Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide for Spouses & Dependents
The Post 9/11 GI Bill is one of the most important military benefits. This guide features step-by-step instructions on how to fill out the application form and submit it to claim transferred VA Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for qualifying military spouses and dependents.
This guide is for GI Bill applications only and not for GI Bill applications being applied for under VA Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) or the National Call-To-Service program.
Military Spouse & Dependents’ Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide
This guide advises you on how to apply for transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. In order to complete the paperwork, you must apply AFTER having GI Bill benefits transferred to you and not before. If you have not had Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to you, you will need to have the service member complete that step first.
Transferring GI Bill Benefits
As mentioned above, this step-by-step application guide is written for spouses and dependents who have had GI Bill benefits transferred to them by the service member. It proceeds under the assumption that benefits have already been transferred. You cannot apply for Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits as a spouse or dependent until the military member has them formally transferred to you in writing.
About Terms Used In This Guide
The terms used in this guide are those used by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Terms like “dependent” and “sponsor” are found on the VA forms. Know that in typical cases a “dependent” is someone who is not the servicemember, but who is a member of the service member’s immediate family. A “sponsor” is another term for a military member or veteran.
What to Know About GI Bill Entitlement
This guide is not meant to help you determine whether the servicemember is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Learn more about GI Bill eligibility based on the era of service the veteran joined in if you are not sure. All GI Bill payments are made via Direct Deposit. To use the GI Bill you must sign up for Direct Deposit, or contact the U.S. Treasury Department to discuss their waiver policy at 1-888-224-2950.
Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Guide: Getting Started
The first thing you must do in order to begin the application process to transfer the Post 9/11 GI Bill is to determine your eligibility for the program. You can do this at the Department of Veterans Affairs official site under the heading How Do I Apply? You’ll want to do this as your preliminary step. When you go to the link above, you will navigate to How Do I Apply and answer the following questions under FIND YOUR EDUCATION FORM:
Are you applying for a benefit or updating your program or place of training?
Answer “Applying for a new benefit”.
Are you a Veteran or service member claiming a benefit based on your own service?
This will open a smaller list of questions, which include:
Is your sponsor deceased, 100% permanently disabled, MIA, or a POW?
Answer Yes or No. Answering Yes reveals an APPLY NOW button which takes you to a page with VA Form 22-5490 (Dependents’ Application for VA Education Benefits). You will complete this application to claim your GI Bill benefit.
Answering No opens another question:
Has your sponsor transferred their benefits to you?
Answer Yes or No. If you answer NO, you will have to wait to complete the application form until the GI Bill benefit has been transferred to you by the service member. Once the transfer has been approved by the Department of Defense (the VA does not approve or deny transfers) you can proceed to the next step, which is to complete VA Form 22-1990E (see below).
If you answer YES, an APPLY NOW button will appear, click on it to be taken to a page that links you to the online form VA Form 22-1990E (Application for Family Member to Use Transferred Benefits). Complete this form.
What to Know About Applying Online with the VA
You will be asked to log in before starting to fill out the form. If you do NOT log in, filling out the form is practically useless since you CANNOT SAVE it unless you log in. Filling the form out without logging in and trying to log in afterward to save the form may not work.
When you log in before applying, the VA may be able to auto-fill some of your application, based on your VA account information that may already be in the system. The VA says by signing in to your VA.gov account, you may be able to get an “instant decision” on your benefits claim application, depending on circumstances.
Once you log into VA.gov and begin filling out your application, you can save it in progress for up to 60 days. Once you begin a GI Bill application form, you have 60 days to complete it or it may be deleted.
Before Applying for the GI Bill, Gather Your Information
What do you need to provide besides the filled-out VA claim form (see below) when you initiate this process? There is a list of items you’ll need to gather before you start working on your claim. They include:
- Social Security number.
- Bank account direct deposit information including routing number and account number.
- Education and military history.
- Basic information about the school or training facility you need the benefits for (see below).
School Selection Issues
Not all schools participate in the GI Bill program. This is one reason why school choice can be an important part of this process. If a school is not on the VA list there may be any number of reasons why.
Read More: The Best GI Bill Schools
The school may be in the process of being approved by the VA, and may not have made it through the system yet. The school may have been rejected by the VA. If your school isn’t able to accept GI Bill funds, you’ll need to find one that does or learn more about alternative school funding options.
Starting Your Post 9/11 Transferred GI Bill Benefits Application
Once the DoD has approved the transfer request, family members can apply for transferred GI Bill benefits online, by mail, or in person.
You can also seek help from a Veteran Service Organization. You will be required to submit a VA form plus other supporting documentation as described above. There may be additional forms required depending on the school and the nature of your studies.
How to Apply for the GI Bill In Person
You can apply with help from your school’s VA Certifying Official. The official will help you or direct you to someone who can help you complete the GI Bill form described here and you will get good advice on how the process works at that financial institution.
You can also apply in person at a VA Regional office near you. If you want to apply in person, be sure to contact the regional office in advance to make an appointment or walk in depending on the availability of representatives in your area.
How to Apply for GI Bill Benefits By Mail
You can call the Department of Veterans Affairs directly at 888-442-4551 during business hours Monday through Friday to request a paper application be sent to you. Once the application is complete, send it to the VA regional claims processing office in the same area as your school.
How to Apply for GI Bill Benefits Using a Veteran Service Officer
The VA asks applicants to use the VA eBenefits portal if they decide to use a VSO to apply for these benefits. You can let the VA know you’ll use a VSO to assist you with your application via eBenefits and you can also use the portal to search for a local VSO. There is also a search tool offered by the VA Office of the General Counsel to find VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited professionals. Veteran Service Officers typically work for Veteran Service Organizations like the DAV, AMVETS, and other entities.
