GI Bill Transfer Rules

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.

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Date published: May 14, 2009.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.


  1. says

    Quentin, Unfortunately, not under the current system. You would still need to be on active duty and commit to extending your service time. Thanks for your service, and best of luck!

  2. Jim M says

    28 OCT 2010

    I want to know if I can transfer my 9/11 GI Bill to a biological daughter that is now 19 and a sophomore in college, was never enrolled in DEERS and was adopted by her step-father years ago and no longer my dependent?

    I’m willing to transfer the benefit since I have no other children or spouse who could possibly take advantage of this.


    I recently received an e-mail from my ex who I haven’t heard from but once in the last 15 years that she expects me to transfer my 9/11 GI Bill benefits to my biological daughter.

    I can’t get HRC’s DEERS office to respond to several vm that I’ve left the past couple of weeks.

    According to the 9/11 GI Bill website she has to be in DEERS and a dependent.

    I’m not sure if I can enroll her now at this point since she was never enrolled in DEERS and my ex left when she was 2 years old [1993] and had her adopted by her new husband when she was 4 or 5 and therefore she’s no longer my dependent.

    If anyone can point me to a specific section of the Bill/Law that covers this unique instance that would be great or a POC; e-mail address or phone number so that I can discuss in person vs. autoresponse websites which do nothing except send me back to the GI Bill website video.

    • says

      Jim, I’m not the final authority – I recommend contacting the VA for more information. But it seems to me like it just isn’t possible if she isn’t your dependent in DEERS and has been adopted. I recommend contacting the VA and getting the rule in writing so you can forward it to your ex – that way she can’t reasonably place the blame on you.

      • Jim says

        Thanks Ryan – the VA told me to contact DEERS first – which has been a black hole so far. I’ll go online and find the nearest DEERS facility and show up to hopefully work w/someone face-to-face.

        I appreciate your reply.

  3. Amy Hoggard says

    I wanted to find out if I can use the GI BIll that my husband already transferred to me on a certificate program…mainly a paramedic certification, or is it strictly for asscociates degrees.

  4. Jose S says

    I have been in the service for 2 years and I was wondering if there was any way of transferring my GI bill to my wife for school before I hit 6 years in the service.

  5. Shannon Nabors says

    Hi, Is the Post 9/11 GI Bill the only one you can transfer? My husband has been in Army Reserve for 20 years but no active duty so would he even be eligible for this?

    • says

      Shannon, Based on the information I have, the only GI Bill benefits that can be transferred are the Post-9-11 GI Bill benefits. If your husband has spent time on Active Duty since the 9-11 attacks, he may qualify for the Post-9-11 GI Bill. I recommend he look into it by contacting his education or personnel department. Best of luck!

  6. Joseph Hals says

    I completed 20 years of service on April 31st of 1998. I originally entered the service on July 31 of 1974, My child is i her second year of college. Can I transfer my GI Bill to her? V/R Joseph Hals

    • says

      Joseph, Most likely not, as you need to be active duty to be able to transfer your GI Bill. Additionally, if you fall under the Montgomery GI Bill, you would need to use your benefit within 10 years of separation from the service. You may contact the VA if you need more information or clarification. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  7. Sara says

    My husband only has 6 months left of benefits from his active duty Gi bill. Does he get more money for his reserve gi bill? How does that work?

    • says

      Sara, Active Duty GI Bill and Reserve GI Bill are very different benefits. It also depends on whether he is using the Montgomery GI Bill, or the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If he is using the Montgomery GI Bill, he may be able to switch to the Post-9/11 GI Bill to gain several more months of benefits. My recommendation is to have him call a GI Bill representative at the VA so they can access his records and give him specific information to his situation.

    • says

      Johnny, There is a time limit to use the GI Bill, and in most cases it expires within 10 years of separating from the service. I recommend contacting the VA if you believe you have benefits which you may still be eligible for. The VA can look up your specific case and give you the relevant information you need.

      Thanks for your service.

  8. amber lynch says

    Need to update information or atleast put everything on here it says can’t receive after 26. That is false because you can’t receive the day you are 23.unless already enrolled. Sucks for people that just found it can be transferred and my 23rd birthday was in Nov.

  9. Jennifer says

    My husband is getting ready to transfer more of his GI Bill to me so I can finish my degree. What happens to the months he transfers me that I do not use/won’t need? Does he have to transfer them back to himself, cancel what I have left so they go back to him, or what? Thanks!

  10. Jeff Lagasse says

    I was active duty army from 1992-2003. Can i transfer my GI Bill to my son. He was born while i was on active duty therefore enrolled in DEERS.

    • says

      Jeff, Based on the information I have, GI bill transfers are only available as a retention tool and can only be transferred when the military members is still serving. Service members generally have to reenlist for a certain amount of time to be eligible to transfer benefits. I don’t believe it is possible to transfer your benefits after you have separated from the service. It may be possible to join the Guard or Reserves and transfer your benefits through your service commitment with the Reserve Corps.

