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Is It True Spouses Are Not Eligible to Receive Post 9/11 GI Bill Stipends?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am transferring my Post 9/11 benefits to my wife, who was planning to attend ITT Tech for nursing. I am being told that spouses are not eligible to attend technical schools or receive the stipends that my kids and I can receive….is this true and if not what is she allowed to do? I’ve received so much mis-information from our education center and I need a straight answer.

A: It is true that there are different rules for spouses than for dependent children when it comes to them using transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. First, if you are still serving on active duty, your spouse will not get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance. Why? Because you are already drawing BAH for her and you are not allowed to “double-dip” or get paid twice for the same thing. However, she would get her tuition and fees paid by the VA directly to her school and she would get the book stipend each semester (up to the $1,000 yearly cap). And she has up to 15 years to use her transferred benefits from the date of your discharge from active duty.

Keep in mind however, that if you are in the Reserves or National Guard now as a traditional member, or out of the military entirely, she would get the Post 9/11 GI Bill housing allowance just the same as you would if you were using your benefits.

However, when it comes to your dependents using their Post 9/11 GI Bill, the difference comes in on housing allowance and delimitation date. As odd as it may sound, your dependents can still live at home (and even not pay a dime in room or board) and still get the full housing allowance allowed based on the zip code of their school and the number of credits they are taking. And their delimitation date is their 26th birthday. Unused benefits at age 26 expire unless you revoke them first.

As far as what types of schools your spouse can attend, she can go to any VA-approved school in either a degree-producing or non-degree course. So yes she can go to a technical or vocational school, or college.

The sad part is how inept it sounds like your education department is when they should be the experts being they are the ones guiding you down the education road.

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