Transferring the Post 9/11 GI Bill

I’m delighted that I caused some drama with Don’t Save Your GI Bill For Your Kids…that means that people are thinking.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a hugely generous benefit and there are all sorts of little details that affect eligibility, benefit amount, transferability, and other issues.  Thinking and learning is necessary to make sure you are getting the most possible value for your situation.  Transferring the Post 9/11 GI Bill might be the right choice for your family, and it is important that you do it correctly.

Buried deep inside the post, I suggest transferring one month of benefits to each eligible beneficiary, meaning your spouse and your children.  Transferring one month of benefits acts as a place marker to put your spouse and children into the Post 9/11 GI Bill system and allows you to add, subtract, or revoke those benefits in the future.  This step can only be done before you retire and it can incur an additional service obligation, therefore, it makes sense to do it sooner rather than later.  However, please see the paragraph below about how you want to change your designation when you retire.

How do you transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?  That is done through the milConnect system.

Log Into milConnect

You can log in using your Common Access Card (CAC), your DFAS MyPay log in information, or your DoD Self-Service (DS) log in information.

Find The Correct Form

Once you enter the milConnect system, you click on the Education tab to select the Transfer Education Benefits (TEB) option.  (It’s the only option.)  A form open that lists all the eligible transferees.

Enter The Desired Allocation

On the form, use the click button to increase the Months column up to one for each person.  It is a funny looking cursor, an arrow, but don’t let that throw you off.  You will probably want to leave the end date column empty as it will automatically become the maximum amount of time allowed under the GI Bill laws.

Submit The Form

You will then scroll down, read and agree to the numerous check boxes stating that you acknowledge all those statements.  At the end, you will have to click on the Submit Request button that is located between the form and the acknowledgements.

Document The Change

When the submit button has processed, a small message will show up at the top of the page saying that your submission has been received.  It recommends that you print that page for confirmation. I also recommend taking a screenshot.

Make a note on your calendar to verify that the transfer has been completed. Start with four weeks unless you’re crunched for time, then make it sooner.

Wait

Once submitted, the benefits folks will verify your status.  You can make their job easier by making sure that your electronic service record accurately reflects your current information.

Verify That The Transfer Was Approved

You will need to check back periodically to ensure that the transfer goes through successfully.  When you log-in, it will say that your status is Submitted until it is approved. Once it is approved, I recommend that you again take a screen shot, and print out the available letter.

Get Help If You Need It

If you run into difficulties, be sure to get help.  The right place to find help depends on your branch of service.  There is a long list of contact information on the Contact Us page located inside the milConnect website.  There is also a great FAQ page available there.

Update Your Allocation When You Retire

While allocating one month to each eligible beneficiary is a great start, and appropriate for active duty folks, you should change this designation upon leaving the military.  When you leave the military, you should have all 36 months of benefits assigned to someone, preferably based upon the likelihood that they’ll actually use the benefits.  This is because the benefit designation can not be changed if the service member dies.  It doesn’t matter for active duty folks because survivors of those who die on active duty are eligible for the Fry Scholarship, which provides the same benefits as the Post 9/11 GI Bill to each eligible dependent.  However, if a veteran dies before they have used all their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, the benefits are then frozen at the designation in place at the time of death.  If you’ve only assigned 1 month to each person, that’s all the benefits that can be used.

While I don’t advocate “saving” your benefits, I do think that you should maximize your options.  Transferring one month of benefits to each eligible family member gives you the ability to increase, decrease, or revoke their benefits in the future and allows you maximum flexibility to make the most of the amazing Post 9/11 GI Bill offerings.

 

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Stefan Austin

    while I appreciate your your blog, it would be nice to see other veterans like myself speak up about how some of us are being denied the right to transfer our benefits. I served during the Post 9/11 era and am qualified to recieve the 9/11 GI Bill. However, when I retired in Jan 2010, no one informed me that I had to transfer my benefits prior to leaving service. When I asked about my benefits, I was told to simply go thru VA here in Atlanta if I had any questions.