      You may also wish to contact the VA for more information about your options. Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

  11. Lauren says

    What happens when you are medically retired due to a disability and are unable to either go to school due to that disability or re-enlist? This is the case with my husband, he was temporarily retired in 2008 and that temporary retirement became permanent during 2012. Are there options for him to transfer his GI Bill benefits at this time?

  12. Octavia says

    I have always wanted to transfer my Montgomery Bill over to my daughter for when it came time for her collage needs. MY estimated ETS date is in 2016 and I found out very recently she is graduating a year early from high school. How do I do this? If I have to enlist a few more years to do so then I will her collage education is very important to me. I look forward to your response.

    Thank you.

    • says

      Octavia, Currently only the Post-9/11 GI Bill is eligible to be transferred, but you may be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, depending on your service dates. Each branch has different rules regarding GI Bill transfers, so you will need to contact your education office for specific information.

  13. Jacob says

    My fiance’s has been using the G.I bill that her mom transferred to her. her mom just retired. My question is can she keep using the G.I bill if we get married since its already been transferred to her. I am also in the military.

    • says

      Jacob, If the GI Bill was transferred to her in full, then being married shouldn’t prohibit her from using the benefit. She should be able to continue using it. If you have specific questions, I recommend contacting the VA so they can look into her account and give you answers tailored to her specific situation.

  14. Shelby Jones says

    I am engaged to a Sailor. my dad transferred his GI Bill to Me. I Start college August 26th . Will I lose the BAH if we get Married? we won’t get married till February.
    thank you all!

    • says

      Here is what I read about the BAH eligibility:

      “Active duty servicemembers and spouses of active duty servicemembers using transferred entitlement cannot receive BAH, however, Veterans, their spouses and dependents can receive BAH.”

      I take this to mean that you can receive BAH benefits until you become married to an active duty service member, at which point the BAH would stop. However, I recommend contacting the VA to verify.

  15. Jasmine McGraw says

    My dad did 20 years in the navy, I was wondering since I’ve gotten married am I still eligible to use my military benefits or am I cut off now. I’m 21 years old.

    • says

      Jasmine, Thank you for contacting me. Typically the military benefits eligibility for dependent children are cut off when the child marries. There may be some exceptions, such as if your father transferred GI Bill benefits to you before he retired and before you were married. Otherwise, it is unlikely you are eligible for benefits. Thanks, and best wishes to you and your family!

  16. Amy says

    My daughters biological father served for 20 years and retired in aug 2013.
    My daughter is going to graduate June 2016. Can she use his GI bill for college?

    • says

      Amy, The GI Bill can be transferred, but this benefit is used as a retention tool. The benefit must be done while the servicemember is still on active duty, or in the Guard or Reserves. If the servicemember didn’t transfer his benefits while he was still in the military, then he can no longer do so.

  17. Joseph says

    I have over 10 years in. Do I have to tranfer my GI BILL to my kids while on active duty if I will go into the National Guard once I ETS from active duty? In addition I will have a GS job, if that counts for anything.

    • says

      Joseph, Thank you for contacting me. If you transfer your GI Bill while on active duty, you will incur an additional service commitment – so you would be required to remain on active duty. You can transfer the GI Bill after you join the Guard. You will still incur a service commitment, but it will be in the Guard, not for active duty. Since you will likely be serving that amount of time anyway, you won’t have to add much, if anything to your Guard contract. Just be sure to do the transfer as soon as you can. That way you won’t have to extend your initial Guard contract. Hope that helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  18. H. Morgan says

    My son’s father spent 20+ years in the Air Force and still has $ left under his Montgomery GI Bill; I am trying to figure out if he is eligible to transfer it to our son? His father retired in Aug 2009 and our son is going into his 3rd year of college. Can you lead me in the right direction of what entity of the VA I should be contacting to find out if it is possible?

    • says

      H. Morgan, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer the Montgomery GI Bill to a family member. the only GI Bill that can be transferred is the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and it can only be transferred while the member is still serving. Sorry to be the bearer or bad news.

  19. M. Gray says

    My husband retired national guard in 2012. I dont believe he transfered the bill to our children prior to retiring though. He says the question never came up? What is the process to get this fixed? Otherwise, this benefit will go to waste because he doesnt plan on using it.

  20. Scott says

    Hello Ryan, I Retired ARNG 2006 and Iraq Veteran with the post 911 certificate in hand for myself only. In 2008 post 911 G.I. bill was extended to family member. Do you if any changes where made? I have been trying to get hold of the VA and my eBenefits page is giving a hard time getting in. Thank-You.

    • says

      Scott, the ability to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members is a retention tool, and requires the servicemember to sign on for additional years of service before he or she can transfer the benefits. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits if you have already retired.

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