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How Can I Transfer Some of My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to My Sister?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My sister is in need of 3 semesters of benefits to complete her degree but has no way to afford tuition. How can I transfer her some of my post 9-11 GI Bill? I keep hearing it can’t be done but my years in the army taught me that there is a waiver for anything. Can you help me get on the right path please.

A: Unfortunately, this is one time when a waiver doesn’t exist. According to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the recipient of transferred benefits has to be a dependent of the sponsor earning the benefits. So you can transfer to a spouse or dependent biological, adopted or legally adopted step-children, but you can’t transfer benefits in your case to your sister. Others have asked about transferring benefits to grandchildren and that is not authorized either.

It really is a shame the transfer rules are so restrictive, especially if the sponsor has no intentions of using the remaining benefits since they will expire 15 years from the sponsor’s date of discharge. But those are the rules with no exceptions or waivers.

I’m a firm believer in the saying “Where there is a will, there is a way”. There are many sources of financial support available that could pay or at least help pay for your sister’s remaining three semesters. One of the best places to start is to have her fill out a FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

By filling it out and sending it in, she will know what and how much she would qualify for in scholarships and grants of which neither have to be paid back. It takes some research to find financial aid, but lots of it is out there and much of it is never used.

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