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Will I Get the Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance Once We Are Divorced?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am prior service and my GI Bill Post 9/11 is almost used up. My spouse who is active duty wants to give me his GI Bill, also Post 9/11, however we will be divorcing soon (he wants to still pass me the bill). How do we go about doing this? Also I saw on one post because it is transferred GI Bill I won’t receive housing or a book payments unless he was no longer active duty. Will that change seeing that we will be divorced?

A: He can still pass you his Post 9/11 GI Bill, but the transfer process must be complete before the divorce proceedings begin just to keep everything straight. It can take 8 to 10 weeks to get a transfer request approved, so he should start the process now.

He needs to go to the TEB website and enter into your record the number of months he wishes to give transfer to you. He can transfer any unused amount. If he has never used any of his Post 9/11 GI Bill, then he should have 36 months he could give you. Periodically, he will have to go back to the TEB website to see when the request status changes from “Pending Review” to “Approved”.

Once that happens, you must go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990e to get your Certificate of Eligibility which you will need when registering for school.

As far as housing and book stipend, the VA will need a copy of your final divorce decree and that should start your housing allowance. Under a recent change, you would get the book stipend anyway even if you were not divorced and he was still on active duty.

Comments  (3)

Not true. A former spouse will not receive the BAH Housing allowance if former spouse is still active duty. The only stipend received would be the book stipend.

posted by jodie
5:01 pm on March 27, 2013

It can be true. It all depends on if the spouse is still receiving BAH from her husband or not. If she is, then she is not entitled to the monthly housing allowance as that would be double-dipping. However, if all financial ties have been severed, then she should be treated just like any other student using Post 9/11 GI Bill transferred benefits.

If you think about it, if all ties have been severed, why would the former spouse be “punished” just because the ex is still in the military. Whether s/he is or not should not affect the former spouse’s ability to get the full Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit.

posted by Ron Kness
9:52 am on March 29, 2013

I disagree with you and here is why. This is an excerpt from the website of a divorce attorney in Tampa, FL “If the service member transfers the benefit, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will provide tuition assistance for the recipient spouse, and subject to certain exceptions, it may also include a housing allowance, book stipend, and other benefits.

The monthly housing allowance is equivalent to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents, based on the ZIP code of the school where the student is physically enrolled (in Tampa, this is $1,662 per month). You can check the BAH rate for any school using the Department of Defense BAH Calculator.

The housing allowance is not available if the service member continues to receive the Basic Allowance for Housing. Notably, if the Post 9/11 GI Bill is transferred to a child, the child could receive the housing allowance and book stipend, even if the parent service member is still on active duty and receiving the Basic Allowance for Housing. The apparent rationale is that a couple – even if they are no longer married – only qualifies for one housing allowance.”

I think the key is The housing allowance is not available if the service member continues to receive the Basic Allowance for Housing. But what if the servicemember does agree to not receive BAH as part of the divorce decree? Then there would not be a reason for the spouse to not receive the housing allowance.

With the VA’s answer to you, I think they are making an assumption the servicemember is continuing to receive BAH. In that case, their answer would be true. But as pointed out, there could be other instances where their answer would not be true.

posted by Ron Kness
1:31 pm on February 16, 2014
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