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

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

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.

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

I am eligible to use but not transfer the GI Bill (did not transfer before retirement). I am also eligible to use and transfer Hazelwood Act entitlements. Can I use the GI Bill entitlements and have my dependent daughter simultaneously use the Hazelwood Act benefits?

I don’t think so. The Hazelwood Act rules specify that Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits must be exhausted first before the Act benefits can be used, so I’m thinking you have to use up your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, before your daughter can use her Hazelwood Act.

I am confused because what I read here seems to state that the Hazelwood Act benefits are transferable if you are deceased or have a medical discharge. Yet it also states children of military members deployed to combat zones. Does that include past deployments? I was on a 7.5 months deployment on CVN-71 T. Roosevelt to mid-east area, so that would count?

You have to watch how you word things. Not all “medical discharges” qualify – only if the veteran is 100% disabled for purposes of employability as a result of a service-related injury or illness. Big difference.

No I don’t think so. I think it applies to current deployments.

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