How To Transfer GI Bill Benefits To Your Spouse: A Step-By-Step Process
Career Opportunities

How To Transfer GI Bill Benefits To Your Spouse: A Step-By-Step Process

Veterans and their families sometimes find it difficult to navigate the benefits available to them, but transferring GI Bill benefits to a spouse is a valuable opportunity that can provide significant educational support. Specifically, the ability to transfer GI Bill benefits to a spouse not only honors the service of the military member but also fosters the educational and career aspirations of their partner.

This article will guide you through the process step-by-step.

Definition Of Transferring GI Bill Benefits To Spouse

Transferring GI Bill benefits to a spouse allows eligible service members to allocate their unused Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their partners. This transfer can cover expenses such as tuition, housing, books, and other educational fees.

Qualifications For Transferability

To be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, service members must have served at least 90 days on active duty after September 10, 2001, or have been honorably discharged with a service-connected disability after 30 continuous days of service. This bill also extends to dependents of service members.[1]

Eligibility Requirements Of Service Member

To transfer GI Bill benefits, service members must meet the following criteria:

  • Completion of at least six years of service on the date the transfer request is approved.
  • An agreement to add four more years of service.
  • The service member must be on active duty or in the Selected Reserve at the time of the request.

Eligibility Requirements Of Dependent Spouse

For a spouse to be eligible to receive transferred benefits, they must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).[3] Spouses can use the benefits immediately if the service member is on active duty or after separation from service. However, they are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the service member is on active duty.

Eligibility Requirements For Unused Benefits

Service members can transfer up to 36 months of their remaining education benefits. If the service member received a Purple Heart, they are exempt from the service requirement but must request the transfer while still on active duty.

Fast Facts

Active duty service members post-9/11 can transfer their GI Bill benefits to family, offering them higher education opportunities and showcasing the Post-9/11 GI Bill’s unique family benefits.

Transferring GI Bill Benefits To Spouse Process

The process of transferring benefits is a journey of several steps, each with its own importance. We’ll guide you through each phase, from gathering documents to submitting your request, ensuring you know what to expect at every turn.

Required Documents For Transferring GI Bill Benefits To Spouse

To initiate the transfer of GI Bill benefits to your spouse, you will need the following documents:

  • Proof Of Service: Documentation showing you have completed at least six years of service.
  • Service Agreement: A signed statement agreeing to serve an additional four years.
  • DEERS Enrollment: Verification that your spouse is enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
  • Transfer Of Education Benefits (TEB) Application: A completed TEB application through milConnect.

Steps Involved In Transferring GI Bill Benefits To Spouse

  • Log Into milConnect: Access the milConnect website and navigate to the TEB section.
  • Enter Information: Provide the required information about the service member and the spouse.
  • Specify Benefit Allocation: Decide how many months of benefits you wish to transfer.
  • Submit The Request: Review and submit your transfer request.
  • Monitor Status: Keep track of your request status through milConnect and follow up as necessary.

Timeframe For Processing A Transfer Request

The processing time for a GI Bill benefit transfer request can vary. However, it is essential to submit the request well in advance of when the benefits will be needed for educational purposes. Regularly check milConnect for updates on the status of your request.

Standard Policy Regarding Transferability Option

The standard policy for transferring GI Bill benefits to a spouse includes the following:

  • The service member must have at least six years of service and commit to an additional four years.
  • The spouse must be enrolled in DEERS to be eligible.
  • The service member can transfer up to 36 months of benefits.
  • Transferred benefits can be used for tuition, housing (when applicable), books, supplies, and other educational fees.
  • The service member can revoke or change the transfer before the benefits are awarded.
  • If the service member does not fulfill the service requirement, the dependents may still be eligible under certain conditions.

It is crucial to stay informed about the policies and procedures related to the transferability of GI Bill benefits to ensure a smooth and successful transfer to your spouse.

Post-9/11 GI Bill Vs. Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB)

When it comes to educational benefits for veterans, the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) are two of the most prominent programs.[2] Each has unique features and benefits tailored to different service periods and educational goals.

Difference In Educational Benefit Coverage Between Post-9/11 And MGIB Programs

Post-9/11 GI Bill:

Designed for those who served on active duty after September 10, 2001.

  • Covers tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance, and a stipend for books and supplies.
  • Benefits can be transferred to spouses or dependents.
  • Offers the Yellow Ribbon Program to help cover the costs that exceed the tuition and fees at public colleges or the national maximum rate at private colleges.
  • Provides the option for a $600 Buy-Up program, which can increase the monthly education benefit.
  • Includes the Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship for eligible veterans or dependents using the Fry Scholarship.

