Can I Transfer My GI Bill Benefits to My Wife or Husband?
Since it was enacted, the Post-9/11 GI Bill® has been one of the most valuable benefits and resources for military families. With student loan debt at an all-time high, the bill provides a much-needed reprieve to those who served our country.
With unpredictable changes likely on the horizon, many veterans have started looking to transfer their GI benefits to their spouse or child while the option is still available. To understand why the Post-9/11 GI Bill® exists in its current form and predict future changes to its transferability, you should know why it was enacted in the first place.
How Do I Transfer my GI Bill Benefits to My Wife or Husband?
You can transfer your benefits to your spouse or children by submitting a Transferability of Education Benefits form.
Can I Revoke My Ex-Wife’s / Ex -Husband’s GI Bill Benefits?
While these circumstances are unfortunate, transferred benefits can be revoked or adjusted at any time and includes all dependents such as a spouse or child currently receiving GI Bill Benefits.
How Do I Revoke My Ex-Wife’s /Ex-Husband’s GI Bill Benefits?
To revoke benefits to your spouse contact the Department of Veteran Affairs. If you simply wish to adjust the number of months provided to your spouse or child you can do so by re-submitting the TEB form with the adjusted number of months.
Policy Change on Transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits
Effective July 12th, 2019, eligibility to transfer GI Bill benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total active-duty or selected reserve service, as applicable. Previously, there were no restrictions on when a service member could transfer educational benefits to their family members. All approvals for transferability remain otherwise unchanged. Effectively this means servicemembers will need to start the GI Bill benefit transfer process between six and 16 years of service.
What Benefits does the Post-9/11 GI Bill® Include?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill® provides eligible military members and veterans with several useful benefits, providing help for tuition and housing.
Tuition and Fees
The bill covers tuition and fee payments up to $21,084.89 for tuition during a complete academic year. In some circumstances, non-resident students of a public Institution of Higher Learning may be eligible for additional payments.
Monthly Housing Allowance
The bill’s Monthly Housing Allowance is similar to the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 with dependents. One major difference is that the monthly rate you are eligible for is allocated based on the school’s ZIP code instead of your personal address, and paid at a percentage based on actual training time. To put it simply, full-time students will be eligible for a larger monthly housing allowance than part-time students.
GI Bill® Transferability Requirements
Unfortunately, not all military members are eligible for benefits transfer. The following are specific requirements that Post-9/11 GI Bill® eligible service members must meet in order to transfer their benefits:
Be currently on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.
Have served at least 6 years on the date that GI Bill transfer request is filed, along with agreeing to serve a minimum of 4 more years.
Have served a minimum of 10 years, but are unable to commit to 4 more years of service because of law. In order to qualify, the military member must agree to serve as long as they are legally able.
The recipient of the benefit transfer must be enrolled in DEERS.
Make Sure to Transfer BEFORE Leaving Service!
Please note that transferring GI Bill benefits to spouses or dependents must occur while you’re still a member of the armed forces.
You must make your transfer request, and the transfer must be completed, before you’ve retired, or otherwise left the service.
And that too, is a very important point, because I get literally hundreds of comments a year from people asking how to transfer their GI Bill benefits to kids and spouses after they’ve already left the service.
It’s simply NOT possible!
Additional Eligibility Factors
In addition to the eligibility guidelines listed above, there are rules for extenuating circumstances, including marriages and divorces:
GI Bill transfer rules state that children designated to receive benefits will remain eligible regardless of whether or not they get married themselves, but keep in mind that you do retain the right to revoke or modify the transfer of your benefits to your child at any time (by writing the VA).
Once you’ve been approved for transferring GI Bill benefits to your spouse, that spouse will remain eligible to receive your education benefits even if you two get divorced. However, keep in mind that you can still revoke or modify the transfer at any time, including after you’ve been divorced, or during divorce proceedings.