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Can I Transfer My GI Bill Benefits to My Wife?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am active duty military and am wondering if i can transfer my GI Bill benefits to my wife?

A: You can, contingent on a couple of things. First, you can only transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, so if you have the Montgomery GI Bill, you will have to switch to the Post 9/11.

But before you do that, what are her education goals? The Post 9/11 GI Bill focuses on degree-producing programs. It won’t pay for trade, technical, license, certification or other non degree-producing courses, unless those courses are taught through an “institution of higher learning”, i.e. a college or university. While the Montgomery GI Bill will pay for these types of courses, it doesn’t have a transfer option.

Second, while you will attain the 100% Post 9/11 GI Bill benefit level with three years of active duty service, you can’t exercise your benefit transfer option until you have served for at least six years and agree to serve an additional four.

The last item to keep in mind is you have to make the transfer while you are still on active duty; after you are out, it is too late (at least for now). Once your wife has her GI Bill benefits, she has 15 years to use them. If she attends school while you are still active, she will not get either the housing allowance (because you are already getting BAH) or the book stipend, however, if she waits to start school after you are out, she will get both.

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