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When Can I Transfer and Split My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits Between My Spouse and Children?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: At what point may I transfer my G.I. Bill to my dependents ..I.E. either my spouse or children & if I choose my children can I split it up equally between my 3 children?

A: First, so that we are clear, you can only transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits – not the Montgomery GI Bill. According to the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, you have to meet three service requirements before you can transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse and/or dependents – past, current and future. Let me explain.

To satisfy the past service requirement, you have to have served for at least six years in the Armed Services of the United States. That service can be active duty, Reserves, National Guard or a mix of any three.

If you are on active duty, then you must be fully eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which means at least three of your six years has to be after September 10, 2001 (which in most cases it would be). If your service was in the Reserves or National Guard, then you must have served for at least 90 days out of that six years on a Title 10 order in support of a contingency operation, such as Iraq or Afghanistan. The main difference is with Selected Reserve service, you don’t have to be 100% qualified to transfer benefits where you do with active duty service.

To meet the current requirement, you have to still be serving in some capacity in the Armed Services of the United States at the time you make a transfer-of-benefits request, meaning if you are already discharged, you cannot transfer benefits.

Lastly, to meet the future service requirement, you have to have at least four years left on your enlistment at the time you make a transfer request, unless you are within four years of being “retirement eligible” meaning you are within four years of having served for 20 years. If your current enlistment does not take you out to 20 years or more, then you may have to sign up for the number of years that would take you out to 20 years of service.

So once you meet the three service requirements, then you can go to the milConnect website and make your transfer request. You have up to 36 months of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits that you can split up however you want. You can split up your benefits between just your three children or your spouse and any number of your children. Just keep your total request to 36 months or less.

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