Transfer Your Post-911 GI Bill

Student in a library.

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 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.

Who Can Transfer Their GI Bill Benefits?

Any active military member or member of the Selected Reserve who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill who:

  • Completes at least 6 years of service on the date the request is approved, and
  • Agrees to add 4 more years of service
  • Is eligible to be retained for four years from the date of election to transfer benefits, and not be precluded from serving the four additional years prior to approval by policy or statute.

You MUST transfer benefits while on active duty or serving in the Selected Reserve.

Who Can Receive Transferred GI Bill Benefits?

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.

If your child gets married, it doesn't affect their eligibility to receive the transferred benefits.

If you get divorced, your ex-spouse can still use the transferred benefits.

You can take away or change the transferred benefits to any dependent at any time.

How to Transfer Your Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

You can only apply to transfer benefits while you are on active duty or serving in the Selected Reserve. You should apply either online at the DMDC Website or by following your service's instructions.

After leaving the military you can make changes to the amount of GI Bill transferred to each dependent by contacting the VA.

Details on Using Transferred GI Bill Benefits

You can transfer any remaining portion of your GI Bill entitlement. If you haven't used any, you can transfer it all.

Pro-tip: While you are on active duty or serving in the Selected Reserve, you should give each of your dependents at least one month of transferred GI Bill. This gets them in the system. You can always add or subtract entitlements after you get out. But, if you don't add them into the system with at least one month of entitlement while you are on active duty or in the Selected Reserve, you are out of luck later. You won't be able to add them.

A spouse:

  • May start to use their benefits immediately
  • May use their benefits while you are in service or after you get out
  • Can't get the monthly housing allowance while you are on active duty
  • If you got out of of the military before Jan. 1, 2013, they have 15 years from your discharge to use their benefits. If you get out after that, there is no time limit

A child:

  • May start to use their benefits only after you have completed at least 10 years of service
  • May use their benefits while you are on active duty or after you get out
  • Can't use their benefits until they have a high-school diploma or certificate, or they have turned 18
  • Can get the monthly housing allowance even though you are on active duty
  • Can use the transferred benefits only until they are 26 years old.

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Subscribe to to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues
Education Veteran Benefits