Post-911 GI Bill Transferability

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Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability

The transferability option of the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows Servicemembers to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Public Health Service, or Department of Commerce determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family. Once your department approves benefits for transfer, the new beneficiaries apply for them at VA.

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Allowing career service members to transfer their GI Bill benefits to family members has long been one of the most requested items among military family readiness and advocacy groups. Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service, and NOAA are now eligible to transfer their unused GI Bill Benefits to family members.

Eligible Individuals

Any member of the Uniformed Services (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, or
  • Is or becomes retirement eligible and agrees to serve an additional 4 years on or after August 1, 2012. 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.
  • Transfer requests MUST be submitted and approved while the member is in the armed forces.

Eligible Family Members

An individual approved to transfer an entitlement to educational assistance under this section may transfer the individual's entitlement 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, after an individual has designated a child as a transferee under this section, the individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
  • A subsequent divorce will not affect the transferee'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.

Nature of Transfer

An eligible Servicemember may transfer up to the total months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, or the entire 36 months if the member has used none.

Family member use of transferred educational benefits is subject to the following:

    • Spouse:
      • May start to use the benefit immediately.
      • May use the benefit while the member remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.
      • Is not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the member is serving on active duty.
      • Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member's last separation form active duty.
    • Child:
      • May start to use the benefit only after the individual making the transfer has completed at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces.
      • May use the benefit while the eligible individual remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.
      • May not use the benefit until he/she has attained a secondary school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or reached 18 years of age.
      • Is entitled to the monthly housing allowance even though the eligible individual is on active duty.
      • Is not subject to the 15-year delimiting date, but may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age.

How to Apply

You can only apply to transfer benefits while you are on active duty, once you leave active duty it is too late. You should either apply online at the DMDC Website or follow your service's instructions.

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill
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