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Is It True I Can’t Revoke or Reallocate Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferred Benefits After I Retire?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired in Aug 2010, (USN) after 30 years of service. Before I retired I allocated my 911 GI bill benefits as follows, 1/3 to myself, 1/3 to my wife and 1/3 to my daughter (17 yrs old). I was told before I retired that I could re-allocate and portion or all to any of the previously named individuals. I have heard rumors that this is not true. What is the correct answer?

A: The correct answer is whether you are serving or already retired; you always maintain the right to revoke and reallocate (or keep the revoked Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits yourself) until there are no unused benefits left to use or revoke.

As the sponsor, they are your benefits and by law you can do anything you want with them. So if your wife or daughter will not use their benefits, revoke and reallocate as appropriate, instead of letting them go to waste.

What you can’t do (and this may be what confused the people spreading the rumors that you can’t revoke and reallocate) is you can’t give Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member that has not already had transferred benefits before you retired.

For example, let’s say you had a son that you did not include in your initial benefits transfer and you retired, or had a son after you retired. Now that you are retired, you could not revoke the benefits from your daughter and give them to your son – he never had benefits to begin with while you were serving.

However, if he did have benefits, prior to you retiring and had since used them all up, you could give him more benefits, because he had received a transfer when you were still serving. Does that clear up the confusion?

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