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What Are My Options for Both My Wife and I to Use My GI Bill

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’ve been in the active Army for 15 years and paid the $1,200 for MGIB. I want my wife to finish college but also want to save about a year left of money for my retirement. What are my options?

A: With the Montgomery GI Bill, you most likely don’t have any options to transfer educational benefits to your wife. The Army and Air Force each ran a transfer-of-benefits pilot program, but then both stopped due to lack of interest. In the Army’s program, soldiers had to buy the transfer right out of their re-enlistment money and the transfer could only be to a spouse, so if you had bought into that program, you would most likely remember it.

The best way to accomplish a transfer of benefits to your wife is to switch over to the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You meet the first transfer of benefits service requirement of having served more than six years. Ensure you have the future service requirement – agreeing to serve for four additional years – in place before you make a transfer request. Otherwise your request will be disapproved.

You have up to 36 months of benefits you can transfer. So once you have your enlistment out to at least having four years left, go to the TEB website and enter into your wife’s record how many months you would like to transfer to her. If you want a year left for yourself, then transfer 24 months to her.

Once the transfer is complete, by the Status Block changing to “Approved”, then have her submit VA Form 22-1990 from the eBenefits website. In return, she will get a Certificate of Eligibility that she will need to hand a copy of to her school when she enrolls as a GI Bill student.

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