One of the major enhancements of the Post 9/11 GI Bill is the ability for service members to transfer all or a portion of their educational benefit to their immediate family members. In a previous post, we discussed whether or not a service member should transfer their GI Bill benefits. In this post, we take it from the position that you have made the choice to transfer your benefits; now what?
The first step is to determine your eligibility to transfer your benefits.
So who is eligible?
You are eligible to transfer your GI Bill benefits can be determined through the following conditions:
Any member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted) on or after August 1, 2009, who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, AND
- Has at least 6 years of service in the Armed Forces on the date of election and agrees to serve 4 additional years in the Armed Forces from the date of election.
- Has at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or selected reserve) on the date of election, is precluded by either standard policy (service or DoD) or statute from committing to 4 additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute,
- becomes retirement eligible during the period from August 1, 2009, through August 1, 2013. A service member is considered to be retirement eligible if he or she has completed 20 years of active duty or 20 qualifying years of reserve service.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement on August 1, 2009, no additional service is required.
- For those individuals who have an approved retirement date after August 1, 2009, and before July 1, 2010, no additional service is required.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement after August 1, 2009, and before August 1, 2010, 1 year of additional service after approval of transfer is required.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement on or after August 1, 2010, and before August 1, 2011, 2 years of additional service after approval of transfer are required.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement on or after August 1, 2011, and before August 1, 2012, 3 years of additional service after approval of transfer required.
*NOTE: Eligibility does not mean the transfer of benefits is automatically approved!
The second step is to apply to transfer your GI Bill Benefits.
All applications must be submitted through the milConnect website. Service members will be able to securely access this site with a Common Access Card, a DoD Self Service User ID, or a DFAS PIN.
Keep in mind that it is the Department of Defense that makes the final determination as to whether or not a service member can actually transfer their educational benefits. Eligibility to transfer does not determine ability to transfer.
Other questions that may come to your mind?
Who can you transfer your GI Bill Educational Benefit to?
Great question! Once approved, GI Bill Educational benefits can be transferred to:
- The individual’s spouse.
- One or more of the individual’s children.
- Any combination of spouse and child.
- A family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits, at the time of transfer to receive transferred educational benefits.
- A child’s subsequent marriage will not affect his or her eligibility to receive the educational benefit. However, you can revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
- A subsequent divorce will not affect the former spouse’s eligibility to receive educational benefits; however, after an individual has designated a spouse as a transferee under this section, the eligible individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
What can you transfer?
Again, once approved, the eligible service member may transfer up to the total months of UNUSED Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, or the entire 36 months if the member has not used any of their benefit.
Some things to keep in mind.
- Spouses may being to use the benefit immediately.
- Spouses can use the benefit while the member is still serving in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.
- Spouses are NOT eligible for the monthly living stipend or books and supplies stipend while the service member is still serving on active duty.
- Spouses can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member’s last separation from active duty.
- The child(ren) may start using the benefit ONLY after the service member has completed at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces. And,
- may use the benefit while the service member is still serving in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.
- Is eligible to the monthly living stipend and books/supplies stipend even while the service member is still serving on active duty.
- Is not subject to the 15 year limitation after the last separation from active duty of the service member, but may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age.
Being able to transfer your GI Bill benefits to your spouse or children is a great thing. But like anything in the military, it takes prior planning in order to get the results you are looking for. The best place to start your preparation is at the GI Bill website to get the latest and greatest information on the Transferability Option of the Post 9/11 GI Bill.