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Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I transferred my Post 9/11 GI Bill to my daughter who resides in Hawaii. She is now 18yrs old and plans to attend Leeward Community College (LCC). However, LCC is requiring her to pay an out-of-state tuition because I claim Pennsylvania instead of Hawaii as my home of residence. My daughter has lived in Hawaii with her mother for the past five years and graduated there. Is this right that LCC is charging her an out-of-state tuition?

A: No it is not – something is hosed up in the paperwork. When she filled out her VA Form 22-1990e to get her Certificate of Eligibility, she should have entered in her Hawaiian address information in the address block. If she needs to show proof, a copy of her driver’s license should suffice.

I’m wondering if she didn’t fill out VA Form 22-1990 which is for the veteran if s/he want to use their GI Bill and not the VA Form 22-1990e which is for a transfer recipient to use transferred benefits.

Anyways, have her review the paperwork she submitted and she should enlist the help her school’s VA Certifying Official who can help her get it straightened out.

I’m assuming LCC is a public school in which all of her tuition would be paid once she documents herself as a resident. If by chance LCC is a private school, the Post 9/11 GI Bill would pay up to $17,500 per year which should more than pay tuition at a Community College.
The VA will pay back up to one year, so once she gets her residency straighten out, she should request reimbursement from the VA to get back what she paid in out-state tuition.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband was in the Navy for 14 years. He got out in 2008. He says that in order to get education benefits he had to buy into it when he first joined, but he doesn’t remember doing it. I thought that all active duty personnel were eligible for education benefits. Is he really not eligible for any benefits because he didn’t pay money his first year in? And is there any way to check if he elected to pay or not (he has a horrible memory)? Thanks.

A: At the time your husband joined, that was the case. He had the choice while in Basic Training to either opt out of the Montgomery GI Bill or accept it and pay the $1,200 contribution through automatic deductions ($100 per month for the first 12 months).

While he was on active duty, you are right, he was eligible for education benefits through Tuition Assistance, but not after he got out . . . hence the need for the GI Bill post-service education.

But, that all changed in 2009 when the Post 9/11 GI Bill was added to the GI Bill family. Now your husband also has the Post 9/11 GI Bill (if he indeed has the MGIB too). So, if he wants to go to school, he has 36 months of entitlement that he can use.

When using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA will pay his tuition and fees directly to his school. Monthly, he will get a housing allowance based on the zip code of his school and the number of credits he is taking. At the beginning of each semester, he will get a book stipend paid at the rate of $41.67 per credit. If he chooses to go to a vocational-technical school, then he will get $83 per month in a book stipend, being vo-techs are usually not on a credit-type education system.

So except for one thing, it really won’t make a difference whether he has the MGIB or not. But if he does have it, then he will get his $1,200 MGIB contribution back once he exhausts his 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. It will come as part of his last housing allowance payment. I can’t look it up either as we are not affiliated with the VA.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am confused about whether or not the new GI Bill covers remedial classes. I have called both my school and the VA several times and there is no clear response. I scored low on my math placement test and need to take remedial math classes in order to advance in my degree. Since they are now required classes, I thought they were covered under the GI Bill. Can you please clear this up for me?

A: Remedial classes are covered under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. For example, if you need to get your math placement test scores higher to ultimately get your degree. I know the GI Bill does cover pre-requisite and remedial classes – classes you need to pass before you can be accepted into a specific degree program.

One thing I know the VA will not pay for is if you pass a course with a low grade and you want to take that course again to improve your grade and ultimately your GPA. If you pass, they will not pay for you to take it again, however if you fail, they will.

I don’t know who you have talked with at your school, but if you have not talked directly with your school’s VA Certifying Official, I highly recommend it. That is your direct link to the VA and if s/he doesn’t know the answer to your question, most likely they have a contact at the VA that can answer it.

If that doesn’t work, then contact the VA Regional Office servicing your state. Usually they are more responsive than going through the Main VA Office.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I transferred my Post 9/11 GI Bill to my son before I retired (May 2010). He has now been accepted into an IL college. Now what do I do to line up the VA/GI Bill to pay his tuition? What is our next step once he accepts? Thanks.

A: The next step is for your son to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e so that he can get his Post 9/11 GI Bill Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Then once he decides on a school, he will need to give his school a copy of his COE to the school when he registers. That document, along with the Certificate of Enrollment his school will submit, is the trigger to get the payment process started.

