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Can I Use Both My Post 9/11 GI Bill and Hazelwood Act for My Two Boys?

Q: I am eligible for both the Post 9/11 GI Bill and entering the service in Texas, I’m also eligible for the Hazelwood exemption. I received a 3-year ROTC scholarship and was commissioned in 1999. After commissioning, I served on active duty for 6 years and 4 months, after which I transferred to the Selected Reserve, which is where I continue to serve (Total service time is 12 years now). I was re-activated in November, 2010 and am now mobilized overseas for a 1-year deployment. The question is regarding my two children, who I plan on transferring my benefits to. They are four years apart in age. The question is: Can I send one child to school on the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the other child to school using my Hazlewood exemption (provided he goes to school in Texas)?

A: The way the Hazelwood Act is currently written, I think it should work. Your children will have to use all of your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits first before your second child can use your Hazelwood entitlement as Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits have to be first exhausted before the Hazelwood Act kicks in. So whether only the first child uses them all up or the second child helps, it is immaterial as long as they are exhausted first.

With the GI Bill, you have 36 months of benefits to use, which is enough for a four-year degree if your boy goes for four 9-month academic years. Under the Hazelwood Act, you have 150 semester hours, which at 12 credit hours per semester is enough for a four year degree also. You can make a transfer under the Hazelwood Act Legacy Program.

But to cover your bases, transfer at least a month of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to each child while you are still active in the Armed Forces. That way you have total flexibility on which child can use the Post 9/11 GI Bill. At a later date, even after you are retired, you can revoke and reallocate benefits as needed. The one thing you can’t do after retirement is allocate to a child never having Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits in the first place, so that limits your options.

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