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Can You Please Clarify If a 23-year Old Dependent Is Eligible to Receive Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi Ron, my husband is active duty with 15 years of service. He is an officer in the USPHS, which offers the option to transfer GI Bill benefits to dependents. Our 23 year old daughter is our dependent and a full-time, unmarried college student. In the VA website, it states that dependents must be at least 18, but not yet 23 to be eligible for the transfer. However, elsewhere on the site, it says up to age 26. Can you please clarify if a dependent who has already turned 23 is eligible to begin receiving transferred benefits? Thanks!

A: The difference between the age requirements has to do with her being DEERS eligible. According to the rules, she can stay in DEERS as your dependent until age 23. The exact wording is “Children who are full-time students at an accredited institution of higher learning leading to an associate’s degree or higher, may remain DEERS eligible until age 23.”

So because she has already turned 23, she is no longer an eligible dependent in DEERS and therefore can’t be a recipient of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits.

The age 26 has to do with using Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that had been transferred to her before she turned 23. Once she turns 26, she is no longer able to use any remaining Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that she still may have had.

I can see how it could be confusing because these two pieces of information are found in very different places. One age refers to eligibility to receive transferred benefits where the other age is the maximum age in which a person having transferred benefits can use them or lose any remaining unused benefits. The option to losing them of course is for the sponsor to revoke benefits before they are lost.

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