Just be aware that it can sometimes take awhile for the first payment to be deposited (or to receive the first check, depending on how he set-up the payment part on his VA Form 22-1990e). Ensures he has enough funds to carry him through the first semester once he starts school.

His school will get a deposit directly from the VA to pay for his tuition and fees. Your son will get a deposit towards the beginning of each the semester for his book stipend. Sometime after the book stipend, he will get a second deposit that will be his housing allowance. He will get this deposit around the same time each month that he is in school. Just so you know, he will not get paid the housing allowance between semesters as interval (or break) pay was eliminated with the passage of the GI Bill 2.0.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello…I’m former military now out of the service and I’m in the process of using my G.I. Bill and I would like to know how much if any money I’m going to get for my dependents? I have one dependent which is my daughter. Thank-you!

A: It depends on which GI Bill you plan to use. Under the Montgomery GI Bill, you get a flat fixed amount per month and that is all you get, regardless of how many dependents you have. Out of that amount, you have to pay all your education expenses, including tuition, fees, books, etc. Right now, that amount is $1,473 for a full-time student having at least three years of service.

For that same three years of service (after September 10, 2001), the Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay you a housing allowance based on the zip code of your school and how many credits you are taking. It is paid at the E-5-with-dependents rate, regardless of how many (or if any) dependents you have. But, with the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the VA also pays your tuition and fees directly to your school at the resident rate if you go to a public school, or up to $17,500 per year, if you attend a private school. Either way, you also get a book stipend paid at $41.67 per credit up to the $1,000 per year cap.

So while you get paid for dependents under the New GI Bill, the amount you get is not driven by how many you have, so you would not get any more for having one daughter than you would if you didn’t have any children or a house full.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband is still on active duty but, will be retiring in June 2012. Can he transfer his GI Bill to our son? We were previously told he must have 3 yrs of retainability at the time of transfer. Has this changed so that he can transfer it as long as he is still on active duty? Thank you for your time and assistance!

A: The way the rules read, there are two service requirements that must be met to get a Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer of benefits request approved. First, he must have served for at least 6 years on active duty of which three years has to be after September 10, 2001. Second, he must agree to stay in for another four years, unless he is within four years of being “retirement eligible”. Because your husband is within a year from retirement, he would not have to extend for any additional time.

But because he is so close to retirement, he needs to make a benefits transfer request now to ensure it is approved before he gets out. To submit a request, he has to go to the TEB website and enter into his son’s record how many months he wished to transfer to him.

Once approved, and it can take 8 to 10 weeks for approval and he will have to keep going back to the website to see when it is approved, your son must go to the eBenefits website and request his Certificate of Eligibility by submitting VA Form 22-1990e. He will need this certificate when enrolling in school as a Post 9/11 GI Bill student.

I can’t emphasize enough that he must request the transfer now while he is still in – once he is out, it will be too late!.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good Day. I wanted to know about the new 9/11 GI Bill. I used my Montgomery GI Bill to get my Bachelor degree a few years back. I wanted to know if I qualify to use the New 9/11 GI Bill. I served until June of 2010 and I was active for more than 90 days. As far as I can tell, I meet the qualifications but my issue is that I used the old one in full. I am confused because since I used my full MGIB do I get another with the 911? I am looking into getting a Masters and this will really help out. Thank you for your time and your assistance.

A: To qualify for the minimum benefit of 40% of New GI Bill, you have to have served for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order after September 10, 2001; three years of Title 10 service will get you to the 100% tier. So based on the information in your question, you should qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but not in its entirety. Under the VA’s Rule of 48, if you qualify for two or more GI Bills, you can only get 48 total combined number of months of entitlement. So being you used up 36 of those months by using your Montgomery GI Bill, then you will only get 12 additional months under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

When you use those 12 months, they will be paid at whatever percentage you qualify for. If you have at least 90 days, but less than 6 months, you will be at the 40% mark, meaning the VA would pay up to 40% of your tuition and eligible fees directly to your school. If you go to school full-time, they would pay 40% of your housing allowance. But because your housing allowance is partially calculated according to the number of credits you take, if you are less than full-time, then you would get less.

