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Does a Bonus Affect My Husband’s Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, My husband is a West Point Grad and has completed this May his 5-year commitment, but took a 3-year bonus bringing his time to 8 years. Will he be able to use his Post 9/11 GI bill at the 8-year mark or does he owe an additional 3 years because he took a bonus?

A: No, the bonus will not affect his qualifying time for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. He will have earned the Post 9/11 GI Bill by the time he hits his 8-year mark.

The question for you and him to think about is what does he intend to do with his Post 9/11 GI Bill once he is out? If he is a West Point graduate, he has his degree, so the options are:

  • for him to get his master’s degree;
  • for him to transfer it all to you so you can get your degree;
  • for him to transfer some and keep some so both of you can continue your education;
  • or if children are in the future, maybe save it and transfer it to he/she or them.

If he does intend to transfer some of his Post 9/11 GI bill benefits to you, keep in mind that he can’t until he has at least six years of service and extends for another four years. He already has an eight-year commitment, so another four would bring him to twelve years. If he does transfer benefits to you, you can’t start using your benefits until he has in his ten years of service, which brings me to my the next point.

If he decides to stay in the Army and you decide to go to school, you will not get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance while he is still in (because he is getting paid BAH), however, once he is out and you use your Post 9/11 GI bill, you will get the housing allowance.

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