Sep 11 2013
As I conduct classes on the Post 9-11 GI Bill (P911GIB) on bases, I find there is still confusion about the rules to transfer the benefit. Here is a quick reference guide.
Transferring the P911GIB to family members is an option controlled by the DOD. It can be turned on or off. Currently there are no discussions about turning the option off but realize the option isn’t permanent.
DOD is using the transfer option as a retention tool. Transfer your benefit and you have to agree to stay in the Service for 4 more years.
During the transition period in the early years of Post 9-11 GI Bill implementation, the following table provided the few exceptions to the 4-year commitment. However, the transition provisions expired 1 Aug 2013 so all must agree to serve 4 years now.
The following was the transition implementation conditions in case you hear about this policy and want to compare then and now.
First, what month and year did you complete 20 years of service? For Guard or Reserves, what did your Notice of Eligibility for retirement letter state as your month and year for 20 years? Take that month and year and plug it into this chart to figure what your service commitment would have been. If you aren’t on this chart, you would have served 4 years as of the date you transfer the benefit.
Because of the retention policy being used by the DOD, it means you have to be currently serving to transfer any or all of the benefit otherwise you can’t be retained. All you folks already out of the Service, separated or retired, can’t transfer. There are no waivers. You folks in the Guard or Reserves do not have to be on active duty orders to transfer but you do have to be serving to transfer. Check this site if you have specific Service related questions about the service commitment–scroll down the page.
If you want to fight for the transfer after you are out of the Service, good luck. The only possible remedy is with the Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR). Search on line for the BCMR application procedures. Chances are slim to none.
The date you transfer the benefit starts the clock on the service commitment. You probably want to transfer some benefits immediately if you think transferring the benefit might be a possibility for you in the future. Start the commitment clock sooner rather than later. Transfer a month to each beneficiary just to establish the transferred benefit and you can move months of benefit around among family members later if you want. You serve one service commitment for the first transfer. You do not serve separate commitments for each transfer afterwards.
What if you are restricted from serving a full 4-year commitment? You can still transfer benefits, even if you are restricted from serving four additional years due to DOD/Service policy or by law, as long as you agree to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or law.
To transfer your P911GIB benefit, you must have a minimum of 6 years of service to transfer to your spouse and a minimum of 10 years of service to transfer to your children.
As a military member, or your spouse, you have 15 years to use the benefit starting after you leave the Service. Children do not have the 15-year time limit, they have until age 26. The child retains the benefit even after marriage as long as the marriage occurred after the transfer. A child must be 18 years old or a high school or equivalent graduate to use the benefit.
Spouses of active duty members do not get the housing allowance. All other spouses do. All children get the housing allowance.
Once some benefit has been transferred, the ability to change or revoke the benefit amount among family members always resides with the military member. Even after separation or retirement from Service, a member can manage the benefit amounts among the family members; more, less or completely take the benefit away from someone. You just cannot add new beneficiaries after separation or retirement.
P911GIB benefits always belong to the military member even during/after a divorce. P911GIB benefits are not considered marital property or an asset of a marital estate. The benefits are not subject to division in a divorce or other civil proceeding.
Dependents you acquire after separation/retirement from the Service are not eligible for transfer benefits.
You can transfer benefit only to family members registered in DEERS. Transfer benefits before your children age out of DEERS.
Have you used some of your Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) or other military education benefits? Be careful and get help from the VA if you plan to transfer. When you transfer your P911GIB benefit to a family member, your months of benefit available for transfer are probably going to be limited to the amount of MGIB, or other educational program, you have remaining. Find out your amount of benefit months available for transfer before you actually transfer benefits. Example:
You started with 36 months of MGIB but used 18 months of it. If you transfer P911GIB benefits to your family members, you will have only 18 months of benefit available for transfer. If you used up 36 of MGIB, you may still be eligible for 12 more months of P911GIB to transfer.
There are a lot of moving parts to the P911GIB. The VA web site is very good and has many details to help you manage your benefits. I suggest you spend some time with the site and learn just how helpful it can be. There are step by step directions on how to manage and the use the benefits. See http://www.gibill.va.gov/.
Places to get help include a Veteran Service Officer, the Veteran Office or Financial Aid office at the school where you intend to attend or the base education office. The P911GIB hotline number is (888) 442-4551.