Sharing the Benefit
How to Transfer Your Post-9/11 GI Bill
Serve 36 months in the Navy, and get 36 months of education benefits: in-state tuition, housing stipend, books- the whole shebang.
There are several critical rules to follow to properly transfer your educational benefits, and I'll explain the exact steps, but first, it's worth noting that transferring the GI Bill can also be understood as "sharing" the benefit and gives the benefit a lot of fluidity.
Here are some hypothetical examples of ways you can share this benefit:
- You can transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill to your child.
- You can have another child and transfer half the benefit to your new child, so they each have 18 months respectively, assuming you don't play favorites.
- You can decide both your children are equally undeserving, and transfer the benefit back to yourself.
- You can apply for the Career Intermission Pilot Program, use half of your benefit to finish up your bachelor's degree, return to service and give the rest to your spouse.
- Your spouse can use four months of the benefit to get a medical technologist certificate, and you can transfer the last 14 months back to your two children, who both seem a little more focused these days.
These examples may not apply to you and your family, but these hypothetical examples are just to give you an idea of what is possible.
Picture your 36 months of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit as three dozen eggs, and when you transfer your benefit, you're free to divide those "eggs" among your dependent's (or your own) baskets as you see fit, with the option to redistribute as your circumstances change.
None of this flexibility, however, is part of the standard package. Transferring the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a retention tool that requires, at a minimum, a four-year commitment on top of six years of service.
Here are the basic eligibility rules to transfer your benefits, broken down by enlisted Sailors and officers:
- Complete at least six years of service.
- Have four or more years of service remaining on your enlistment contract, or reenlist so that your EAOS (end of obligated service) date is at least four years away. You will have 30 days from the date of reenlistment to apply to transfer your benefits.
- Have at least one eligible dependent properly registered in DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System). Eligible dependents include a spouse or a child between the ages of 0 to 22. Note that children can't use the benefit beyond age 26.
- Complete six years of service.
- Be eligible for partial or full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
- Use a Page 13 entry to sign an agreement to serve an additional four years.
- Have at least one eligible dependent properly registered in DEERS.
- If you meet these criteria, and want the flexibility to distribute this benefit among your family members, then it's time to submit an application to transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit.
Ensure the requirements mentioned above are documented accurately in your Electronic Service Record and DEERS.
1. Sign in to the MilConnect website and complete a transfer of education benefits request.
2. It's strongly recommended to assign at least one month of benefits to each eligible family member to ensure ease of redistribution as your situation dictates.
3. Submit the application and look for the status to read "Submitted."
4. If the application doesn't show as "Submitted," there may be an error in your records. Correct any issues using MilConnect's step-by-step guide and reapply.
5. Check back in five working days. The status should read "Request Approved."
6. If your status reads "Request Rejected," consult your career counselor to correct any issues and reapply.
Once you complete the process to transfer the benefit one time, you will not need to reapply or reenlist to redistribute your 36 months between your dependents and yourself, or add additional eligible dependents. However, you can't add additional dependents after separating from service, hence the recommendation to assign one month to each eligible dependent.
You may redistribute or revoke these benefits from your dependents at any time by accessing the MilConnect website.
These rules also apply to Reserve Component Sailors eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Each Sailor will have a unique situation and set of goals, and there are important considerations when deciding how to best use your transferred Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
Here are a few more items to consider:
- If your spouse is using the benefit while you are still on active duty, they will not receive a housing stipend. Your child in the same scenario would receive the housing stipend.
- Spouses have 15 years from the date you separate to use the benefit.
- Children do not have a 15-year time limit, but can't use the benefit beyond age 26.
- Spouses may use the benefit immediately after your transfer request is approved.
- Children can use the benefit only after you have completed at least 10 years of service.
- Divorce will not automatically revoke transferred benefits, but you have the right to revoke transferred benefits at any time.
To get more information, visit the Post-9/11 GI Bill transfer FAQ on MilConnect or contact Veterans Affairs at 1-888-442-4551.