Post-9/11 GI Bill: Transferability
WHAT IS TRANSFERABILITY?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows Service members to transfer unused education benefits to immediate family members. This applies to the officer or enlisted, active duty, and Selected Reserve. Qualifying immediate family members are spouses and children. The Service member must have at least six years of service and commit to an additional four years to transfer benefits. The Department of Defense sets this policy because this benefit impacts recruiting and retention.
For more information:
• Visit http://www.defense.gov. Search “Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.” (non-VA Link)
• Transfer Process – While in the armed forces, transferors will use the milConnect website to designate, modify, and revoke a Transfer of Entitlement request. https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/ (non-VA Link).
You must first be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You must also be a member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted) on or after Aug. 1, 2009, and:
• Have at least six years of military service (active duty or Selected Reserve) on the election date.
• Members must be eligible to be retained for four years from the date of election and not be precluded, before approval, by either standard policy (Service or DoD) or statute.
• Transfer requests can only be submitted and approved while on active duty.
• Effective 1/12/2020, eligibility to transfer benefits will be limited to servicemembers with at least six years but not more than 16 years of active duty or selected reserve service. So servicemembers with more than 16 years of service should transfer benefits before 1/12/2020.
Eligible Family Members
If you are approved to transfer your educational assistance benefit, you may transfer to:
• Your spouse
• One or more of your children
• Any combination of your spouse and children
• A family member must be eligible for benefits and enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS).
• A child’s marriage after receiving the benefit will not affect their eligibility. However, once you designate a child as a transferee, they retain the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
• A divorce after receiving the benefit will not affect the transferee’s eligibility. However, once you designate a spouse as a transferee, they retain the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” was signed into law on Aug. 17, 2017, and significantly changed veterans’ education benefits.
This new law states, as of Aug. 1, 2018, that Veterans who transferred entitlement to a dependent can now designate a new dependent if the original dependent dies. If the Veteran dies, a dependent who received transferred entitlement can now select a recently eligible dependent of the Veteran to transfer any of the dependent’s remaining entitlement.
Nature of Transfer
Eligible Service members may transfer up to the total months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits or 36 months if they have not used any. See the following rules and regulations for each transferee:
• May use the benefit immediately
• May use the benefit while the member stays in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty
• Is not eligible for the monthly stipend or books and supplies stipend while the member is serving on active duty
• Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the Service member separates from active duty
• May only use the benefit after the transferring Service member has served at least ten years in the Armed Forces
• May use the benefit while the eligible member remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty
• May not use the benefit until they have attained a secondary school diploma or equivalency certificate or turned 18
• Can receive the monthly stipend and books and supplies even while the eligible Service member is on active duty
• May not use the benefit after turning 26
An Education Call Center is available at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about GI Bill benefits.
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More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill