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Can I Use My Hazelwood Act Benefits While My Wife Is Using Chapter 33 Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I would like to transfer the remainder of my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to my wife (19 Months). I was honorably discharged in ’06 with over 12 years of service. Once this is done, I meet all the qualifications for the Hazelwood here in TX. My question is: Can I use the Hazelwood while my wife is using the Ch.33 benefits or is this in some way “double dipping”?

A: It sounds like a good plan you have except for one thing – it won’t work. The way Congress wrote the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, you had to still be serving to make a transfer request. This part of the rule seems to catch a lot of veterans by surprise as many, like you, think they can transfer after separating.

I think a better plan would be to use up your remaining 19 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits first and then transfer your Hazelwood Act 150 semester hours to your wife to use. Yes, it could take up a couple of academic years to use up your GI Bill benefits, but I really don’t see another plan that would work better.

If she plans on attending school before you use up your Post 9/11 GI Bill, then she should look at scholarships, grants and loans. The place to start would be to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what she qualifies for. You (and she) might be surprised what she could get in education funding sources.

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