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Can I Transfer the Montgomery GI Bill?

College money. Getty Images
College money. Getty Images

Dear Q&B,

My late husband was in the U.S. Army from 1989 until 1992. He was on active-duty status during the Persian Gulf War. He paid $100 per month for 12 months for the GI Bill, with the intention of allowing our children to use it.

He passed away in 2014, and our son is now attending college.  

I have been told that any GI Bill funds that were prior to 9/11 are no longer available. My husband was only 44 when he passed away, and there was no life insurance to help.

I am struggling with trying to keep our son in school. Can you tell me if there is any truth to this pre-9/11 issue?

Thank you, Justin's Mom

Dear Mom,

First, let me say how sorry I am for your loss and for your current financial troubles.

Unfortunately, your husband was misinformed about how his GI Bill worked. Because he served before 2001, he was eligible only for the Montgomery GI Bill. That education benefit required that you pay $1,200 into it while serving in order to use it later.

If a service member chose not to use it after paying into it, he lost the $1,200. And unfortunately, unlike the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill was not transferable to family members.

Still, even if your husband had qualified for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, he would've needed to serve more than three years in order to transfer it.

Transferability of the Post-9/11 GI Bill is currently open only to service members who have served at least six years on or after August 1, 2009, and who agree to serve four more years.

Sincerely, Team Q&B

-- Do you have a question about your benefits? Email the Military.com Questions and Benefits team at questionsandbenefits@military.com.

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Benefits Family and Spouse