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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I transferred my GI Bill benefits to my daughter. She got 33 months of benefits at 60 %, that was after I transferred my Montgomery GI Bill benefits into Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. I’ve been in the Guard for 30 years and did an 11-month deployment to Bosnia. Now I’m deployed to Kuwait for 1 year. Can I transfer these benefits to my son? He is only 23. Can I transfer them to my daughter or do they automatically go to my daughter? How much will my benefits increase? Some people say I’ll get another year added on. Is that correct? Please advise on my benefits, amount of benefits and all available options. Thank you.

A: O.K., you have a lot of questions here. Let’s take them one at a time. First, yes you can transfer benefits from your daughter to your son. It is called revoking (from your daughter) and re-allocating (to your son). Just so you know, your son has to use up his benefits by age 26, so it would be prudent to only transfer around two years of entitlement over to him.

Under the GI Bill rules, if you transfer existing benefit from the Montgomery GI Bill over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you do not get the additional year of benefits, however if you would have used up all of your MGIB benefits first and then transferred over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, then you would have received the additional 1 year of benefits.

But, it is a Catch-22 because you had to convert to the New GI Bill to give your daughter the maximum entitlement, but you don’t get the additional amount by doing so.

Finally, your additional deployment won’t get you any additional months of entitlement; it will however, most likely increase your tier percentage. Send an updated copy of your DD-214 when you get back to claim your increased tier level percentage.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am utterly confused about the 2 GI Bills and their use. I have been in since Jan 94, and am retiring Jan 2014. Like all of us back then I made my contributions into the old Montgomery GI Bill, and now qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. From what I am reading here I have to choose one or the other to use, however, when I went to the ED Center at the post I am stationed at the counselor told me I can use one, then the other and wouldn’t lose either. I guess this brings me to my two questions for clarification: 1) If I do decide to use the shiny new GI Bill, do I just lose out on the $1,200 dollars that were put into the Montgomery Bill? 2) Do I have to choose one or the other? Or can I use the Montgomery to get my undergrad courses out the way then use my Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement for the grad courses? Thanks for whatever help you can give me in advance, I am just hopelessly confused with all of this.

A: Great questions and I can clear up your confusion. Let’s start by answering your $1,200 Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) contribution question. If you bring all 36 months of MGIB benefits over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you get your $1,200 contribution back once you have finished using your 36 months of eligibility. Your MGIB contribution comes as part of your last housing allowance payment.

If you bring over less than 36 months, then your $1,200 contribution is prorated based on the number of MGIB months you brought across to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. For example, if you had 24 months of your original 36 months left, then you would get back 24/36ths of your $1,200 contribution or about $800.

Because you are eligible for both GI Bills, you can use either one or both. If you decide to stay with your MGIB, once you have used up all 36 months of entitlement, you could switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of benefits. Under the Rule of 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, the maximum combined benefit cannot exceed 48 months.

However, if you decide to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill with months of MGIB entitlement left, then all you would get under the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the same number of months you had left under the MGIB and not the additional 12 months of benefits.

So to answer your last question, yes you can use your MGIB to get your undergrad degree and 12 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill to work toward your grad degree. Sweet huh!

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, my name is Jalyn and my father is a veteran. I don’t think he has ever used his benefits, nor has any of my siblings, so would it be possible for me to use them? I will graduate from high school on 5/23/13 and I plan on attending Alabama A&M University in the fall, but the tuition is a little too much for my mom so can I have his benefits? I’ll be anticipating your response, thank you in advance.

A: Jaylan, I would love for you to have your father’s GI Bill benefits if it was up to me, but it isn’t and here is why.

First, it depends on which GI Bill your father has. If he has the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), he would not have been able to transfer benefits to you because it never had a transfer-to-dependents option to it. The only thing he could really do with it is use it himself.

If he has the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it does have a transfer option where he could have given it to your mom, and/or you and your siblings. The reason he now can’t transfer those benefits to you or anyone else is when Congress wrote the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, they put in that the servicemember had to be serving “on or after August 1, 2009″, or in other words still serving at the time the transfer request was made. Once retired, it was too late.

But don’t let that daunt your college aspirations. If you want to go to school bad enough, you will find a way to do it. My recommendation is to start by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and see what you can get in student financial aid. It may surprise you. Also your college may give out its own scholarships. Apply for everything you can.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I have been in the Indiana Army national Guard for 14 years with no breaks in service. Two re-enlistments. Numerous title 10 deployments adding up to 4 years and 2 months of active duty all resulting in “Honorable” DD214’s. I have never been in any trouble. I have now sustained an injury on my civilian job that prevents me from doing my military job (Infantry) and they are offering me a general under honorable discharge. I don’t want to reclass and I have 1 year and 5 months left on my 2nd reenlistment. I’m not able to take any part of a PT test due to my injury and since it is not service connected then they can discharge me. I am currently using my Post 9/11 GIBILL and have already received my “100% eligible” certificate of eligibility from the VA. Would accepting that discharge mean losing my VA education benefits since I have already have my certificate and several of those honorable deployment DD214’s? Thank you for your help.

