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With My Unfilled Service Obligations, Do I Have Post 9/11 GI Bill Eligibility That I Can Transfer to My Wife?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Good afternoon, my name is Erik, and I currently am approaching 9 years active service (Active duty start date 6/6/05). I am interested in transferring my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to my wife, however, I have a few questions. First, I am an ROTC graduate, as well as a Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) graduate, and as such, I have 5 years remaining on my service obligation. With that in mind, am I still able to transfer my benefits to my spouse, and if so, at what percentage? Second, if I do transfer the benefits, will the added 4-year service obligation run concurrent with my remaining ROTC/HPSP obligation, or will I incur additional obligation? Thank you for your time and assistance.

A: Right now you can’t transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to your wife because you do not have any eligibility to transfer. The way the program works is if you are under an obligation (and you are under two) you do not gain Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility while under those obligations. So in your case, because you have 5 years of obligation left, you wouldn’t start gaining GI Bill eligibility until around 2019.

And then you would have to serve an additional 3 years at that point because as an active duty member, you can’t transfer benefits with less than 100% eligibility and that takes three years to get.

Then at that point you could make a transfer of benefits, but keep in mind, you’ll incur another obligation – this time for four years. The bad thing about obligations is they do not run concurrently but consecutively so you have to finish one before another one starts.

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