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Is It True I Could Go to School Using My Step-Dad’s Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My step dad adopted me when I was a child. He wrote me and gave me a schooling GI Bill, but he left about 5 years later. I still have his last name, but I do not know where he is. I did not know this until recently, when my brother who is currently in the Air Force, called me and told me I could still go to school off the GI Bill. Is this true and if so how do I apply? I really need to know and I want to go to school – I have nothing else going for me. Please help. Thank you!

A: The only way for you to know if you have Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you can use or not is to submit VA Form 22-1990e from the eBenefits website. If you have benefits to use, they will send you back a Certificate of Eligibility that you will need when enrolling in school. If not, then you will receive a letter indicating you do not have benefits eligible for you to use.

You did not indicate how old you are, but keep in mind that you only have up to age 26 to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. Unused benefits at that time will expire, unless your step-dad revokes them and either gives them to another younger dependent of his that has had or currently has Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits already, or uses them himself. If he chooses to keep them, he has 15 years from his date of discharge to use them.

If your step-dad did transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to you, he gave you quite a gift as I sense you already appreciate. It would be wise of you to request your certificate and see what happens. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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