Beginning Aug. 1, every Soldier who elects to transfer his or her Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member will incur an additional four years in the Army, without regard to their time in service.
The rule largely affects senior officers and enlisted Soldiers who are retirement-eligible. As of now, these Soldiers may be able to transfer benefits to their loved ones with anywhere from zero to three years of additional service.
This is in contrast to Soldiers who are not retirement eligible, who must re-up for an additional four years.
“Soldiers are entitled to the benefit for their own use, but to transfer to dependents: that is used as a recruiting and retention tool,” said Lt. Col. Mark Viney, chief of the Enlisted Professional Development Branch, Army G-1.
Veterans Affairs also has eligibility requirements for transferability. Soldiers must have six years of active duty in order to transfer their GI Bill benefits.
In some cases, if a Soldier has incurred additional time in service in order to transfer GI Bill benefits to a family member, and is afterward unable to serve that additional time in service, he or she may be required to pay back those benefits.
Viney said that as the Army draws down, some Soldiers will be involuntarily separated under force-shaping initiatives. Soldiers who are separated early under such circumstances and who had previously transferred their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their dependents may retain the transferred benefits, without needing to repay them to the VA.
Soldiers who were retirement eligible after Aug. 1, 2009, and before Aug. 1, 2012, and who are considering transferring their benefits to their dependents should review their service obligation before doing so.
Soldiers with questions about transferring their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to their dependents should contact their approving official.