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Can I Use My Spouse’s GI Bill Benefits?

February 24, 2012

The new G.I. Bill comes with some great benefits for service men and women, but these benefits can also help spouses and children. You may able to transfer education benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill. The decision is on a case-by-case basis decided by specific military that you served under. With the new Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, all eligible service members are able to transfer unused education benefits to their spouses or children under the TEB (Transferring Educational Benefits) policy.

There are some eligibility requirements for whether you can transfer or not. For one, you needed to transfer these benefits after you served on active duty after August 1st, 2009. You also need to have at least six years in the Armed Forces and must re-enlist for an additional four, or you can have ten years of service but can’t serve an additional four because of a service or Defense Department policy.

Once you apply for the transfer and it’s approved, your spouse can immediately use the benefits. However, a child is only able to use the benefits after you completed the ten years of service. Under the MGIB, members of the Army could transfer benefits at any time. The new provisions under Post-9/11 state that you have to be currently serving in the Armed Forces when you transfer your benefits. Under both of these bills, the sponsor can modify or revoke those benefits at any time. The family member that you choose to sponsor must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System before receiving any benefits.

However, if you did not serve after 2009 or you are not signed up to use the maximum amount of time, then you won’t be able to receive any benefits for your spouse. However, even if you don’t qualify for the transfer, the VA still has other programs and scholarships for spouses and children related to military service. There is the Army Emergency Relief or the Navy/Marine Relief Society, both of which offer funding for education to spouses.

To be totally sure that you can transfer your benefits or that you have benefits left to transfer, talk to a VA counselor before making any decisions. If you are planning to retire, it is a could time to think about transferring benefits to a spouse or child.

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