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Can You Answer My Questions Concerning the Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Sir/Ma’am, I am currently a Major in the Regular Army with almost 16 years of federal active service. I enrolled in the GI Bill when I was commissioned in 1996. I was a non-scholarship ROTC cadet and paid the $1,200 for enrollment. I also purchased the $600 GI Bill kicker in 2005. Additionally, I am currently deployed to Iraq with scheduled redeployment in August. I have a few questions regarding my GI Bill benefits. They are as follows:
1) I have not converted from the GI Bill to the Post 9/11 GI Bill and I am looking for information on how to accomplish this. Can I accomplish the conversion while I am deployed?
2) I understand that once I transfer my GI Bill benefits, I owe the Army an additional 4 years of service. Is it 4 years from the date of acceptance of the change to the post 9/11 GI Bill? If so, how long does this process typically take?
3) My wife and I do not currently have children, but would like to someday. Once I have converted to the Post 911 GI Bill should I transfer the benefits to her until we have children? I just want to ensure that if we have a child at my 19th year of service and I transfer the benefits from my wife to child that I do not have to serve any more time.
4) If we do have children, it is my understanding that the child can use the benefits until age 26. Is this true?
5) If for some reason I decide to re-call my benefits from my wife or children, can I do that once I transfer the benefits to them? Thank you very much for your assistance.

A: O.K., here we go.
1) To convert to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have to go to the eBenefits website and submit VA Form 22-1990. As long as you have Internet access, you can do it even when you are deployed, but you don’t have to. What you will get back is a Certificate of Eligibility that shows your eligibility, number of months and percentage.
2) To transfer benefits, you have to have served for at least 6 years, currently serving and have at least 4 years left on your enlistment at the time your transfer request is approved. However, if your current enlistment takes you out to the “retirement eligible” point, meaning 20 years of service or more, then no additional service is required. From the time you make your transfer request until it is approved, can take 8 to 10 weeks.
3) Yes, I would recommend transferring your Post 9/11 GI Bill to your wife. If you are blessed with children in your 19th year, you would not be required to serve any additional time. The important thing to keep in mind is the transfer request must be completed before you are discharged.
4) Yes that is true. The child can start using benefits upon turning age 18 or graduating from high school, whichever comes first.
5) The great thing about transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits while you are still serving is you can revoke and reallocate benefits between members already having received benefits. And you can do this even after you have retired. What you can’t do after retiring is to transfer benefits to a dependent not already having received benefits while you were serving.

Just one more thing. You would not be able to use your $600 Buy-Up with the Post 9/11 GI Bill. It can only be used with the Montgomery GI Bill.

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