    Needless to say that was when VA broke the news that I can’t transfer my benefits to my sons. What puzzles me most is that if I want to go back to school I can use my benefits but my children can’t yet, they have the gall to say thank you for your service. After 24 years of active Army service I deserve better and so does every veteran who is eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. How about standing up for that? I will await your response.

    • Tammy Davis

      I iagree with Stephen!

    • Dwana

      I agree completely. After serving 23 years in the military on active duty, after seven deployments to a combat zone, I am unable to transfer my benefits to my dependent because I retired in 2007, prior to the bill being passed into law. As long as I meet the eligibility requirements, why does it matter when I retired?

    • RobertBrickan

      Here is a petition that will hopefully help in getting the transfer rights to those that served; The more signers the more strengthened the petition will be. Please sign it. http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/gi-bill-fairn

      • Kenya Price

        Robert have you heard anything about your petition I just came across this chat recently I too have been looking for a way to transfer my benefits I to was misinformed I retired after 21 years of active Naval Service in August of 2010 and now my daughter will graduating in 2014 and cannot transfer my benefits. Have you heard of any thing being talked about in Congress?

    • Tonya

      My husband experienced the same thing. This is horrible that you are not educated about this policy when exiting. He tried to transfer his benefits to our son a month after retiring and was denied because he did not do it during his 27 years of service. He was not informed of this policy and just have always been told that he was able to transfer them, but no indication of when it had to be done. He has spoken to several other veterans from his unit who are in the same situation. Something needs to be done about this.

      • You

        My husband got retired only 2 month ago from Navy targeted by ERB. It was so shocking to him and he was busy with many paperwork and procedure. The TAP class didn’t cover G.I. Bill transferability during active time. They know that we had 2 college ready children, nobody in TAP didn’t cover anything about transfer.. It was only 2 months ago. My kids are going to college soon…I would say it is a failure to inform benefits to service members!

  • Domingo

    I am out of the army have a great career and want to transfer my gi bill to my wife? There is a way possible right, without me joining?? Somebody give me a good answer! Please!

  • Lee

    (Continued) It’s OK for you to sit back and shrug others off and tell them they have no one to blame but themselves while you may have more than enough time to sit and do all of this research about every benefit available. Some of us didn’t have the time as we had to search for employment and, if hired, work to support our families. Don’t forget that myself and maybe a few others as well could not remember and thought that it was already done and we also didn’t have someone holding our hand and walking us around to make sure that it was completed correctly. It really must be nice to be able to speak DOWN to us and tell us basically that (because you had the luxury of time and resources) “I’ve got mine. It’s all your fault if you didn’t get it and it’s of no concern to me.” Why not try to help someone for a change instead. No one really wants to hear you voice your opinion on here if you are a conceited snob about things. They look for help, not hindrances.

  • Lee

    To Kate and MonJ; I too “failed to take advantage of the benefit” as you phrased it. I had attempted to do this while on active duty. When I did it on the website, the system glitched when I hit the submit button. I went to the military Ed Center to obtain assistance, but completely forgot to complete that mission. The reason I forgot? I have a memory problem that was diagnosed and documented by the military medical personnel. I am now, due to other severe physical problems, medically retired after almost 26 years serving my country whenever and wherever it needed me. I had thought that the transfer had already been completed (because of the memory dump) and when I went online to print a copy of benefit transfer for my daughter to submit to a college that she applied to, I find that it did NOT work when I originally submitted on the web site transfer process!

    • MR. Kenya

      Greetings Lee have I just came across this chat recently I too have been looking for a way to transfer my benefits I to had a issue with the TEB site. I was also told by a VA education counselor that everything was good. I retired after 21 years of active Naval Service in August of 2010 and now my daughter will graduating in 2014 and cannot transfer my benefits. Have you heard of any thing being talked about in Congress?

  • Michael

    I was wondering if anyone has looked at the issue the housing allowance and book allowance when you transfer your benefits if you are in the reserve or National Guard in a traditional status (normal weekend duty or IMA duty). I keep reading that spouses are not eligible for housing or book allowance if the member is still on active duty. That makes sense to me since the active duty person would already be getting housing benefits but does not address reserves who don’t get that allowance.

