A recent survey conducted by Blue Star Families, found that the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill education benefit remains the top benefit and powerful retention tool for military families. In 2016, 78% of service members either transferred or planned to transfer to a spouse or child this benefit as opposed to 76% in 2015 and 66% in 2014.
WHAT IS TRANSFERABILITY?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill allows service members (officer or enlisted, active duty or Selected Reserve), to transfer unused education benefits to immediate family members (spouse and children). The servicemember must have at least six years of service, and commit to an additional four years of service in order to transfer benefits to a spouse or child. Because of the potential impact of this benefit on recruiting and retention, transferability policy is determined by the Department of Defense.
ELIGIBLE FAMILY MEMBERS
An individual approved to transfer an entitlement to educational assistance may transfer the individual's entitlement to:
- The individual's spouse.- One or more of the individual's children.
- Any combination of spouse and child.
• A family member must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits, at the time of transfer to receive transferred educational benefits.
• A child's subsequent marriage will not affect his or her eligibility to receive the educational benefit; however, after an individual has designated a child as a transferee under this section, the individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
• A subsequent divorce will not affect the transferee's eligibility to receive educational benefits; however, after an individual has designated a spouse as a transferee under this section, the eligible individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at anytime.
NATURE OF TRANSFER
An eligible servicemember may transfer up to the total months of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, or the entire 36 months if the member has used none.
Family member use of transferred educational benefits is subject to the following:
- May start to use the benefit immediately.
- May use the benefit while the member remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.
- Is not eligible for the monthly stipend or books and supplies stipend while the member is serving on active duty.
- Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service member's last separation from active duty.
- May start to use the benefit only after the individual making the transfer has completed at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces.
- May use the benefit while the eligible individual remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty.
- May not use the benefit until he/she has attained a secondary school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or reached 18 years of age.
- Is entitled to the monthly stipend and books and supplies stipend even though the eligible individual is on active duty.
- Is not subject to the 15-year delimiting date, but may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age.
Should you be in the midst of divorce or paternity action in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation with an attorney well versed in military family law.