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With a 5-Year Break in Service, Can I Still Transfer My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to My Wife?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I was active duty enlisted from 1990 to 1998. I had the Montgomery GI Bill and used some of my benefits during my 5 year break in service. I came back on active duty as a Warrant Officer in 2008 and am interested in transferring my education benefits to my spouse. We are scheduled to PCS back to the states in a couple of months and I will deploy a couple months after that. My wife is considering moving to a different location than my next duty station so that she can work on her Master’s Degree. My question is whether or not she can use my remaining benefits (if she is attending an accredited school) and whether or not she is eligible for the BAH stipend for her physical location due to the fact that she will not be living with me.

A: Just so we are clear, you can’t transfer your remaining Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits to your wife because that particular GI Bill did not have a transfer of benefits option. However, you most likely qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill being you have at least six years of service (of which at least three years has to be after September 10, 2001), are currently serving, and have at least four years left on your enlistment at the time of your transfer request.

If you meet the three above requirements, you can initiate a transfer request by going to the milConnect website and following the instructions in the Transfer of Benefits section. Once approved, your wife has to go to the eBenefits website and request her Certificate of Eligibility by submitting VA Form 22-1990e. She would need that certificate when she enrolls in school as a GI Bill student using transferred benefits.

As far as the Monthly Housing Allowance, no she would not get that as you are drawing BAH for her and she can’t get both. So if she uses her benefits while you are still serving, her tuition would be paid and she would get the book stipend once per semester (up to the $1,000 per year cap).

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