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Can Our Son Use the Post 9/11 GI Bill Entitlement in Conjunction with DEA Benefits?

Q: Can our son use the Post 9/11 GI Bill? My husband retired in Jan 2005. He served 20 years and is 100% disabled. I know our son qualifies for the DEA, and I think that is great but it still does not pay enough. Can you offer any advice?

A: The only way your son could use your husband’s Post 9/11 GI Bill is if he had transferred benefits to your son while he was still serving. But that was impossible being he retired in 2005 as the Post 9/11 GI Bill was not enacted until August 1, 2009. And there is not any type of retroactive policy that would allow him to make a transfer of benefits now.

That is a Catch-22 for military members retiring before August 1, 2009. The Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits go back to September 10, 2001, and while the veteran can use the benefits up to 15 years from their last date of discharge, they can’t pass the benefits to a spouse or dependent children.

However, there are other financial aid options for your son. If you Google “scholarships for children of disabled veterans”, you’ll get back quite a list of potential sources of education funding.

One of the websites I went into listed the top 10 scholarships for military dependents. The point is the money is out there, but it does take some work to find the sources and some more work to apply. If your son is able to score only a couple of sources, it would supplement his Chapter 35 monthly amount and lessen the amount of money he would have to get through student loans.

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