After 20 years of service in the Army, I'm retiring. How do I transfer my GI Bill education benefits to my spouse or children?

When Congress passed the new GI Bill, it included an option to transfer education benefits to spouses and children. DoD wanted to entice troops to reenlist, so the transferability part of the benefits only applies to servicemembers with 10 years of active duty or a commitment to serve 10 years.

  • Since you were on active duty on Aug. 1, 2009 (when new GI Bill benefits commenced), and you served more than 10 years, you can transfer benefits to your spouse and children. Those who retired or were discharged before Aug. 1 are not able to transfer their GI Bill benefits to others.
  • Spouses will have 15 years to use any transferred education benefits; children must use their benefits before they turn 26. Servicemembers may elect to give percentages of their benefits to both spouses and children. But there is a limit on how many months of entitlement that can be given.