocate them to an eligible recipient, meaning a dependent family member that has had or currently has Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am curious to understand flight training benefits. I just finished my private rotorcraft license last spring. Now I need to find out how to benefit from this bill. Could you send me the most up to date helicopter training benefits and options? I seem to find lots of conflicting info on the net. I would certainly appreciate it. Phil

A: Hi Phil. Actually the VA’s flight training policy is quite straightforward. If you are using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA will pay up to $10,970.46 per year on flight training certification courses. As far as entitlement use, your remaining benefit would be reduced based on the length of the course.

However if you choose to take a four-year aviation course, then the VA treats it as they do any other four-year course. If attending a public school, they will pay up to 100% of the resident tuition. If attending a private school, they will pay up to $19,198.31 per year. Plus regardless whether you take certification courses or the four-year degree route, you also get the housing allowance and book stipend.

If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill instead, then you use up one month of entitlement for each $1,648 the VA pays toward your flight training, meaning you could use up a month of entitlement sooner than attending one month of school. For other types of training, normally the MGIB pays $1,648 per month, so you use up one month of entitlement for each month of school.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband is in the FLNG and transferred his Chapter 33 benefits to me. I have enrolled at our local community college, I have received my certificate of eligibility and have taken it to my VA official. The due date for my tuition is in a few days and I was wondering if for some reason I have to pay for my tuition could I be reimbursed.

A: The best bet is to see if the school will wait until they get paid from the VA. Many times if they know you are a Post 9/11 GI Bill student, they will waive the due date, because they know they will get paid from the VA.

Other schools will require you to pay the tuition up front and then credit it back to you once they have been paid by the VA.

There is a caution about paying up front. Depending on how your school records your payment, the VA could end up paying nothing. Many people don’t know that the VA is the last payee and if your school records your tuition payment incorrectly, it will show there is nothing left to pay.

The good news is that you can go back to the VA up to a year and request reimbursement, however, the best scenario is if your school waits for its payment from the VA.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband has the MGIB and wants to transfer the benefits to me. He’s AD with 26 years served. Can he transfer this to me and will it affect his retirement benefits at all?

A: Unfortunately, the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) does not have a transfer-of-benefits option. However, if your husband is still serving and agrees to extending for 4 more years, he can switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill - a GI Bill that does have the transfer-of-benefits option.

Your husband appears to meet two of the three service requirements right now – having served for at least six years and currently serving. He just has to make the future service commitment and he can make the request.

Should he choose to do so, he can go to the milConnect website and follow the Transfer of Benefits Section. Once his request is approved, you have to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e to get your Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when enrolling in school.

If he doesn’t want to extend, or can’t due to him hitting his Retention Control Point during that period, or he is no longer serving, then he can’t make a transfer request and then the best thing for him to do would be to use his GI Bill benefits himself.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired from the Reserve in 2004; my son graduated from high school in 2011. I applied for the Post 9/11 GI Bill in hopes of transferring it over to him. (I did serve 12 months in Iraq in 03). I was told that since I am a retiree, I do not qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Today, I received a letter from the VA asking me if I want to relinquish my REAP Chapter 1607 to receive the Post 9/11. Nobody will answer the phone at the VA when I call. Can someone please help me understand what this means!

A:What you were told about not qualifying for the Post 9/11 GI Bill was not entirely true. With your 12-month tour in 2003, you have 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill at the 60% tier.

The part you do not qualify for is the transfer of benefits option. To make a transfer, you have to be still serving at the time you make your request. You are in a Catch-22 in that when you retired in 2004, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was not even a valid GI Bill yet, but because the date of eligibility goes back to September 10, 2001, you have some coverage under it, just never an opportunity to transfer it.

Because your New GI Bill eligibility goes back prior to when that GI Bill came on-board on August 1, 2009, you have pre-Post 9/11 GI Bill coverage under the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP). It is a GI Bill made especially for Selected Reserve personnel that deployed prior to August 1, 2009.

