How to Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits
It is not possible to simply choose to transfer your GI Bill benefit to a spouse or dependent; you must meet certain requirements and agree to a new military service commitment for your request to be approved. You must be on active duty to request a GI Bill transfer.
You should also know that the Department of Veterans Affairs does not have the power to approve or deny your GI Bill transfer request. The DoD sets and enforces policy in this area.
You are allowed to apply to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. You cannot transfer Montgomery GI Bill benefits.
Who Qualifies to Transfer the GI BIll?
You may qualify to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits if you’re on active duty or serve in the Selected Reserve, and:
- You’ve completed 6 years or more of qualifying service on the date your request is approved.
- You agree to a four-year service commitment as a condition of approval.
- The person you are transferring your benefits to is enrolled in DEERS.
If your spouse or dependent is not registered in DEERS, they cannot receive the transferred benefit.
Your spouse or dependent child may qualify for up to 36 months of benefits, including tuition, a housing stipend, plus funds for books and supplies.
Related: Who Qualifies for the Fry Scholarship?
How to Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits
You must apply for a transfer before retiring or separating from military service. You must have the transfer fully approved while you are still on duty.
Submit transfer applications through the Department of Defense milConnect portal, you will not make this request through the VA. Follow the following steps to begin transferring your Post-9/11 GI Bill:
- Log into to milConnect
- Select Transfer My Education Benefits.
- Apply online for the transfer approval.
- Apply for any “retainability” needed to qualify, meaning you agree to reenlist or to extend a commission for another four years.
- Wait for notification of DoD approval.
Transferring the benefit means choosing a family member or multiple family members. Did you know you can agree to split the benefit in any combination? However, 36 months is still the limit for the entire benefit.
Specifying an End Date
When filling out the form, you may be asked to specify an end date for the transferred benefit.
The VA official site advises applicants to leave the End Date blank, “as the system will provide the latest legal end date allowed.”
Once you specify an end date, the VA cannot extend it. Once you are approved for the transfer, your dependents or spouse may begin the application process for the GI Bill benefit itself…but not before.
When you get your approval, family members may apply for the GI Bill online at the VA official site or by mail. Fill out VA Form 22-1990E and mail it to your nearest VA regional office.
After Your Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer Is Approved
Once the transfer is approved and your spouse or dependent children have applied for the GI Bill itself, there are guidelines for how the benefit can be used. They include but may not be limited to the following:
- Spouses may use GI Bill immediately while the service member is still on active duty or after separating from service.
- The benefit is offered for up to 15 years after the servicemember retires or separates.
- No monthly housing allowance is paid for those using the GI Bill while the servicemember is still on active duty.
- School-age dependents can use transferred benefits only after the servicemember completes 10 years of service.
- The benefit cannot be used until the student has earned a high school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or has turned 18 years old.
- Dependent children may qualify for the monthly housing allowance even when the servicemember is still on active duty.
- The dependent must use the benefit before turning 26 years old.
Related: Education Benefits for Disabled Veterans
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.