There is good news for those of you out there who bought into the GI Bill when you signed up for the military – you may be eligible to transfer your GI Bill to a spouse or child.
Who can transfer GI Bill benefits
You can only transfer GI Bill benefits if you are eligible for the Post 9-11 GI Bill and you meet one of the following criteria:
- At least 6 years of service on date of GI Bill transfer request, and you agree to serve 4 more years.
- Have at least 10 years service and cannot serve 4 more years because of policy or law, but you agree to serve as long as you are able by law or policy (this can come into play for high year tenure rules).
- Are retirement eligible from August 1, 2009 through August 1, 2012. (Member must sign up for one more year of service starting from the date the GI Bill benefits are transferred).
Who can receive transferred GI Bill benefits
GI Bill benefits can only be transferred to eligible spouses or children, who must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (EDERS).
- Can receive benefits immediately (starting August 1, 2009).
- Can use benefits for up to 15 years after the service member separates from active duty.
- May still use the benefits after a divorce if the military member agrees.
- Spouses will not receive a monthly housing or book stipend while member is on active duty.
- Can use benefits after the service member completes at least 10 years of service.
- Can use the benefits while the service member remains on active duty or after the member separates.
- Is eligible to receive a monthly housing or book stipend while member is on active duty.
- May receive benefits after marriage.
- Cannot use benefits unless they have a high school diploma or equivalent, or reach age 18.
- Cannot receive benefits after age 26.
Other important GI Bill Transfer notes
The military member can transfer up to 36 months of GI Bill benefits and can allocate them among eligible recipients at any time (but only once per month). The service member may also cancel a family member’s use of the benefits at any time. The benefits belong to the service member, and the intent of the GI Bill transfer program is not to change that.
The purpose of the GI Bill Transfer program
The goal of the GI Bill transfer program is to keep mid-career military members in uniform, which is why there are minimum service requirements and why the GI Bill transfer program requires military members to incur more service time. This will not affect military members who are eligible for the Post 9-11 GI Bill, but who have already separated or retired from active duty.