  • steve

    I retired in 2007, served three combat tours, provided security for the Salt Lake City Olympics post 911, protected the president on K9 missions, actually got my degree while on active duty, now when I thought I might be eligible to pass my benefits to my son so he would not have to risk life and limb to obtain his education I find out that since I am retired and these laws were inacted in 2009 I m not eligible to transfer these benefits, which now will not be used by me.

  • Lgonz

    What about Retired Veterans? The GI Bill is ridiculous as written. 27 year of service and two tours in Iraq andthe DOD and VA tells me I can’t use it for my daughter. But they can spend billions of $$ on bureaucrats and useless programs. This is what many veterans get for their service. We are not asking for handouts nor any additional benefits, just for the benefits we and our families earned through self-less service and personal sacrify.

  • Darryl

    I am seeking your help. Has anyone expereienced a problem with the TEB system completing your transfer. Please contact me. HRC has denied my transfer because the transfer I attempted to make failed, even though the screen indicated submitted. I would like to request a statement from you to use in my case to the board and will also provide you my statement.
    Darryl
    Email me at DC5star@comcast.net

    • Lisa

      Yes, it happened to me too back in 2011-2012ish. I submitted and found out over a year later that there were 4 original programs to apply through and that they all didn’t talk to eachother, therefore some cases were dropped. Unless (we) recieved a letter in the mail, it didn’t go through. Therefore my kids were not transferred. There has to be a database that shows that we enrolled them.

      • Kate

        Lisa, I’m a little confused about your comment. There’s only one database, and there has only ever been one database. And my husband did not receive a letter in the mail; he received a confirmation electronically. He also received an electronic confirmation when he made changes to his designation.

        I would really like to learn more about your situation.

        • Lisa

          There wasn’t one database at the beginning. There is now through milconnect, but before there were other websites. It wasn’t until milconnect came online did I know it wasn’t transferred correctly. I was asked If I received something in the mail and when I said I didn’t they told me then it didn’t go through then.

  • Jayson

    I am confused. So I retired in Nov 2010. I placed 1 month for my wife, son and daughter. At TAP (Transition Assistance Program) they watched me submit it and said I was good to go. No I am to understand that it failed as I did not have the obligated service requirement met. So am I to understand that they wanted me to extend past 20 years as an E-6? I didn’t think that was possible!

    • Stefan Austin

      Jayson,
      This is Stefan the originator of this post. It is my understanding that according to (RCP) Retention Control Points, you are not allowed to stay in past 20 years. However, if when you submitted your transfer of benefits you were at or near 20 years and retirement eligible then the additional service requirement would not be necessary. Good Luck my friend.

  • Daniel Freysinger

    One of the big misunderstandings veterans have is that VA benefits are for the benefit of veterans. They are simply another recruiting tool. As the wars wind down, watch how many benefits get cut.

    The post 9/11 GI Bill has been great for those who served in the “real” wars. Unlike those loafers that came before them. In most politicians minds, those of us who served pre 9/11 don’t count.

  • Jose

    I have a question about transferring benefits. My Wife’s son wants us to give him custody of my step daughter who is 17 and turning 18 in 2 months, because he says he can give her his benefits from the GI Bill. He has been in the Navy for less than a year. From everything I have read online this would not be possible. Would that more or less be a true statement or I am I not finding the appropriate information?

    • KateKashman

      Jose, you are correct. Your step son is not able to transfer his benefits to anyone until he has served for a minimum of six years. In addition, the process of claiming a non-spouse, non-child as a dependent is a little more complicated than perhaps it seems. Your step son is very kind to think of this, but I’m not sure he has all the details, and I’m also pretty sure that he has no idea what it would entail to actually have an 18 year old as his responsibility :)

      Thanks for writing in to The Paycheck Chronicles.

  • Stefan Austin

    Kate,
    This is Stefan and I wrote the original post that you replied to concerning Transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to my sons. Since my post, I have contacted my Congressman and US Senator here in Georgia. I have also submitted an appeal to the Military Board of Corrections and I need to submit additional information within 30 days or my appeal will be denied.

    cont.

