If you have served in the military, you’re likely eligible for the GI Bill, which will cover much, if not all, of the costs of a college education. But suppose you’re not looking to return to school or have completed your education before being eligible for the bill. In that case, you may have a family member who could benefit. Here is what you need to know about transferring your GI Bill:
Am I eligible?
To be eligible to transfer your benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be on active duty or in the Selected Reserve
- Have completed six years of service on the date your request is approved
- Agree to four additional years of service
If you separate from service before you meet the service requirement to transfer benefits, your dependents may still be eligible in certain situations. These circumstances include receiving a hardship discharge, having a medical condition or pre-existing disability that prevents you from performing military duties, becoming sick or injured while in service or losing your position during a reduction in force.
You may also transfer up to 36 months of your remaining education benefits to your dependents.
Who can receive my benefits?
You may only transfer your benefits to your spouse or dependent children. Spouses can utilize benefits immediately whether you’re on active duty or have separated from service. If you separated from active duty before January 1, 2013, your spouse may use these benefits for up to 15 years after your separation from active duty. If your separation occurred after January 1, 2013, your spouse can use these benefits anytime.
GI Bill benefits will not be available for your children until you’ve completed at least 10 years of service. They can use them while you’re on active duty or after you’ve separated from service. Eligible children must earn their high school diploma or equivalent or be 18 years old to claim their benefits. Children of active-duty service members must use their benefits before they turn 26 years old.
View U.S. Veterans Magazine’s extensive list of education opportunities for yourself or family members here.
If your dependent doesn’t use their transferred benefits in the required time frame, you will not automatically receive them back. You’ll need to request to transfer the benefits back to yourself or another eligible dependent in milConnect—a self-service online portal—the same website where you assigned your benefits initially.
Can I make changes?
Yes! You may revoke or change the transfer of any benefits that haven’t been awarded to your dependent yet. Using your milConnect account, you can change the number of months you are transferring to your dependents, transfer benefits back to yourself or cancel the transfer altogether. If you’re still on active duty, you may also request to transfer benefits to additional dependents.
You must request a Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) from the Department of Defense (DOD) through milConnect to transfer your benefits. Transfers cannot be requested from the VA.
Benefits and records are also managed through milConnect. You can use this portal to view your health coverage, oversee your health benefits, manage your SGLI, receive benefit updates and so much more.
To begin your transfer and for more information, visit milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect.