GI Bill Amendment Benefits Children of Deceased Military after 9/11 

11/16/2009 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced an amendment to the Post-9/11 GI Bill that will benefit service members’ children.

Public Law 111-32, the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship, amends the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) to include the children of service members who die in the line of duty after Sept. 10, 2001.

The benefit, effective Aug. 1, 2009, is the same day the Post-9/11 GI Bill takes effect.

Eligible children attending school may receive up to the highest public, in-state undergraduate tuition and fees, plus a monthly living stipend and book allowance under this program.

Who is eligible?

Children of an active duty member of the armed forces who has died in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible for this benefit. A child may be married or over 23 and still be eligible.

Eligible children:  

• are entitled to 36 months of benefits at the 100 percent level,

• have 15 years to use the benefit beginning on his/her 18th birthday,

• may use the benefit until his or her 33rd birthday,

• cannot use benefit before age 18, even if he or she has completed high school, and

• are not eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Rules for eligible children serving, or who have served, in the Armed Forces:

• If the child is eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve, and/or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP), then he or she must relinquish eligibility under one of those programs to receive benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill.

• A child’s character of discharge from his or her own service does not impact eligibility resulting from the line of duty death of a parent.

• A child on active duty will receive benefits at the active duty benefit rate (eligible for unlimited tuition and fees but not eligible for monthly housing allowance or books and supplies stipend).  

• A child who meets the service requirements to transfer entitlement under Post-9/11 GI Bill may be eligible to transfer up to 36 months of entitlement to his or her dependents.

When will benefits be paid?

VA must begin issuing payments under this benefit no later than Aug. 1, 2010. This includes retroactive payments for eligible children enrolled during the period of Aug. 1, 2009, through July 31, 2010.

VA will begin accepting applications for this benefit May 1, 2010, and will begin issuing payments to eligible children by Aug. 1, 2010. Children enrolled from Aug. 1, 2009, through July 31, 2010, may receive retroactive payments for that time.

Children currently enrolled in school may apply for benefits under VA’s Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program that offers up to 45 months of education benefits.

The application for this benefit is available online, and there is a link on the GI Bill Web site, www.gibill.va.gov.

The link takes the user to VONAPP, the online application. Select VA Form 22-5490, “Application for Dependents' Educational Assistance,” to apply.

If you are a son or daughter, under legal age, a parent or guardian must sign the application.

For more information, call toll-free: 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551), or visit the VA GI Bill Web site at http://www.gibill.va.gov.