    • Shelley

      Hello I was reading you comment and wanted to know if you have heard anything back from the Review Board in reference to your Post 911 transferring you GI Bill to your children and if so do you mind assisting others in this fight?

      Shelley

  • Stefan Austin

    1. DA nor VA ever sent any guidance through military channels covering this information or the process.
    2. It was up to commands to disseminate the information down to the lowest levels which did not always happen.
    3. Many education officers didn’t know or understand the rules and misinformed soldiers about the process. In many instances they actually told soldiers their transfer was complete only to have the soldier find out after they had left service that it had not taken in the system.
    4. The TEB website was fraught with problems from day one and still remains problematic. Don’t believe me, go to the site as it has moved and attempt to access it and you will see for yourself.
    cont.

  • Stefan Austin

    Kate, the simple truth is that less than 1% of the US populations ever serve in the military. The benefits that we have are earned and not given to us. Stop being a policy wonk and find the heart I know you have and the compassion that basic human dignity demands and stand up for veteran’s rights! And, if you can’t find it in yourself to do that then I for one would prefer that you just say thank you for the blanket of freedom that those who serve provide and otherwise keep your judgmental opinions to yourself.

    End…Stefan

  • Stefan Austin

    5. Because I served in the Recruiting Command and was not on a base, there was no education assistance or dissemination of information. Just rumor and speculation about the benefits. So to get clarity, I emailed HRC and was told to contact VA for benefits information.
    6. Since I was a Retiree Recall, when it came time to return to retirement, I was not allowed to attend TAP or any benefits briefings because our HQ was in another state and that would mean TDY which they were unwilling to allocate funds for. I was out processed via fax and told that any needed benefits information would come from VA.
    7. As for the huge media blitz on the Post 9/11 GI Bill, I have found that there has been many articles that never even mention that the transfer needed to take place prior to departing service. Many of these were a part of the major media campaign. Namely “newgibill.org which is affiliated with IAVA the nonprofit advocate organization established just for the New GI Bill.
    cont…

    • Deana

      Stefan, my husband was misinformed as he outprocessed and retired after 23 years. He applied to correct his military records and it appeared they were denying as they told him he would need to send additional documentation to appeal the recommendation to deny. My husband and I have both graduated from college and he has a masters degree as well. My question to the board is Who in their right mind would say no to an opportunity to transfer the gi bill to his kids when he knew he qualified and wouldn’t use it? Esp with three kids that would need it? There is a regulation that states servicemembers must be educated on the necessity to transfer it before retiring. The problem is how do we prove he wasn’t told?

  • Rebekah

    Hi Stefan,

    I applaud your efforts and am anxious to find out hat happens in your case.

    What I find rather disappointing as a dependent is that my father, who retired after 40 years of service on September 1, 2009, was unable to transfer his benefits to my brother, sister, or myself because we were all just over the age of 26. He just barely met the August 1, 2009 date but our issue was being over 26. Two of us were in grad school and one in undergrad during this time period and could have used the $90,000 that my father earned. I am in my third year of a doctoral program and could still be using his benefits. It should not matter what age dependents are if they are in school. And it doesn’t matter if this benefit was intended to be a recruitment and retention tool and not a retiree’s benefit. That’s not how it is worded and was not advertised as such. When this benefit was passed into law as a benefit to those who have served since 9/11, it should include all those who served after 9/11, retired or not. Not only did my dad earn that $90,000 with his service before and since 9/11 but we as his kids earned it as well through the sacrifices we made as a family. On a separate note, I have recently been told that waivers of the age limit of 26 have been granted. Do you know anything about this? I work at The University of Alabama and have been in contact with our Veteran and Military Affairs Office. They believed my dad could contact someone to request a waiver of the age requirement. He is retired now so it would also include an exception of transferring benefits as a retiree. My contacts on campus also suggested contacting our Congressman and Senator. They cited misinformation as being the basis for any appeal that is made. Do you have any advice or guidance for us/ my dad as we attempt to appeal this? Thank you for any help you can provide!!

    Rebekah

  • Nicole

    My dad recently found an article in a magazine that said that a man gave his daughter the benifits for the first bit of college. well my dad told me to go talk to someone and i wanted to do my research first. my dad is 70 years old and i am about to be 18. although my dad served from 1959 to 1953, could i still be allowed to recieve those benifits? because that is how the article made it sound.