A: Having retired from the National Guard as a Division Command Sergeant Major, I find it hard to believe your unit would give you a General Under Honorable Conditions discharge for something that was not your fault. I get the sense that something else is going on here that is not in your question.

If you have went through the proper steps, you should be on at least a temporary profile that exempts you from taking parts of the PT test or even the whole thing, so your unit could not discharge you for not taking the PT test for as long as that profile is valid.

As far as the reclassification, I’m not sure by your question if that is something your unit has offered you or just you thinking ahead. But if your unit has offered you a reclass, they are wrong. How can they possibly know if you would be able to do the job of your reclass or not until they know the final outcome of your injury? Every job in the military has certain physical profiles that must be met and if you are not healed yet, they would not know if you can meet those physical profiles of your reclassified job or not.

I’ve been through a lot of these same cases and there are some things not adding up. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and answer your question. No you would not lose your Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility if you were to get discharged now with a General Under Honorable Conditions as you have at least one full enlistment under your belt that has ended with an Honorable Discharge.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently paid into the MGIB for the $1,200 when I initially joined. I have not taken any courses to date. I would like to waive the MGIB and use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I plan on transferring the new benefits to my spouse upon completion of the transfer. What paperwork do I need to waive the MGIB. What paperwork do I need to ensure I am eligible for the Post 9/11. What paperwork do I need to transfer the Post 9/11 to my spouse. Who do I turn this paperwork into and how do I check on the status.

A: First let’s go over the three service requirements that you have to meet to qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer option. Number one is you have to have served for at least six years. Number two is you have to be currently serving at the time of your transfer request. Number three is you have to have at least four years left on your enlistment when you submit your transfer of benefits request.

Providing you meet these three requirements, go to the milConnect website and follow the directions under the Transfer of Benefits section. Keep checking back at the TEB website to see if your request status has changed to “Transfer Approved”. Once that happens, your wife has to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e to get her Certificate of Eligibility. She would need that when enrolling in school as a GI Bill student.

Because switching from the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and then transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your wife all happens electronically, you don’t need to physically send in any paperwork to complete any of these actions. The only hard copy paperwork really involved is when your wife receives her Certificate of Eligibility and prints it out.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi Ron. I appreciate your site and all the help you give us vets. Here’s my situation: I want to attend an online school that already has a very liberal transfer credit program. It is based in NJ and the BAH is around $1600. The problem is that it’s all online. Now I’ve been looking at schools overseas (OH is way too boring for me after seeing the world in the Army all these years!) that are VA approved. I would take one or two in-seat classes there. If I have the overseas school and the online school in NJ agree to let me study at both, does that mean I get the $1,600+/- for the NJ BAH or do I get the standard $1,368 for the international school? My online courses are 12 weeks and I’m assuming my in-seat classes will be the usual 16 weeks.

A: As you may or may not know, if you take only online classes, your Post 9/11 GI Bill monthly housing allowance would max out at $674.50 if you were carrying a full-time credit load. Now add in just one classroom class that applies to your degree plan per semester and you are now on the regular monthly housing allowance that is calculated based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking.

But since you are planning on taking your classroom classes overseas, your monthly housing allowance would be calculated based on the foreign school rate, which as you noted is $1,368 per month.

The other thing you have to know is the difference in length of your courses – 12 weeks for online verses 16 weeks for classroom. Once your online classes stop, then your credits would drop and if you fall to 51% or lower of the number of credits your primary school consider to be full-time, you won’t get any monthly housing allowance at all for those last four weeks of the semester.

You noticed I said your primary school. When you are taking classes at two different schools, the school that would be issuing your degree is called your primary school. Your other school is your secondary school. When using a full-time credit figure, you have to use what your primary school uses for their figure.

Also, just so you know, the classes you would plan to take at your secondary school, the one overseas – has to be approved first by your primary school. Your primary school would send a letter to your secondary informing them of the classes you would take. Once finished with those classes, your secondary school sends your primary school a credit transcript and those credits are applied to your degree plan.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am deploying soon and was wondering if I can use my Selected Reserve GI Bill and my Post 9/11 GI Bill together once I get back from the tour?

A: And the answer is “Yes” and “No”. Under the Rule of 48, if you are eligible for two or more GI Bills, the maximum combined months of entitlement is capped at 48. So with that in mind, you have a couple of ways to use your GI Bills.

One, you could transfer your remaining unused Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) entitlement over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Or two, you could use up all of your MGIB-SR entitlement first, switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and get an additional 12 months of entitlement bringing up your total to 48 months. However, if you bring over your unused MGIB-SR entitlement to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you don’t get the additional 12 months, so it is an either/or situation.

So with either option, yes you can use your GI Bills together. However, if you meant that you wanted to draw a monthly benefit from both of them at the same time, then no. Under the GI Bills rules, if you bring entitlement over from another GI Bill, you then lose your ability to further use that GI Bill. So if you bring over your MGIB-SR entitlement, you exhaust that GI Bill and you have nothing left to use.

