Transferring GI Bill® Benefits to a Spouse or Children
A GI Bill® transfer is transfer of ownership of GI Bill® education benefits from a service member to another eligible family member. Read on to learn about qualification requirements and the actual process of transferring GI Bill® benefits.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). More information about educational benefits offered by the VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
Post 9/11 GI Bill® Transfer
The following active service members may be eligible to transfer GI Bill benefits:
- Current active duty members having served at least six years
- Select Reservists having served at least six years and having at least minimal Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility (40% or more earned from deployments)
All unused 36 months, or any remaining portion, may be transferred to an eligible individual or multiple individuals.
In addition, the servicemember must agree to serve an additional four years at the time of the transfer request. A request must be made and approved while the service member is still serving in the Armed Forces of the United States. For qualified servicemembers, a good rule of thumb is to make their transfer requests at least one year out from separation or retirement. This ensures the transfers will be approved before getting out.
It is also a good idea to request a transfer of at least one month of entitlement for each eligible family member while still serving. Doing this increases flexibility as far as moving benefits around after getting out.
Alternately, if precluded from extending a service obligation due to service branch or statute limitations, the serving member must have at least ten years of service at the time of the transfer request(s).
Who Can GI Bill Benefits be Transferred to?
- Recipients of a GI Bill transfer of benefits are limited to an eligible spouse or dependent child(ren) of the currently serving military member who meet eligibility requirements for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
- Ex-spouses and children no longer defined as dependent according to the IRS tax stipulations are not considered eligible recipients and would not be approved for a transfer of benefits.
Transfer and Use of Benefit Rules for the Recipient
The rules for a Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer are different depending on who is receiving the benefits.
How to Transfer GI Bill Benefits to a Qualifying Family Member
Before a transfer of benefits request can be submitted, the eligible recipient must be enrolled in DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System). Most family members are already enrolled, but if not, they must apply and already be in the DEERS database at the time of the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer of benefits request.
An easy way to tell which family members are enrolled in DEERS is to log into the milConnect website with a Common Access Card, DoD Self-Service Logon or myPay credentials.
- STEP 1
Once logged in, click on the Transfer My Education Benefits from the I Want To … menu and follow the prompts.
- STEP 2
When the TEB portlet page displays, family members enrolled in DEERS will be shown in the List of Family Members.
- STEP 3
Those not enrolled in DEERS will have the word “ineligible” to the right of the Relation column.
To make a transfer request from that same website:
- STEP 1
Find the family member listed.
- STEP 2
Click on the Months drop-down menu and select the number of months to transfer.
- STEP 3
Repeat this process for each family member destined to receive a GI Bill transfer of benefits.
- STEP 4
Select the Post 9/11 GI Bill from Select the educational program from which to transfer benefits.
- STEP 5
Read each statement in the Transferability of Education Benefits Acknowledgement section and select all the boxes once all statements are understood.
- STEP 6
Click on the Submit Request button.
- STEP 7
Once the transfer request submission is complete, a confirmation message will display.
- STEP 8
The Status block should now show Submitted. The Status Date will be blank until the request is approved.
Using the Transferred GI Benefit
- The sponsor must keep checking back at the Transfer of Benefits section of the milConnect website and look for the Status block to change to Request Approved and an approval date to populate the Status Date block.
- Before the family member can use the transferred benefits, they must first request a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) by calling the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-GIBILL1, or downloading and filling out VA Form 22-1990E and sending it in to the Regional VA Office servicing the sponsor’s region, or completing the request online.
- When enrolling in school as a GI Bill student, a copy of the COE must be turned in at the time of registering for classes.
Other Factors Affecting Transfer Benefits
There are several other factors that can impact either the transfer or use of benefits including:
- Change of marital status
- Reallocation of benefits
- Conditions at the time of use
Education Opportunities Covered by Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Benefits
A family member having a Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer of benefits can use them for most of the same programs covered by other GI Bills. Training must be conducted at a VA-approved education facility but the course of study can be either at a degree-producing school (including graduate) or a non-degree facility, including vocational, technical, flight, on-the-job and apprenticeships.
A GI Bill transfer of benefits can also be used as reimbursement for the cost of certain license, certification or certificate tests, along with paying for training. Also, certain college entrance tests are covered, like the GMAT.
- Changes to Forever GI Bill
Managed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, this is an up-to-date resource on upcoming changes to the Post 9/11 GI Bill including a section on the transfer of benefits.
- Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB)
A downloadable PDF that has a very detailed section on the process of transferring benefits. It breaks the process down into what must be done in each step.
- Transferring the GI Bill: Spouses and Dependents
This is an informational guide from Drexel University on the Post 9/11 GI Bill and transfer of benefits. It can be downloaded as a PDF, and posted as an infographic.
- Transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits
This information comes from the Vets.gov website and includes a more detailed use of benefits. It includes contact information on each branch of service including the National Guard, Reserves, NOAA and PHS services.