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Will My Plan to Use Chapter 35 Benefits Work?

Q: I am a son of a 100 percent disabled veteran. He is 70 percent SC and 30 percent UI. I am a college student as of June 2009. My question is…. am I able to get Chapter 35 benefits from my dad? From what I’m reading is if I was under 26 at the time he was initially awarded his benefits (which was 1994 and I was around 20 years of age) and the date he was notified 100 percent I can get the benefits. I would then be given a certificate of eligibility and I would be able to choose my start date (which would be the date I started school) and then get back-pay for those months? Does this sound right? Really sounds too good to be true. I am 36 years old and this would really help me out with school loans, etc.

A: You know what they say about things too good to be true? While your “plan” sounds good, it won’t work. Under Chapter 35, you have to use up your education benefits by age 26, except in two isolated instances.

If you served in the military at some time when you were between the ages of 18 and 26, you’re your benefits can be extended, but not past age 31. If you were recalled into military service after September 10, 2001, your benefits can be extended and they can go past age 31. But outside of those two exceptions, of which neither sounds like applies in your situation, you will not be authorized benefits past age 26.

My question is why didn’t you apply for Chapter 35 benefits when your dad was listed a 100% disabled back in 1994. If you were 20 then, you would had six years to use up your 45 months of benefits and not had the school loans today that you now have.

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