Transfer of Post-9/11 GI BILL® Benefits to Dependents: Graduate Students
The transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI BILL® allows service members to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The request to transfer unused GI BILL® benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while serving as an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Department of Defense (DoD) determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family. Once the DoD approves benefits for transfer, the new beneficiaries apply for them at VA. To find out more, visit the DoD's website.
Type of Assistance
Eligible service members may transfer all 36 months or the portion of unused Post-9/11 GI BILL® benefits (unless DoD or the Department of Homeland Security has limited the number of transferable months). If you're eligible, you may transfer benefits to the following individuals:
- Your spouse
- One or more of your children
- Any combination of spouse and child
Available Benefits and Eligibility
Family members must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits at the time of transfer to receive transferred benefits.
Please visit the DoD's milConnect site to determine if you are eligible to transfer your benefits.
The option to transfer is open to any member of the armed forces active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI BILL®, and meets the following criteria:
- Has at least six years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval and agrees to serve four additional years in the armed forces from the date of election.
- Has at least 10 years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval, is precluded by either standard policy (by service branch or DoD) or statute from committing to four additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
- Transfer requests are submitted and approved while the member is on active duty in the armed forces.
- Effective 7/20/19, eligibility to transfer benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of active duty or Selected Reserve service.
While in the armed forces, transferors use the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) website to designate, modify, and revoke a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) request. After leaving the armed forces, transferors may provide a future effective date for use of TOE, modify the number of months transferred, or revoke entitlement transferred by submitting a written request to the VA.
Upon approval, family members may apply to use transferred benefits with VA by printing, completing, and mailing the VA Form 22-1990e to your nearest VA regional office or by applying online. VA Form 22-1990e should only be completed and submitted to VA by the family member after DoD has approved the request for TEB. Do not use VA Form 22-1990e to apply for TEB.
Other Factors to Consider
Marriage and Divorce
A child's subsequent marriage will not affect their eligibility to receive the educational benefit; however, after an individual has designated a child as a transferee under this section, the individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
A subsequent divorce will not affect the transferee's eligibility to receive educational benefits; however, after an individual has designated a spouse as a transferee under this section, the eligible individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
The combined tuition benefits available to a student cannot exceed the student's total tuition costs. Tuition payments received by a student under the Post-9/11 GI BILL® (Chapter 33 veteran benefits) and Yellow Ribbon Program are considered duplicative of any VTA and/or TAP award. Students receiving tuition assistance through these programs may, and in most cases will, have their state VTA and/or TAP payment reduced or denied due to these other benefits. However, payments received under the Montgomery GI BILL® do not duplicate the purpose of the VTA and/or TAP.
Reallocation of Benefits
If a service member wants to reallocate transferred benefits, they can do so using the TEB Portlet in MilConnect. If a veteran wants to reallocate benefits, they should contact the VA.
If transferred benefits are totally revoked for a dependent, a service member must resubmit a transfer request for the dependent via MilConnect; a veteran cannot re-transfer benefits to a dependent if the dependent's transfer eligibility was previously totally revoked.
Reallocation of Benefits if a Family Member Dies
The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Assistance Act of 2017 allows for designation and transfer of Post-9/11 GI BILL® benefits to eligible dependents of the veteran/service member upon the death of the veteran/service member or of a dependent who had unused transferred benefits.
Nature of Transfer
Family member use of transferred educational benefits is subject to the following rules:
- May start to use the benefit immediately
- May use the benefit while the service member remains in the armed forces or after separation from active duty
- Are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the service member is on active duty
- May use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member's last separation from active duty
- May start to use the benefit only after the individual making the transfer has completed at least 10 years of service in the armed forces
- May use the benefit while the eligible individual remains in the armed forces or after separation from active duty
- May not use the benefit until the child has received a high school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or has reached age 18
- May qualify for the monthly housing allowance even when the service member is still on active duty
- Do not have to use the benefit within 15 years after the service member's separation from active duty, but can't use the benefit after they've turned 26 years old
Get the fact sheet on transferability of Post-9/11 GI BILL® benefits, or visit va.gov for more information. For specific questions about your eligibility, the status of your transfer request, and service-specific questions about the TEB Portlet, please contact the career counselor or personnel center from the list below:
|Branch of Service||Contact|
|Army Active Duty Officer|
|Army Active Duty Enlisted|
|Army National Guard|
|Army Reserve (Enlisted and Officer)|
|Navy Active Duty Personnel|| 866-827-5672|
|Navy Reserve|| Tel. 800-621-8853|
|Marine Corps Active Duty Officer|
|Marine Corps Active Duty Enlisted|
|Marine Corps Reserve|
|Air Force Active Duty|| 800-525-0102|
|Air National Guard||Contact unit Retention Managers|
|Air Force Reserve|| 800-257-1212|
|Coast Guard Active Duty|
|Coast Guard Reserve|
|National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)|| 301-713-7728|
|U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS)|| 240-453-6130|