In your case, the VA is asking if you want to convert from REAP to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In most cases it is a good thing to do, but you’ll have to work the numbers both ways.

Under REAP, you would get a monthly amount of $988.80 if you had at least 365 days of eligible service. If you are even one day under, than you would get $629.50. Out of that, you have to pay your own tuition, fees and books. However under the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA pays up to 60% of your tuition directly to your school and you get that same percentage of the housing allowance and book stipend.

Because you are at the 60% tier, and if your school is located in a low-cost zip code, REAP may be a better deal for you. As far as the book stipend, you would get $41.67 per credit per semester up to your $600.00 per year cap (60% of the $1,000 cap).

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My dad retired from the Army 6 years ago, but never used his GI Bill. Would it be possible for him to transfer his benefits to me for school? Also my mother is in the Reserves and she also has the GI Bill. Would it be possible for me to use hers also or either or?

A: Retiring six years ago, it is possible your dad has two GI Bills – the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The MGIB never had a transfer of benefits option to it so he could not transfer it to you.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill on the other hand does have a transfer of benefits option, but the servicemember has to make the transfer request before s/he gets out. With your dad retiring 6 years ago (in 2008), he retired before the Post 9/11 GI Bill came into existence in August 2009, so he never had a chance to make a transfer request. About the only thing he can do now with his GI Bill now is use it himself.

Your mom could have the Post 9/11 GI Bill too depending on if she deployed on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, such as for Iraq or Afghanistan. A one-year deployment would put her at the 60% tier – the same percentage you would inherit if she makes a transfer request to you.

If she does have the Post 9/11 GI Bill, she can transfer part or all of it to you by going to the milConnect website and following the Transfer of Benefits Section. Once approved, you’ll have to submit VA Form 22-1990e from the eBenefits website to get your Certificate of Enrollment that you will need when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student.

Your mom might also have the Reserve GI Bill, but that does not have a transfer option either.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m currently an active duty soldier. I ETS in October of next year, and I plan on moving back to Georgia and use my GI Bill. I’m having trouble finding how much Georgia gives you for BAH and for school.

A: If you are talking about using your federal GI Bill, such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA determines how much you would get and not the state of Georgia. If you plan on attending a public school, then the VA would pay up to 100% of your resident tuition (providing you have at least three years of service). If you choose to attend a private school, then they would pay up to $19,198.31 per year. Tuition payments are made directly to your school.

As far as the housing allowance, it is determined by the zip code of your school and the number of credits you take. For example, if you went to a school full-time in Atlanta’s zip code of 30302 (Georgia State University), you would get $1,326 per month.

You would also get the book stipend once per semester. It calculates at $41.67 per credit up to the $1,000 per year maximum.

I’m not finding much as far as the State of Georgia funding post-secondary education, except for On-The-Job training and apprenticeships. As an active duty veteran, you could get up to $15,480 in tax-free benefits if you complete a 24-month OJT or apprenticeship program. From what I can tell, they don’t have anything for degree-producing programs.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello! My husband is very kindly signing some of his GI Bill over to me so I can complete my schooling. We are unable to attend one of the classes they give on site to explain the GI Bill transfer so we have been searching on line for our answers and are still confused. My classes cost $630 per class ($210 per credit hour) and I take 2 classes a term and am enrolled in 2 terms for the semester(accelerated 8-terms) My husband’s home state is Tennessee but we are stationed in MT. Will the GI bill cover all of my classes? Also, we want enough left over so that when he gets out he can take a Veterinary Tech class. We think 12 months will cover that? So he plans to give me 24 months. Also, are there any BIG picture things we don’t know about? Basically we have learned everything on the internet so are fluent in conjecture and speculation! Thank you very much for helping me, you guys ROCK!

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill pays up to the resident rate if you go to public school or up to $19,198.31 per year if you attend a private school.

So the question is are you paying the resident or non-resident tuition rate? Many states allow service members and their families to pay resident tuition rates while stationed in their state; Montana happens to be one of them.

