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If I Switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, How Many Months Can I Transfer to Each of My Kids?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello, I have approx. 18 months left on my MGIB and I’m wondering how to maximize the transfer to the new 9/11 GI Bill and provide those to my 2 kids before I leave the military. How much can I end up transferring to them? Will they only receive 18 months, 36 months, or 48 months? For me to obligate another 4 years of service, I’m hoping to be able to get 48 months but don’t know how. Thanks for the help. — Steve

A: There is not a way to get more Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement than what you have left under the Montgomery GI Bill Steve. If you only have 18 months of entitlement left, then that is the total amount of entitlement you have to split between your two kids – each one could get up to 9 months of entitlement or you could split it up however you want – as long as it doesn’t total over 18 months. And yes, to make that transfer, you would have to commit to an additional four years of service.

The question you have to ask yourself is “Is it worthwhile for me to serve four more years in order to give each kid one academic year of benefits?”

Depending on where your kids go to school, it indeed could be worth it. Right now, the if they were to attend a private school, the VA would pay up to $20,235.02 per year in tuition directly to each of their schools.

If their tuition exceeded that amount, and their schools were part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, the school could pay up to half of the difference and the VA would pay an equal amount (on top of the $20,235.02 they already paid.) If they decide to attend a public school in their home state, then their tuition would be paid in full by the VA.

Each kid would also get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance which averages $1,300 per month (even if they lived at home rent free). Since it is based on the zip code of the school and the number of credit each one takes, theirs could be more or less than the average.

In addition, each kid would get up to $1,000 per year in a book stipend. So if you total that all up, that year of entitlement to each kid could be worth upwards of $33,000. If they end up using the Yellow Ribbon Program, it would be even higher – probably around $40,000 per kid.

So is that worth another four years of service? To me it would be, but that is a decision you’ll have to make on your own. Just don’t wait too long before making that decision as once you start transitional leave, you can’t request a transfer of benefits.

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