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If My Husband Gets Discharged, Do I Have to Pay Back the Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits I’ve Used?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently using my husband’s Post 9-11 GI Bill and there is a possibility that he will get an honorable discharge due to weight. While he is doing his best to lose the weight, I want to be prepared if it does happen. He has no blemishes on his record and has been in for 10 years so we don’t expect it to be anything other than honorable. Do I loose these benefits? Do I have to pay back what I’ve used? Will there still be anything for him to use when and if he gets out?

A: Let me answer your questions once at a time. It is possible that your husband would get an honorable discharge if he has a “clean” record, but it is really up to his command as far as how they process his discharge paperwork. As far as if you will have to pay back benefits or not, most likely not. The way the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules read, if he has “served 10 years and is precluded from serving due to statute limitations”, his transfer of benefits should be good.

The real question is if his discharge will be covered under that clause. If it is, you should be fine; if not, then you could lose what remaining benefits you have. If you do lose your remaining benefits, I doubt if you would have to pay anything back, but you could.

Because we are not the VA or even affiliated with them in any way, I have no way of knowing what they will do.

As far as if he will have anything left to use or not depends on how much of his 36 months of benefits he transferred to you. If he gave you everything, then he has nothing left to use right now. However, because he is the sponsor servicemember of your transferred benefits, he can revoke some of those remaining unused benefits he transferred to you and use them himself. All he has to do is contact the VA with his revocation of benefits request, your information and how many months he wishes to take back.

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