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Post 911 GI Bill Changes – Transferring Benefits to Spouse & Dependents

Post 9/11 GI Bill Updates

If you as a service member can receive the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you might be able to transfer all or part of the bill to your spouse or your children, or both.

In July, the DOD announced that there would be changes with who can transfer their Post 9/11 GI Bill.

Here is what you need to know.

What is the change to the Post-9/11 GI Bill?

The ability to be able to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits will be limited to service members that have less than 16 years of total active-duty or selected reserve service.

Before this change, there were no restrictions on when a service member could transfer educational benefits to their family members.

When does the change go into effect?

July 12, 2019, one year after the announcement.

If you are at 16 years or close to hitting that, now is the time to make a decision about if or who you will transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill to.

What are the rest of the qualifications to be able to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill?

  • All service members, in all branches, including the Coast Guard, the US Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • The service member needs to have at least 6 years of service as an active member of the armed forces on the date of approval.
  • The service member must agree to serve an additional 4 years in the armed forces from the date of election.
  • The service member must have at least 10 years of service in the armed forces on the date of approval, is precluded by either the standard policy or the statute from committing to four additional years, and agree to serve for the maximum amount of time that is allowed by the policy or the statute.
  • Th requests for transfer are needed to be submitted and approved while the service member is still serving in the armed forces.
  • If a service member can’t fulfill 4 years because of a “force shaping” or other involuntary separation, the service member would retain the eligibility to transfer education benefits.

What Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits can be transferred?

  • The service member can transfer all or some of their unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children.
  • The GI Bill can be transferred to the spouse, one or more of the children, or a combination of spouse and child.
  • The family member must be registered in DEERS and be eligible for benefits.

What else is there to know about transferring your Post 9/11 GI Bill?

  • The DOD will determine whether or not the service member can transfer their GI Bill.
  • Once the DOD approves, whoever the service member transferred their GI Bill to can apply at the VA.
  • The service member will need to use the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) to designate, modify or revoke a Transfer of Entitlement Request (TOE).
  • After leaving the armed forces, the service member can provide a future effective date for the use of the TOE, modify the number of months transferred, or revoke entitlement transferred by submitting a written request to the VA.
  • After approval, the family member needs to apply to use the benefits with the VA by applying online or by printing, completing and mailing the VA Form 22-1990e to their VA Regional processing office of jurisdiction.
  • If a child of a service member gets married, they will still be eligible for the benefits, however, the service member does retain the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
  • If a spouse gets divorced from the service member, that will also not affect the benefit, but the service member retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.

Are there any specific rules family members have to follow when the GI Bill gets transferred to them?


  • Can use the benefit immediately.
  • May use the benefit while the member remains in the armed forces, or after they separate from active duty.
  • Are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance if their service member is on active duty.
  • If their service member’s last discharge was before January 1, 2013, you have up to 15 years after their last separation from active duty. If their last discharge was after January 1st, 2013, there is no time limit for those benefits.


  • Can only use the benefit after the service member has completed ten years of service in the armed forces.
  • May use the benefit while the service member is in the armed forces or after separation from the army.
  • Can’t use the benefit until they have received a secondary school diploma or equivalent, or they have reached the age of 18.
  • Are entitled to the monthly housing allowance stipend even though the eligible individual is on active duty.
  • Are not subject to the 15-year date, but they can’t use the benefit after they turn 26 years of age.

As you can see, transferring your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit can be a great way to help your spouse or your child go to school.

If you are close to that 16 years, make plans to get your bill transferred soon, so you don’t miss out on this benefit once the terms change in 2019.





About the author

Lori Waddell serves as Co-director of an emergency response COAD in Montana, a freelance writer, and an Air Force Key Spouse. She is passionate about empowering communities and individuals through knowledge and resources. She currently lives in Montana with her husband and two children.