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Can I Use My Step-Father’s GI Bill to Go Back to School?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Can I attend school using my step father’s GI Bill? I’m unsure of how long he was in the military but I have been considering going back to school. I have being hearing I should be able to go back using his GI Bill and I am also hearing I wouldn’t be able to. Please reply soon, thanks!

A: I’m sorry, but being your step-father is not currently serving, he would not be able to make a transfer of benefits to you. The only GI Bill that has a transfer-of-benefits option is the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

The way Congress wrote the specifics of it, the servicemember has to have served for at least six years, be currently serving at the time a transfer request was made, and agree to serve an additional four years of service (as of August 1st, this rule applies regardless of the number of years already served.) However, if he would have transferred benefits to you while he was still serving, he would still have the right to revoke, reallocate or use those benefits himself even though he is retired.

The other thing you should know about Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits is there is a maximum age in which you have to use up your transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. So if you are age 26 or older, you would not be able to use transferred benefits even if you had them.

If your step-father has the Montgomery GI Bill, he couldn’t have transferred it either as that GI Bill did not have a transfer option to it.

So even though your step-father isn’t eligible to transfer any of his GI Bill benefits to you, don’t despair. There are many different sources of financial aid available that can help you get through school. Every year, thousands of dollars go unused because nobody applied for the money. Seek out the sources and apply.

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