The GI Bill Transfer Rules Are Changing Soon

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Editors note, July 2019: The Department of Defense has delayed the implementation of these new rules until Jan. 12, 2020.

There are big changes coming soon to the rules governing who is eligible to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their dependents.

On Jan. 12, 2020, service members with 16 years or more of service will lose their eligibility to transfer their GI Bill to family members.

Previously, any active-duty member with at least six years of active service could become eligible to transfer their GI Bill benefits to family members by agreeing to an additional service commitment of at least four years.

Those who had at least 10 years of service and were barred from serving an additional four years for various administrative reasons could also be eligible if they extended their service by the maximum time allowed by their branch.

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The Defense Department has changed that, effective this coming July. After July 12, only members who have between six and 16 years of service and agree to serve an additional four years will be eligible to sign up for the GI Bill transfer program.

The exception to this rule, for those who are prevented from extending their service by an additional four years due to administrative reasons, still stands, albeit only for those members who have between 10 and 16 years of service.

Enrollment in the GI Bill transfer program must be initiated and approved while on active duty.

The ability to transfer one's GI Bill benefits to their dependents is controlled by the individual service branches and is generally used as a retention tool.

Pro Tip: If you are approved for transfer of your GI Bill benefits, you should give each of your dependents at least one month of benefits while you are on active duty. You can always modify how much benefit each dependent gets after you leave the service. However, if they aren't listed as GI Bill recipients while you are on active duty, they can't be added after you leave.

Details on GI Bill transferability.

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