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What Are My Real Entitlements If I Use the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

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.

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