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Is It True I Have to Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Myself as Noted in TAP Class?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am a US Navy Master Chief about to retire on 30 SEP 14. I already went into the website that allows transfers and transferred and received confirmation back that all 36 months of the New GI Bill was transferred to my daughter. In a recent TAP class, we were recommended to transfer at least 1 month to all eligible beneficiaries to include myself. This would allow inter transfer within once retired. I immediately questioned as my interpretation is whatever is on file as of your first day after retirement, is the official record. No changes after that. I cannot get clear cut guidance from the VA in Buffalo as it is extremely difficult to get in touch with them. My obvious concern is two-fold. I would like the benefit used as well as having a plan in case the 17 year old decides to not go to school or complete the full course. Any advice is welcome.

A: Either what was presented was wrong or you misunderstood what was said. First, you don’t have to transfer something to yourself that you already own. As a matter-of-fact I would think that it would be impossible to do that on the TEB website.

Second, you can transfer all 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse and dependent children while serving an you still retain the right to revoke and reallocate after retiring. And that is the advantage of giving each family member at least one month of entitlement before you retire. It increases your flexibility to move entitlement around after you retire.

What you can’t do after retiring is make a transfer to a family member not already having received entitlement while you were serving. For example, let’s say you were blessed with a newborn child after retiring. You could not make a transfer of benefits to that baby, because it had not received benefits from you while you were serving.

Otherwise you can revoke benefits from one family member not using them and either keep the benefits for yourself or reallocate them to another family member that either has or previously had Post 9/11 GI Bill entitlement.

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