A common question that arises about the GI Bill® is can I transfer my benefits to my wife or children? Fortunately, in June 2009, the Department of Defense (D0D) outlined all transferability rules for GI Bill Benefits to dependents and these questions are now answered.
Which Armed Forces members are eligible to transfer GI Bill benefits?
- Has at least six years of service in the Armed Forces on the date of election and agrees to serve four additional years in the Armed Forces from the date of election.
- Has at least ten years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of election, is precluded by either standard policy (service or DoD) or statute from committing to four additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute
- Is or becomes retirement eligible during the period from August 1, 2009, through August 1, 2013. A service member is considered to be retirement eligible if he or she has completed twenty years of active duty or twenty qualifying years of reserve service.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement on August 1, 2009, no additional service is required.
- For those individuals who have an approved retirement date after August 1, 2009 and before July 1, 2010, no additional service is required.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement after August 1, 2009, and before August 1, 2010, 1 year of additional service after approval of transfer is required.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement on or after August 1, 2010, and before August 1, 2011, two years of additional service after approval of transfer are required.
- For those individuals eligible for retirement on or after August 1, 2011, and before August 1, 2012, three years of additional service after approval of transfer are required.
Policy Change on Transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits
Effective July 12th, 2019, eligibility to transfer GI Bill benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total active-duty or selected reserve service, as applicable. Previously, there were no restrictions on when a service member could transfer educational benefits to their family members. All approvals for transferability remain otherwise unchanged. Effectively this means servicemembers will need to start the GI Bill benefit transfer process between six and 16 years of service.
Which Family Members are Eligible to Receive GI Bill Benefits?
An individual approved to transfer an entitlement to educational assistance under this section may transfer the individual’s entitlement to:
1. One or more of the individual’s children
2. The individual’s spouse
3. Any combination of spouse and child
The eligible Armed Forces member retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time. The remaining benefits can be re-applied to anyone who is eligible including yourself or dependents.
Is Anyone Else Eligible to Use My GI Bill Benefits for Educational Assistance?
Unfortunately, no. At this time only dependent children and spouse’s who are enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) are eligible for GI Bill benefits to be transferred.
What Benefits are Eligible for Transfer?
An eligible Armed Forces member may transfer up to the total months of unused Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, or the entire 36 months if the member has used none.
How Do I Transfer my Benefits?
Benefits can be transferred by submitting a Transferability of Education Benefits form.
What is the Best Military Friendly College for my Wife or Children?
Selecting the right college is dependent on many factors but taking full advantage of your GI Bill Benefits is only the first step. Read our Military Friendly Colleges Guide for more information on selecting the right college for members of your family.
Video on transferability eligibility: Focuses on how service members can transfer benefits to their dependents, spouse or children.
Can You Transfer the Post-9/11 GI Bill After Retirement?
No, unfortunately transferability is only available while a servicemember is still on active duty plus additional stipulations which have to be met such as the dependent being registered in DEERS.
Can a spouse get BAH from the GI Bill?
GI Bill benefits cannot receive MHA while a servicemember’s are on active except for child dependents. The current amount is equal to the BAH for an E5 with dependents based on the zip code of your school (for students attending full time).
Can I Transfer the Montgomery GI Bill?
No, unfortunately, unlike the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill does not have a transfer-to-dependents option to it.