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Is It True I’m Not Eligible For the Post 9/11 GI Bill Housing Allowance?

Q: I am also a former spouse after 25 years of marriage. My active duty ex transferred his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit to me and I began my education a couple months ago. I was informed yesterday because my ex is still active duty, I am not be eligible to receive the housing stipend, only the book allowance. I called VA personally, twice and received the same answer. I asked if it would make a difference to send in my divorce decree and I was told no. The fact that he is still active duty is the key. He needs to retire before I can receive the housing allowance.

A: That might not be entirely true and here is why. Whether or not you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance hinges on if you are still receiving BAH or not. If you are, then no, you would not be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance as that would in essence be double-dipping. The apparent rationale is that a couple – even if they are no longer married – only qualifies for one housing allowance.

How it reads is “If the service member transfers the benefit, the Post 9/11 GI Bill will provide tuition assistance for the recipient spouse, and subject to certain exceptions, it may also include a housing allowance, book stipend, and other benefits.”

As we know, the monthly housing allowance is equivalent to the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for an E-5 with dependents, based on the ZIP code of the school where the student is going to school and the number of credit s/he is taking.

Notable however, if the Post 9/11 GI Bill is transferred to a child, the child would receive the housing allowance and book stipend, even if the parent service member is still on active duty and receiving the Basic Allowance for Housing.

If you are not drawing BAH, then I would send in a copy of your divorce decree as part of your Notice of Disagreement letter indicating that you should get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance and why.

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