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Why Can’t My Husband Transfer His GI Bill to Me?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband retired from the Navy in 2010 after 22 years of service. Why can’t he transfer his GI Bill to me?

A: If he has the Montgomery GI Bill, it never had a spousal transfer-of-benefits option to it, so there isn’t a means in place to transfer benefits to you.

Because your husband got out in 2010, he would also have eligibility under the Post 9/11 GI Bill. That GI Bill does have a spousal (and dependent) transfer-of-benefits option, but to invoke it, he would have had to make a transfer request before he got out. The way Congress worded the language, the servicemember has to be serving “on or after August 1, 2009” in order to make a transfer request.

The two other service stipulations are having served for at least six years (which your husband would have fulfilled at the time) and having at least four years left on his enlistment unless he was retirement eligible (which he would have been having served in excess of 20 years).

Note: Due to a recent change, after August 1, 2013, all servicemembers will incur a four year enlistment whether they are retirement eligible at the time or not. For those that have less than four years from reaching their High Year Tenure after August 1st, they will not be able to make a transfer of benefits request.

So he would have had to make a transfer request and get it approved well before his discharge date, but since he is already retired, it is too late.

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