When discussing paying for education for soon to be ex spouse or children, Veteran benefits are often overlooked as a resource. There are a few programs.
“The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows you to transfer all or some of your unused benefits to your spouse or dependent children. The military determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family. Once your service approves your eligibility to transfer your benefits, your dependents can apply for them through the VA.
Any active military member who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill who has less than 16 years service, and
- Has at least six years of service and agrees to serve an additional four years
- Has at least 10 years of service and can’t commit to four more years because of regulation (i.e. High Year Tenure, etc)
You must transfer benefits while on active duty.
If you are eligible to transfer benefits you can transfer them to:
- Your spouse
- One or more of your children
- Any combination of spouse and child
The family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) at the time of transfer.” https://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/military-spouse-and-family-educational-assistance-programs.html
“Another program which has a more limited scope is the Survivor’s and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) program provides education and training opportunities to eligible dependents of certain veterans. The program offers up to 36 months of education benefits.
These benefits may be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeship, and on-the-job training. If you are a spouse, you may take a correspondence course. To be eligible, you must be the son, daughter, or spouse of:
- A veteran who died or is permanently and totally disabled as the result of a service-connected disability.
- A veteran who died from any cause while they had a VA recognized service-connected disability.
- A service member missing in action or captured in line of duty.
- A service member whom VA determines has a service-connected permanent and total disability and at the time of determination is a military member who is hospitalized or receiving outpatient medical care, services, or treatment; and is likely to be discharged or released from service for this service-connected disability.
Children must be between the ages of 18 – 26 to get this benefit. If you divorce the veteran your benefits end on the date of divorce. If you are enrolled in apprenticeship or on-the-job training, your payments will be based on how long you have been in the program for.” https://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/military-spouse-and-family-educational-assistance-programs.html
There are also State programs. Arizona has a tuition waiver program that provides eligible veterans or surviving dependents with tuition-free education at any public state university or community college. Applicants must meet one of the following relevant criteria and be accepted into the institution where they’d like to utilize the tuition waiver:
1. A member of the Arizona National Guard who received a Purple Heart Citation on or after September 11, 2001.
2. A former member of the Arizona National Guard who was medically discharged from the Arizona National Guard due to an injury or disability suffered:
a. During status under title 10, United States Code; OR
b. In weekend training status; OR
c. In annual training status; OR
d. In response to a state of emergency declared by the Governor.
3. A person who is a former member of the United States Armed Forces:
a. Who received a Purple Heart Citation; AND
b. Who was a resident of the State of Arizona or was stationed in Arizona at the time of the injury that resulted in the Purple Heart Citation; AND
c. Whose disability rating determined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs is 50% or more. https://dvs.az.gov/tuition-waiver-and-verification-form
All of these programs should be considered for people who are divorcing and want to help pay for a spouse’s or dependent’s education at no cost.
Learn more about mediation at https://www.center-divorce-mediation.com CDM (381) 5/15/21