by Bradley Hood
Contributor, In Military Education
I have not yet been married for a year, and have not even begun to consider the possibility of starting a family with my wife. However, when I started my Master’s Degree with Norwich University, my wife was jealous. She completed my Bachelor’s Degree before I did, and has wanted to return for her Master’s for a long time. Though we both agreed that we would give it some time before she went back to school (she has not decided what she wants to study anyway), it has had me thinking about the possibility of transferring my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to her sometime down the road. Everyone has a different reason they may want to do a VA Transfer of Benefits: Maybe it’s for a child to get their college education, or to help a spouse pursue their dream of earning a private pilot’s license.
Whatever the reason, if you are in the have been considering doing a transfer, you may want to do so before August. Effective August 1st, service members with less than 20 years in service must have a four year obligation in order to transfer their benefits, so this process is something that must be carefully planned.
For those of you who have not heard of the ability to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, a complete listing of information is available directly from the VA website (http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/transfer_of_benefits.html). To be eligible, a service member must have 6 years of service (Active or Selective Reserve), and in a short time will incur a 4 year service obligation on the date of approval for the transfer. This transfer must occur while the service member is a member of the Armed Forces, so although the GI Bill can be utilized after your service, if you want to transfer your benefits, you need to do so sooner than later.
Eligible dependents: DEERS enrolled spouse or children, or any combination of these two (It is possible to transfer partial amounts of the benefit by months, so even if you have utilized some of the benefit, your dependents may receive the rest). The use of benefits is restricted in some cases, so follow up with the information available through the VA or your service component.
Although I am certain many of you reading posts regarding military education already eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill are using this benefit, transferring your benefit offers funding for dependent education that might not already be available, while TA remains available for your use while in service. It is an excellent opportunity, but only applies to a certain group of individuals, which is why there is so little circulating information on the topic! If this transfer interests you, I highly encourage you to follow up on the link provided in this article.
Bio: Bradley Hood is a Marine Corps Second Lieutenant in IRR status with 5 years of prior enlisted experience. He is a recent graduate of American Military University, and currently is working towards a Master’s degree in Military History through Norwich. Bradley lives with his beautiful wife in historic NJ.