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Will I Lose the Remaining Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferred Benefit?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retire effective tomorrow. I transferred my 36 months of education  benefits under Post 9/11 GI Bill to one of my daughters who will not use all the benefits. Will I lose the remaining benefit or will it go back to me? I understand after separating or retiring, I can’t transfer.

A: You got caught up in a matter of term definitions. However, you are correct in saying after retiring or separating, you can’t make a Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer.

But, what you are doing after having made a transfer, retiring and wanting to take back unused transferred benefits is revoking them, which is different than transferring. Once retired, you always retain the right to revoke and reallocate unused Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. What you can’t do after retiring is transfer benefits to a dependent that never had transferred benefits  in the first place.

For example, let’s say you had two daughters. While you were still serving, one knew she wanted to go to college and the other one knew she didn’t. You transferred benefits to the one wanting to go to college, but not to the one that didn’t.

Fast forward to now after retiring. You could not now allocate benefits to the daughter that did not want to go to college because she never had benefits transferred to her while you were active.

Servicemembers, who know how the system works, will transfer a month or two of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to each dependent while they are still on active duty, giving them maximum flexibility after retiring as far as “moving” those transferred benefits between dependents,  knowing they always retain the right to revoke and reallocate even in retirement.

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