Montgomery GI Bill Active Duty (MGIB-AD):

  • Available for those who served at least two years on active duty.
  • Provides a set monthly rate paid directly to the veteran for a maximum of 36 months, which can be used for degree and certificate programs, flight training, apprenticeship/on-the-job training, and correspondence courses.
  • Does not include provisions for housing or books.
  • Benefits cannot be transferred to family members.

Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR):

  • Aimed at members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard, or Air National Guard.
  • Offers education and training benefits to eligible members of the Selected Reserve.
  • Like MGIB-AD, it does not cover housing or books and cannot be transferred to dependents.

The choice between the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill will depend on individual circumstances, including the period of service, the type of education or training being pursued, and whether there is a desire to transfer benefits to family members.

Fast Facts

Spouses can access GI benefits right away if the service member is currently active duty, or they can do so after the service member has separated from service.

Education Programs Covered By The Post-9/11 GI Bill

The Post-9/11 GI Bill offers a comprehensive range of benefits that cover various educational programs. Here’s a breakdown of what types of education and training are supported:

  • Undergraduate And Graduate Degrees: Full support for tuition and fees for those seeking higher education degrees.
  • Vocational/Technical Training: Coverage for non-college degree programs that provide vocational and technical training.
  • On-The-Job Training/Apprenticeships: Benefits can be applied to training programs that offer practical, hands-on experience in a work setting.
  • Flight Training: The GI Bill covers flight training fees for those pursuing an aviation career.
  • Correspondence Training: For those who prefer or require distance learning, correspondence training is covered.
  • Licensing And Certification Test Fees: The GI Bill will reimburse the cost of approved licensing and certification tests.
  • National Testing Programs: This includes fees for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GMAT, or GRE.
  • Tutorial Assistance: If you’re struggling with your studies, the GI Bill provides funds for tutorial assistance.
  • Entrepreneurship Training: For veterans interested in starting their own businesses, the GI Bill covers entrepreneurship training programs.
  • Work-Study Programs: This benefit provides an additional allowance for those who take on a work-study job in a VA facility or other approved institution.
  • Tuition Assistance Top-Up: For those who need additional funds to cover tuition costs that exceed what is covered by tuition assistance.
  • Independent And Distance Learning: For students taking independent study programs or online courses.

These benefits are designed to provide veterans with the flexibility to choose the educational path that best suits their career goals and personal circumstances. Whether it’s a traditional college degree, a technical certification, or an entrepreneurial endeavor, the Post-9/11 GI Bill supports veterans in their pursuit of knowledge and professional development.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following answers will help you better understand how to transfer GI Bill benefits to your spouse.

Can GI Bill benefits be transferred to a spouse after the service member has retired?

Yes, but the service member must have initiated the transfer while still on active duty or in the Selected Reserve.

How long does a spouse have to use the transferred GI Bill benefits?

The spouse has 15 years from the date of the service member’s retirement to use the transferred benefits.

Can a spouse receive the monthly housing allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill while the service member is still active?

No, the monthly housing allowance is not available to the spouse while the service member is still active.

Is it possible to revoke the transfer of GI Bill benefits to a spouse?

Yes, the service member can revoke or modify the transfer of benefits at any time, provided the benefits have not yet been used.

What is the difference between the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill generally offers more comprehensive benefits, including tuition and fees, a housing allowance, and a books and supplies stipend, and it allows for the transfer of benefits to dependents. The Montgomery GI Bill provides a set monthly rate for educational purposes but does not cover additional expenses like housing.

Are there any educational programs that the Post-9/11 GI Bill does not cover?

The Post-9/11 GI Bill covers a wide range of educational programs, but it may not cover certain non-accredited courses, and some limitations apply to licensing and certification tests.

Transferring GI Bill Benefits To A Spouse

Transferring GI Bill benefits to a spouse is a process that embodies both generosity and foresight. It is a tangible expression of support for the educational and professional development of military families. As we’ve explored the various facets of this process, it’s clear that while the journey requires attention to detail and adherence to policy, the outcome can be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re a service member planning for the future or a spouse aspiring to further your education, the GI Bill stands as a testament to the nation’s gratitude for your service and commitment. 

Find out how to maximize your benefits with the GI Bill calculator by checking out our detailed guide. Explore our extensive resources and guides at Go Degree to learn more.