    • KateKashman

      Nicole, the short answer is no. There are a few reasons. All GI Educational Bills have usage periods during which they must be used. Your father’s educational benefits ended a set period after he left the service. (I’m sorry that I can’t find the exact number, the program has changed several times since then. It is usually 10 years.) In addition, benefits transferrability is only a feature of the most recent incarnation of the GI Bill, and it did not become and option until August 2009. Servicemembers who separated from the military prior to 2009 are not able to transfer any benefits.

      I’m sure this is not good news, but there are many other sources of college funding out there. In particular, you may want to do a Google search on “veteran child scholarship” to see if there are any scholarships for which you are specifically qualified based upon your father’s military service.

      Good luck to you!

  • Mike

    I retired in March 2010 and did transfer my benefits to my wife initially. We discussed transferring the benefit to our two children so I revoked my wife’s TEB and submitted for my children. Some how the system did not take my children and now they are not eligible. I recently reinvoked my wife’s TEB which was approved. Since I already have the benefit will the military allow me to transfer this to my two children? Fort Know is telling me I cannot TEB to my children currently. Do you know of any successful appeals to do this?

    • KateKashman

      Mike, I’m a little confused. All transfers of benefits must be initiated before retirement. If you did not transfer benefits to your children before you retired, you do not have the ability to add them after retirement. Did you try to revoke your wife’s TEB and submit it for your children before or after your retirement? Prior to your comment, I believed that once you revoked an individual’s benefit, you could not reinstate it. I’m very confused about how you got your wife’s benefit back, unless you hadn’t actually revoked her benefit in the first place.

      Once you have allocated any benefits to an eligible beneficiary, you retain the right to change or revoke their benefit in the future. For example, my husband has allocated one month of benefits to each of our children, and one month to me. This acts a “place holder” and allows him to modify the amounts when we actually know our needs.

      I have not heard about any appeals to transferrability, either successful or unsuccessful. I would be curious to hear more as you proceed through the process.

  • Brian

    Hello,

    Recently found out I incurred a service obligation for one year ending Aug 11. The transfer was approved Aug 10. I retired Dec 10. I had no idea of the obligation as I would have remained on active as required. I understand it is my responsibility to know the details, but that information during out-processing briefs, TAPS, retirement briefs was never relayed, just to get the transfer done before retirement. When I signed the statement of understanding the new service obligation was not on the form due to website glitch so they sent me a blank version to sign/scan into site. I recently pulled it from mil-connect and the obligation date has been hand scribbled on bottom of form in an unofficial spot. If I had seen a official date of new service on this form it would have alarmed me back in Aug 10. So a year and half after retirement I see the date on ebenifits of obligated service. Further research revealed what I should have done back when, which was to transfer the benefit in Aug 2009 and incurred the one year service time at that time. I retired with 22 years, one more than what would have been required! Ebenefits still says approved, 100% benefit all to my daughter as planned, but I’m sure when she submits to use next year it will be denied due to failure to complete obligated service. Not sure how the VA validates obligated time completed but I assume its the first thing they look at when receiving benefit requests.

    Has anyone had luck in overturning obligated service or could advise on how to proceed…perhaps with the AFBCMR? It’s a long shot I know. I have a about a year to work it before my daughter graduates.

    Thanks!

    • Janell

      Same thing happened to us. My husband submitted his retirement papers in December 2010, transferred his benefits to our two children, then retired August 2011. We submitted a VONAPP form in May for our son to receive benefits for when he starts college this coming Monday. Received a letter from the VA that he has been declined due to failure of my husband not giving them another year of service after transferring the benefits. Had he known this, he would have stayed in another year. He was told he was approved at the time of submission and not told he had to serve another year. So, our kids will not be receiving the help. He called everyone he could about this and was told, “Sorry for your luck.”

  • Meaghan

    My husband was medically retired and we were not told WE had to transfer the GI bill. The woman at the Ed center did it all for us and wished us luck on our way. Now I want to go back to school and can’t use the gi bill. Almost 10 years my husband served his country and we can’t even use the GI bill to send our kids to school.

