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Can I Use Both DEA and My Husband’s Transferred MGIB Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: First, thanks for such and informative blog – I wish I’d found it sooner! A couple of questions- 1. My husband separated from the Army in 2004. He has the (old school) Montgomery GI Bill Chapter 30 benefits which, from the comparison chart are transferable to me. Can you tell me the process/form for transferring benefits? 2- in 2008, my husband was determined 100% permanent and totally disabled. This qualifies me for Dependents’ Education benefits Chapter 35, Title 38 (DEA).

Can I use both the DEA benefits and the MGIB benefits concurrently? I can find publication M22-4, Part IV, Chapter 24 on page 3-3 which states “Dependent Eligible for Chapter 35. If a veteran’s spouse or dependent child is eligible for benefits under chapter 35, there is no bar to payment of additional chapter 30 benefits to the veteran for his or her spouse or child.” Confused and getting different answers from every VA office I contact.

A: The Montgomery GI Bill normally is not transferable, except in some isolated cases. Your husband would have to had filled out DD Form 2366-2, Montgomery GI Bill Act of 1984 (MGIB) Transferability Program either at his enlistment or after serving six years on active duty and signing up for an additional four years to secure transfer of his MGIB benefits to you. Normally the transfer program was only offered as a retention tool to those serving in a “critical” MOS.

However, it does sound like you do qualify for the Chapter 35 benefits, but I doubt if you will be able to use the Montgomery GI Bill. Under Chapter 35, you can get up to 45 months of education benefit paying you $925 per month to go to school.

If you find out your husband does have the MGIB Transferability Option, then under the Rule of 48 you would be limited to a maximum combined benefit of 48 months, so you could gain an additional 3 months of education benefits. So the publication you quoted is correct, it is just you are limited to 48 months.

Keep in mind that generally speaking, you have 10 years from when your husband was determined to be 100% disabled to use your DEA benefits.

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