Read More: What Are Veteran Service Organizations?
A VSO can help you fill out and submit VA Form 22-1990E, Application for VA Benefits. What follows in this section is step-by-step instructions for completing the form for those who want to do it themselves.
VA Form 22-1990E Application for VA Benefits Step-By-Step Guide
Start by downloading VA Form 22-1990E from the VA official site. The completion time for this form is estimated at 15 minutes. It is smart to allow for more time to complete and submit the form, there are many questions and details to be provided. It’s best not to apply for this benefit if you are pressed for time that day–wait until you can complete your application in one sitting when submitting online for the best results.
VA Form 22-1990E Step-By-Step Instructions: Page 1 of 4
PART I – APPLICANT INFORMATION
- SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OF APPLICANT
Fill in the blanks with your Social Security Number. Providing the number may be labeled as “voluntary” but without the Social Security Number, you may not be able to apply for this benefit.
- SEX OF APPLICANT
For GI Bill purposes, it will be necessary to use the gender currently reflected on your state government ID, military ID card, or other identification.
If you are in the process of changing your IDs to reflect your personal pronouns, know that all official communication with the VA will require the “official” gender as in your current government records. If you need assistance in this area, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000.
- APPLICANT’S DATE OF BIRTH
Enter your full date of birth in the boxes provided.
- NAME (First, Middle Initial, Last)
As with the gender portion of this GI Bill application, you will need to enter your name as it is currently shown on your government IDs. This is unfortunate for some, but at press time the application process has not evolved to accept variations in these identification fields.
- APPLICANT’S ADDRESS
Provide your full physical address. Providing a temporary address or a P.O. Box may delay your receipt of important communication from the VA.
6A. APPLICANT’S TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Include both home and mobile numbers where applicable and always include the area code.
6B. APPLICANT’S E-MAIL ADDRESS
This is NOT an optional field. Your email address is required to complete this form.
7. DIRECT DEPOSIT
This section asks you to provide your bank routing number and account number. Signing up for Direct Deposit is typically required for GI Bill benefits.
8A. RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SERVICEMEMBER
This section asks you to indicate whether you are a spouse or a dependent.
8B.DID YOU RECEIVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY CERTIFICATE?
Answer YES or NO but if YES, provide the date earned.
PAGE 1 PART II–BENEFIT TRANSFERRED AND TYPE AND PROGRAM OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING
The application form you are filling out can be used for multiple benefits. This guide is specifically for applying for transferred GI Bill benefits using this form.
9A. BENEFIT TRANSFERRED TO YOU
Check Box 9A, Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill.
9B. TYPE OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING
Select the appropriate box:
- College or another school
- Vocational Flight Training
- National Test Reimbursement (Sat, CLEP, Etc.)
- Licensing / Certification Test Reimbursement (MCSE, CCNA, EMT, NCLEX, etc)
- Preparatory Course
- Apprenticeship / On-The-Job Training
- Tuition Assistance Top-Up
9C. FULL NAME AND ADDRESS OF SCHOOL, IF KNOWN
This is a text box where you will enter the relevant details if you have them.
9D. PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR EDUCATIONAL OR CAREER OBJECTIVE, IF KNOWN
Another text box where you can type in the appropriate information.
That is the end of Page One of this application.
VA Form 22-1990 Step-By-Step Instructions: Page 2 of 4
PAGE 2 PART III – TYPE AND PROGRAM OF EDUCATION OR TRAINING
The top of the second page on the upper right has a section for entering your Social Security Number. This is at the top of each page in the four-page application. Be sure to enter your SSN on each page.
10A. DO YOU HOLD ANY FAA FLIGHT CERTIFICATES?
Answer YES or NO but if YES, specify in the space provided.
10B. EDUCATION AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
This section should include any apprenticeship, on-the-job training, and flight training you may have taken, plus the dates attended, degree or certificate earned, etc. You will also need to provide the number of hours and the type of hours (term, semester, etc.)
Enter two jobs you have held since high school including the dates, names of employers, occupation/specialty, etc.
PAGE 2 PART IV – ENTITLEMENT TO AND USAGE OF ADDITIONAL TYPES OF ASSISTANCE
Answer only the questions which apply to you in this section.
11A. FOR APPLICANTS ON ACTIVE DUTY ONLY
Are you receiving or do you anticipate receiving any money (including but not limited to Federal Tuition Assistance) from the Armed Forces or Public Health Service for the course for which you have applied to the VA for education benefits? Answer YES or NO.
11B. FOR APPLICANTS WHO ARE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. GOVERNMENT ONLY:
Are you receiving or do you anticipate receiving any money (including but not limited to the Government Employees Training Act) from your Agency for the same period for which you have applied to the VA for education benefits? If you will receive such benefits during any part of your training, check YES.
PAGE 2 PART V – SERVICE MEMBER INFORMATION
12. SERVICE MEMBER’S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER
Enter the service member’s Social Security Number here. Failure to provide this information may result in not receiving the benefit.
13. SERVICE MEMBER’S BRANCH OF SERVICE
Enter the appropriate branch of service here.
14. SERVICE MEMBER’S NAME (First, Middle Initial, Last)
Enter the full legal name of the service member.
15. SERVICE MEMBER’S ADDRESS
Enter the full current address of the service member.
PAGE 2 PART VI – CERTIFICATION AND SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT, GUARDIAN, OR CUSTODIAN
This section must be completed by the parent, guardian or custodian if the applicant is a minor. You will certify that “all statements in my application are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
Check the appropriate box below and sign your full legal name. Do not print your name, but use your signature the way you would on a check or a contract.
About the author
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.