However, there is a considerable difference in what each GI Bill pays, and even if you are at the 60% Post 9/11 GI Bill tier, it still pays far more than the MGIB-SR.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am an Army vet who is currently using the Montgomery GI Bill. I was told by the Ft. Hood Reps that if I changed over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill that I would only be entitled to the money that was sent to the school that I am attending. I would not be allowed to have the housing money because I am married to a soldier. I do not understand how this could be. Can someone please tell me what my actual entitlements are if I used the post 9/11 GI Bill. The people that I talked to on post just confused me more than I already was. Thank you.

A: O.K., here is what you would get. First off, the Ft. Hood Reps were confusing you with a civilian that would be using transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits from the servicemember sponsor. Under that situation, they would be right. Because your spouse would have been drawing BAH for you, you would only get your tuition paid directly to your school (and due to a change in 2011, the book stipend.) The book stipend calculates out at $41.67 per credit per semester (up to the $1,000 per year cap) for degree-producing courses or $83 per month if you are taking a non-degree producing course.

But since you are a veteran yourself and have your own GI Bill(s), you are treated as if you were not married to a currently serving servicemember. So your tuition would be paid directly to your school, you get the book stipend as mentioned above, and you would get the monthly housing allowance.

The later is based on the zip code of your school, the number of credits you are taking, and paid at the Pay Grade of an E-5 with dependents. So the right answer is you are treated independently of your servicemember spouse. This whole dependent/non-dependent, veteran/non-veteran, married-to-another-servicemember thing confuses a lot of people.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband and I submitted the transfer benefits request mid-January, I have received my confirmation letter, and my school has submitted my tuition and info to the VA GI Bill office nearest us about 2 weeks ago. I started school on April 1st though and knew they would only pay us from the date that we submitted the transfer request, but I was wondering how long after my school submits the info should I be expecting payments, and since I already started and have student loans established to pay my tuition, then where would the money go that my school receives on my behalf. Do they send one lump sum to the school or is it in small payments. My school is a VA approved certification school that I will be attending for about 16 months and totals nearly $18,000 with tuition and supplies. We are eligible for 60% tuition (my husband has served 12 months overseas) and he is an E5 for BAH! Just wanting an idea of how it might pan out and when to expect some info on $ amounts and date ranges of when to expect anything. Thanks!

A: Actually, you will only get paid starting from April 1st as that is when you started school. As far as when you will receive your first Post 9/11 GI Bill payment, it can take up to 8 weeks, so you most likely won’t see any money until the first part of June. After that you should get a monthly payment right after the beginning of each successive month in that semester. Then the process starts all over again.

You had asked about your school getting paid from the VA; they will get a lump sum EFT’d into their account for your tuition. Being you already paid your tuition, one of two things can happen.

One, after your school gets paid by the VA they would credit 60% of your tuition back to you, or two the VA would only pay you a monthly housing allowance and book stipend and not tuition to your school. I’m hoping for the first one, but it depends on how your school submitted the Certificate of Enrollment to the VA on your behalf.

Some schools require students to pay tuition upfront and then credit it back once they receive payment from the VA. If they are familiar with working with GI Bills, they probably did it right, but if not, they might have submitted it wrong.

However, I would ask how they do it as it can have a severe effect on how much you get from your GI Bill entitlement. The entitlement you use will be the same, however, under the first scenario, you get more money from each month of entitlement you use.

As far as how much you will get. Let’s start with the school. They should get paid 60% of your tuition and eligible fees. The remainder 40% would be your responsibility. Each month you should get $83 in book stipend money (because you are in a non-degree program).

I can’t tell you what you would get in monthly housing allowance because it is driven by the zip code of your school, however, the nation average right now is $1,300 for a full-time student. If you are in the Midwest, most likely you would get a little less. If on either the East or West coast, you should get more than the average.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m a 100% permanent and totally service-connected disabled veteran. I am using my Montgomery GI Bill currently. If I use up my GI Bill and Post 9/11 GI Bill, meaning 48 months of benefits, will the VA Rule of 48 cause my dependents and future wife to not have VA Chapter 35 benefits? If not, then, if my wife uses 48 months of Chapter 35 benefits will my children then lose eligibility to Chapter 35 benefits due to the VA Rule of 48?

A: No it will not (with a caveat). I’m assuming your future wife did not use Chapter 35 benefits before marrying you. If so, she most likely would not be eligible again. If she is currently using Chapter 35 benefits at the time she marries you, her benefits will expire on the day of her marriage (unless she is 57 or older. Then her benefits would continue).

As far as your dependents, each would be eligible at age 18, or when they graduate from high school if younger than 18, and their unused benefits will expire on their 23rd birthdays.

Because you referenced 48 months, just know that the maximum number of months of entitlement under Chapter 35 is 44 months. If your dependent children or spouse were eligible for an additional GI Bill, then they could pick up the additional 4 months to total out to 48 months.

For your future spouse and dependent children to apply for Chapter 35 benefits, each of them have to submit VA Form 22-5490. In return, each will get a Certificate of Eligibility showing how many months of entitlement, under which GI Bill and the delimitation date when the benefits for each will expire.

The current Chapter 35 benefits is paying $987 per month and the student is responsible to pay his/her own tuition, books and other education-related expenses. Also, if your future wife would be eligible for Chapter 35 benefits, don’t forget to add her onto your DEERS account.