This statement appears on their Board of Regents’ Resident Policy Summary: “Members of the armed forces stationed in Montana on regular active duty, their spouse, and dependent children will be classified as residents during the tour of duty.”

Also, there is federal legislation on the floor right now that would mandate states charge resident tuition for service members regardless of their residency status in that state.

Since your husband is still serving, you would not get the Post 9/11 GI Bill Monthly Housing Allowance because he is drawing BAH on you already, however, you would get the book stipend once per semester(up to the $1,000 per year cap).

As far as big things on the horizon for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, I don’t see anything right now besides the resident tuition legislation for all servicemembers and their families.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello Mr. Kness, thank you for all of your great advice. I hope you can help with my particular problem. I have tried unsuccessfully since July 2009 to transfer my GI Bill benefit to my dependents. I had my retirement orders in hand prior to 1AUG09 so I was exempt from the requirement to serve additional years in order to transfer the benefit. My problem stems from the fact that in July 2009, no one at West Point’s personnel center knew the process for transferring the benefit. I asked folks from Post Reenlistment, the VA-rep, and the Ed Center. Same answer from them all…”The process is still being worked out.” Don’t worry, you meet all of the requirements for transfer.” Bottom line, my retirement date came and went without finding any person who could spell out the process. Now that the process is well established, I am retired and am told that I’m SOL because I should have transferred the benefit while on active duty (despite the fact that I was unable to find someone who knew how to process the transfer). I cannot believe that I am the only service member with this issue. It should be a simple matter for the Army and/or VA to allow me to transfer the benefit since I met all of their requirements for transfer when the program came online on 1AUG09. Thanks again for your help. Rob.

A: Hi Rob. No you are not the only one having this problem. You have thousands in your company. If you had retired prior to August 1st, then you would have truly been SOL (and there are thousands more in this group also).

But being you were still on active duty on August 1st, there is a process in place where you can submit a form to the Army Discharge Review Board and if approved, you would be allowed to make a transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. The process starts with DD Form 149. Usually to be successful, the individual making the request must convince the Board that s/he truly did not know they had to make a transfer of benefits before they got out.

In your case, you would have to convince them that you wanted to make a transfer request, but couldn’t find anyone that could explain or help you with the process.

Keep in mind that it takes a while to get an approved or disapproved reading, but the way you explained it here, you might have a good chance at getting a request approved. No guarantees, but at least it is an option to try.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently active duty in the Public Health Service. I want to enroll in an online post-graduate program and remain active. Everything I read says to not use the Bill while active, but I don’t think the PHS has tuition assistance. What would be the best way to approach maximizing my benefits? Also, I am not clear on the 36-month allotment. Hypothetically, does this mean I can go to school half-time for 8 years, even if there is a 2-year gap in there somewhere? Thanks for the help!

A: I don’t know that using your Post 9/11 GI Bill while on active duty is a “bad” thing; it is just that you would not maximize your GI Bill benefits by doing so. The difference is the Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA).

Active duty members drawing BAH are not authorized to also get the MHA. Being you are taking classes online, this amounts to $714.50 per month that you would not receive. If you were taking classes on campus, you would be losing over twice that amount.

But on the other hand, the VA would pay your tuition directly to your school and you would get the book stipend. If you are at the 100% tier, meaning you have three or more years of eligible time, then your tuition would be paid in full at the resident rate at a public school or up to $19,198.31 per year at a private school. The book stipend calculates out at $41.67 per credit with a $1,000 yearly maximum.

If your primary goal is to get your post-graduate degree before you get out of public service, then this is a great way to do it. If your goal is to make as much as you can from your Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you would be better off working on your advanced degree after getting out of public service.

As far as entitlement use, you use one day of entitlement for each day in school. So yes you could go to school half-time for up to 8 years. and you can start and stop your Post 9/11 GI Bill use at will up to 15-years after your discharge from the PHS.