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