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In Theory, Can I Use Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits from Both My Dad and My Spouse?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Ok so I’ve got a couple questions as a reference I’m a dependent using my father’s Post 9/11 GI Bill. First off I’m about to finish my freshman year of college and have used all the allowed months for this year, that being said is my dad able to take online courses over the summer using a portion of the GI Bill he hasn’t transferred over? Secondly if I finish this year and stop attending college for two years then come back would I owe the VA anything? And what if I end up being unable to return and finish my degree would I owe the VA money? Lastly if I were to marry a woman currently in the army would I lose the GI Bill from my father and if not could I use the remaining amount then use a year from my spouses GI Bill?

A: To answer your first question, yes, your dad controls his Post 9/11 GI Bill. So if he wants to take classes online during the summer with what benefits he has left, that is his prerogative.

If you stop using your GI Bill, either due to you running out of benefits or just deciding you no longer want to go to college, you owe the VA nothing. The VA’s part in you using the GI Bill is to ensure you use your benefits responsibly and to pay for classes that are credited toward your declared field of study. If you decide not to finish your degree plan, or to stop now and finish it later, you can do that. Just keep in mind that you will lose whatever unused benefits you have left at age 26.

As far as your last question, you would not lose your GI Bill benefits transferred to you by your father if you marry. And yes, your spouse could transfer a year of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to you to use. As a spouse, you have up to 15 years from the time of transfer to use your transferred benefits.

So in theory, you could use your father’s GI Bill transferred benefits up to age 26, marry and then have up to 15 years to use Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to you by your military spouse. Just know that if you use your spousal transferred benefits while she is still serving, you would not get the housing allowance, whereas with transferred benefits from your father, you would get it.

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