For example if you are taking 7 credits and your school uses 12 as their full-time mark, the VA would pay 40% of 60% (you would get 40% of the 7/12ths (58%) of the full housing allowance – the VA rounds up or down to the nearest tenth, so they would round up to 60%). Forty percent of 60% is not much. You would also get up to $400 per year in a book stipend (40% of up to $1,000).

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am retired Army National Guard with 20 years. Retired OCT 2010. Served in Iraq 2005-2007. Am I to understand that I cannot transfer my GI Bill to my daughter because I simply retired before these rules went into effect?

A: What you understand is not entirely correct. What the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules say is you have to “be serving on or after August 1, 2009” before you can get a transfer request approved. There are two more requirements I’ll address later. So the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules went into effect a full year and three months before you retired.

The other requirements are:
• you have to have served for at least six years in the Armed Forces of the United States of which at least three years has to be after September 10, 2001, (which you did).
• agree to serve an additional four years (unless you are within four years of retiring – then the additional time is reduced). In your case, you were retirement eligible, so no additional time would have been required.
• Selected Reservists have to serve for at least 90 days on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, such as Iraq or Afghanistan (which you did).

So it looks like the only reason you were not able to transfer GI Bill benefits to your daughter is you (and possibly your unit) were not aware of the transfer requirements. In the beginning, there was much confusion as to what the rules actually were and that may have been the issue in your case. Unfortunately, it is too late to do anything about it now.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I enlisted in the Army in September of 2008 for 4 years with the SLRP. I understand that I would qualify for 60% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. I would like to go back to school in August of 2012 when my terminal leave begins. Can I apply for benefits before my September ETS date to ensure payment for the fall semester? Also my degree is in Political Science and I am enrolling for a second bachelors in Chemical Engineering. Will the GI Bill cover that?

A: You are correct that you will get 60% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Your first three years did not count toward GI Bill eligibility, due to the three-year obligation you incurred when you opted for SLRP.

As far as when is the best time to apply so you can get paid in the fall semester of 2012, anytime from now up through the end of the spring semester would be fine. It can take up to 10 weeks to get your Certificate of Eligibility (CoE), so that would give you the summer to get it. You will need that certificate when you enroll in school as a GI Bill student. To request your CoE, submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website.

The whole key to getting paid on time lies with how prompt your school submits their paperwork to the VA. Once you register, they have to send in (with your CoE) a Certificate of Enrollment. The VA has to process the paperwork first, before they can process payment – so the later your school submits their paperwork, the longer it takes to get your first check.

Make friends immediately with your school VA Certifying Official. Every school has at least one and that person can be a big help in avoiding issues with using your Post 9/11 GI Bill. Because you did not use your GI Bill to get your first degree, the VA will pay GI Bill benefits to get your second degree.

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My father transferred me his GI Bill benefits so that way I can go to school. I am still living at home and the GI Bill is transferred over to my name. If I move out on my own and have a roommate does that disqualify me for getting the benefits I am receiving now because I am no longer living at home with my parents?

A: There is nothing in the VA rules that say you have to live at home to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Whether you are at home or living with a roommate away from home, is immaterial in the eyes of the VA. And of course if you move out, it will not have an effect on your housing allowance as that is calculated based on the zip code of your school and the number of credits you are taking.

However, before you pack up, talk to your parents and here is why. If you alienate your father, he could revoke your GI Bill benefits. Now while that would be really petty of him to do that, I have heard of stranger things happening for a lot less.

Explain how you are responsible and that it is time to strike out on your own. Explain that your roommate is there to share the expenses, friendship and safety (instead of you being alone). But if you have a history as being a “party girl”, then they may have some reservations about letting you go out on your own. So who you are and what you do can play a big part in getting them to go along with your intent.

The other thing to keep in mind is it will be more expensive living on your own than living at home. Generally, parents charge less (if anything at all, if there kids are still living at home) than what you will pay even if you have a roommate sharing expenses. Then there is the security deposit, first month’s rent, laying in a supply of food, furnishings, possible increased transportation costs, etc.

Depending on how responsible you are, you may find there are more opportunities to distract you from your studies and your grades may drop. And yes, I’m being the devil’s advocate to a certain extent, but these are all considerations you should work out before taking the leap to being out on your own (even with a roommate).