Can you transfer your GI Bill benefits to your spouse or children?
Yes. In June 2009, the Department of Defense outlined the rules for transferring your GI Bill benefit to your dependents, and then updated them in 2018.
Here’s what you need to know.
Who Is Eligible to Transfer GI Bill Benefits?
According to DOD, any active-duty, reserve or National Guard military member (both officer and enlisted) can transfer their GI Bill benefits if:
- They served on or after Aug. 1, 2009
- They are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill
- They have at least six years of military service on the date they elect to transfer their education benefits and agree to serve four additional years from that date
Policy Change on Transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits
DOD previously limited GI Bill benefit transfer eligibility to service members with fewer than 16 years of service. However, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act eliminated this restriction.
Service members with more than 16 years in service can still transfer their GI Bill benefits, as long as they commit to serve four more years, according to DOD.
Which Family Members Are Eligible to Receive GI Bill Benefits?
Qualifying service members can transfer their GI Bill educational assistance entitlement to:
- One or more of the service member’s children.
- A spouse.
- Any combination of spouse and child.
Eligible military members retain the right to revoke or modify their transfer at any time. In these cases, they can reapply their remaining benefits to anyone who is eligible, including themselves or their dependents.
Is Anyone Else Eligible to Use My GI Bill Benefits for Educational Assistance?
No. You can only transfer your GI Bill benefits to dependent children and spouses while they are enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS), according to DOD.
What Benefits Are Eligible for Transfer?
Eligible armed forces members may transfer all of their unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits – up to 36 months if the member has not used any of their GI Bill entitlement – including other GI Bill programs.
How Do I Transfer My GI Bill Benefits to My Spouse or Child?
To do this online, navigate to MilConnect’s benefits menu after you sign in and choose “Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB).”
Here, you can select eligible family members to receive your benefits and enter the number of months of benefits you’d like to transfer to each.
NOTE: MilConnect recommends leaving the end date blank so that the family member can use the benefit entitlement up until the latest allowable date.
Select the appropriate educational program (i.e., the Post-9/11 GI Bill Chapter 33). Read through and check off the transfer eligibility acknowledgments. Once that’s done, submit the request.
Can a Spouse Get BAH from the GI Bill?
Dependents using the GI Bill can not receive a military housing allowance (MHA) while the service member is on active duty and receiving basic allowance for housing. Eligible non-spouse dependents taking a full-time course load may receive MHA equal to the BAH for an E-5 with dependents, based on their school’s ZIP code.
How Do I Revoke My Ex-Wife’s/Ex-Husband’s GI Bill Benefits?
There are many reasons you may want to adjust or revoke a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) for any unused GI Bill benefits, and you can do so at any time.
To adjust the number of months of benefits you provided to your spouse or child or to revoke the TOE, submit an updated TEB form, or log back into MilConnect and submit your changes online.
If you have retired or separated from the military, you will need to contact the Department of Veteran Affairs to initiate this process.
Can You Transfer the Post-9/11 GI Bill After Retirement?
No. You can not transfer your GI Bill benefits after you get out of the military. Service members are only eligible to transfer their education benefits to a spouse or dependent child while they are on active duty or serving in the National Guard or reserve.
Can I Transfer the Montgomery GI Bill to My Spouse or Child?
If you entered the military before Sept. 11, 2001 but continued to serve after that date, you may be eligible for the Forever GI Bill. Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to find out if you’re eligible for the Forever GI Bill.
State vs. Federal Education Benefits for Dependents
Some states offer education tuition and fee waivers for veterans that you may qualify for, depending on your GI Bill eligibility. Others may cover college and university tuition and fees for children of veterans with service-connected disabilities. Not all states offer these benefits, and eligibility criteria may vary among states that do.
If you are ineligible to transfer benefits or you can not commit to the additional service time, talk to your dependent’s school financial aid office or student veteran center to see what’s available.
Also, check out our list of states that offer free tuition to veterans.
What Is the Best Military-Friendly College for My Spouse or Children?
Seeing how far your GI Bill benefits will go toward a degree is a good first step to choosing the right college or university. Check out our military-friendly colleges guide for more information on picking a good college for your loved ones.