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If I Can’t Fulfill My Obligation, What Happens to Transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I have applied for and had my request approved to transfer my Post 9/11 Bill Benefits to my children. I am required to serve 3.75 more years to fulfill my service requirement and also to reach my retirement. My oldest child should be entering college next fall (2012) and if I didn’t want him to use the benefits until his last 1-2 years(of the 4) because I want to be sure I can fulfill my service requirement, should he wait until right before he uses the benefits to get his Certificate of Eligibility or should we go ahead and do so after he graduates from high school next May and hold on to it until he is to use it? Also if my child was to use my benefits and for whatever reason I could not fulfill my service requirement as stated when I was approved, what would happen to the benefits? Would he lose all benefits and be required to pay back anything he has used so far? Thank you for your time!

A: You can do it either way to get your son his Certificate of Eligibility; however, I would recommend him submitting VA Form 22-1990e from the eBenefits website right way and here is why. I would get it right away as a hedge of future Post 9/11 GI Bill changes. Right now, we don’t know what changes will occur in the future. By getting his certificate now, he could potentially take advantage of “grandfathering”, if changes do occur.

Beside the reason you gave for him using his certificate during the last one or two years of his school (ensuring you can fulfill your obligation), he will make better use of his GI Bill benefits as education costs seem to be rising every year, with no real change in the trend within the next foreseeable years.

If your child does decide to use them early in his school career, and you can’t fulfill your additional service requirement, then he will lose whatever unused benefits he has left and will have to repay what benefits he used – another good reason for him to wait to use his benefits.

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