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Will Our Son Get Paid a Housing Allowance If He Lives at Home?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi, my son is using GI Bill benefits to start college next month. I am wondering if the housing benefits apply while he is staying at home and commuting to college. If so, what procedures to we follow to draw on that? My husband is active duty still so he is getting a BAH. Also, do the benefits pay for books and a laptop for use at school? Thank you for your time.

A: The Post 9/11 GI Bill has some interesting quirks to it. Your son will get the housing allowance, even if he is living at home, but if you were using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you would not. So charge him room and board!

His housing allowance will be paid at the pay grade of an E-5 with dependents for the zip code of his school. His book allowance will be up to $1,000 per year paid at $41.67 per credit hour. If you do the math, you will see that accounts for 24 credits, or two full-time 12-credit semesters.

Neither GI Bill provides, or has provisions to pay for, a computer, however, he can use his book stipend on whatever he wants, including a computer. Check with his school first, as some schools are giving students computers and including the computer cost in their education charges.

To get his housing allowance and book stipend (and tuition paid for) , he needs to submit VA Form 22-1990e via VONAPP. In return, he will get a Certificate of Eligibility, which he will need when he registers for school. Once enrolled, the school will submit a Certificate of Enrollment and when the two forms match up at the VA, that will start his benefits coming and pay his tuition.

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