    • guest

      When was he retired? Also, transferring the GI BIll requires an additional service requirement, if he was put out medically I’m not sure the option would have been there for him to transfer since he wouldn’t be able to do the required service time. At least he can use it to re train for a new job now that he is out of the military!

  • mark

    Against better judgement, I gave six months of my post 911 benefits to my son, his course is a five month CMA course, Sept-Jan. On Dec 14th, I revolked the benefits. The VA has already paid for the course, what happens next?

    • KateKashman

      I’m afraid I have no idea. I’m not even sure how you managed to revoke the benefits retroactively. The only people who can help you are the VA, and I’m guessing that they will be a little stumped, too. I am thinking that since your son was eligible for the benefits when they were paid, they won’t actually accept your revocation. Please let me know what happens. I am very curious.

  • Nicole

    I revoked my daughter’s benefits when she stopped school. Now she is going back to school. How can I reinvade her benefits. Thank you in advance. By the way I am retired.

  • ROTG, LMAO

    Nicole – “reinvade” – – – ? ? ? Don’t you mean “reinstitute” ? ! You might go back to the entity to which you went to revoke them and ask if you can reinstitue them.

  • Henry Hukill

    Hello, I served over 21 years, split service, 02/1982 – 08/1991 and 03/2000 – 06/2012, I served in Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. I was informed of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the TEB option around 2010 and this was a DREAM COME TRUE, I could now put my children through college, so I submitted the application and was approved, transferred benefits to my wife and children, that is all I know, I was approved and the TEB was approved and their individual months was showing up. I submitted my retirement packet, went through the entire retirement process and retired 06/2012, my daughter started going to school in 2013 and is still currently enrolled, she has used 13 months of her benefits, my son just enrolled and has completed half of his first semester, he received a letter stating he needed to set up a checking account for his funds to be deposited, all is going well and then, (BAM), I receive a letter saying my benefits have been denied, this is a NIGHTMARE. I called VA who in-turn told me to contact DOD who told me I had not completed my 2 year obligation; it appears I was about 14 months shy of this obligation. 1) why wasn’t I ever informed of this obligation?, I was a Sergeant First Class, (Station Commander in USAREC, 9-5 Mon-Thur and 9-3 on Friday, life was good and I was in no hurry to retire and would have gladly served another 14 months. 2) why was I allowed to retire, if I owed another 14 months, during the retirement process, all the specialists who are looking out for your wellbeing should notify you of any conflicting issues such as this, 3) If my obligation was through 2013 and I did not complete it, why was my daughter constantly approved to attend college for 2 years from 2013 to present, and my son approved and recently enrolled??? This is very scary, for my children, my wife and me. My daughter is crying every day, my son is sick to his stomach, my wife is upset and I am feeling all of this. a) I have to put my kids through school, it is the only way they will have a chance in life this day and age and as of right now, it appears that will be on me which will be close to if not impossible, my son has applied for the Hazelwood act and it appears he will be able to use MY TRANSFERRED HAZELWOOD ACT BENEFITS WITH NO OBLIGATION, THANKS TO TEXAS, b) I have no idea what DOD and VA are going to do now, especially since she has already used 13 months. I just can’t believe after serving and earning the GI Bill, this is happening. My children’s education is in question now and my financial situation is in question. Our life is being turned upside down, it is a disaster over a mistake, or a misunderstanding, or an oversight on my part, point is, I was not obligated to enlist, to cross the Iraqi border in Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, but I did, and I did it selflessly for over 21 years, and all that was looking good from my service to this great Country, but it has now turned on me and my family and it is looking very bleak. If anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly Appreciated, Thank You, SFC H.

    • Kate

      Unfortunately, the responsibility for ensuring that the service obligation is fulfilled remained with the service member. I, too, am shocked that it has taken the VA this long to figure out that you did not completely your service obligations. That is absolutely irresponsible on the part of the VA. At the very least, I would be requesting a waiver of liability for the funds that have already been disbursed. Please keep us updated on how this unfolds! I am so sorry that this is happening to you.