Post-9/11 GI Bill Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: What does the Post-9/11 GI Bill provide?
Answer: Post-9/11 GI Bill offers increased education benefits to veterans who served on or after 11 Sep 01. Benefits are based on aggregate, honorable service, and include college tuition (up to a certain amount), a monthly housing stipend and an annual books/supplies stipend. Active duty and distance learning students may receive a pro-rated benefit. Eligible active duty service members and Selected Reserve may chose to transfer benefits to DEERS-registered dependents, but stipulations apply and require eligibility determination by Service component.
Question 2: Who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
Answer: Everyone with at least 90 aggregate, active duty days of honorable service on or after 11 Sep 01 is eligible for benefits under the new GI Bill. For full benefits, a member must have served at least 36 months active duty on or after 11 Sep 01. Reserve and National Guard members with 3 years of aggregate, active duty service on or after 11 Sep 01 can also qualify for full GI Bill benefits. Eligibility stipulations and benefit details are available at base education offices and at http://www.gibill.va.gov.
Question 3: When and how can servicemembers and veterans apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
Answer: The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin accepting applications for the Post-9/11 GI Bill on May 1, 2009, on the DVA Web site or by mail. You should check the GI Bill website regularly to get the most up-to-date information about the program. You can sign up to receive an email alert by following the instructions at http://www.gibill.va.gov. NOTE: Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are only payable for training pursued on or after August 1, 2009; no payments can be made under this program for training pursued before that date.
You should check the GI Bill website regularly to get the most up-to-date information about the program. You can sign up to receive an email alert by following the instructions at http://www.gibill.va.gov.
NOTE: Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits are only payable for training pursued on or after Aug. 1, 2009. No payments can be made under this program for training pursued before that date.
Question 4: Who is eligible for the transfer-to-dependent option?
Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill's transfer-to-dependent option is designed to help improve military recruiting retention and is only available to eligible active duty and Selected Reservists serving on or after 1 Aug 09. Eligibility requirements include servicemembers who meet all Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility requirements, have completed six years of service, commit to serving an additional four more years, and have registered their dependents in DEERS. Selected Reservists must meet the same requirement as Reg AF members, but should contact their Service component for exact eligibility requirements.
Question 5: What is the definition of Selected Reserve?
Answer: The Selected Reserve consist of units and individuals within the Ready Reserve designated by their respective Services and approved by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as so essential to initial wartime missions that they have priority over all other Reserves. The Selected Reserve consists of additional sub-subcategories:
- Drilling Reservists in Units - trained unit members who participate in unit training activities on a part-time basis
- Training Pipeline Personnel - enlisted members of the Selected Reserve who have not yet completed initial active duty for training and officers who are in training for professional categories or in undergraduate flying training
- Individual Mobilization Augmentees - trained individuals assigned to an active component, Selective Service System, or Federal Emergency Management Agency organization's billet which must be filled on or shortly after mobilization. IMAs participate in training activities on a part-time basis with an active component unit in preparation for recall in a mobilization
- Active Guard/Reserve - National Guard or Reserve members of the Selected Reserve who are ordered to active duty or full-time National Guard duty for the purpose of organizing, administering, recruiting, instructing, or training the reserve component units
Question 6: How and when do I apply for the transfer option?
Answer: To transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to dependents, eligible active duty and Selected Reserve service members can apply beginning 1 Aug 09 through the Transfer Education Benefits (TEB) website. The transfer-to-dependents option is designed to improve military recruiting efforts and retention rates with current Regular AF and Selected Reserve members. You should check the DVA website regularly to get the most up-to-date information about the program at http://www.gibill.va.gov.
Question 7: If I'm approved for the transferability option of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, who can I transfer my benefits to?
Answer: If your branch of service approves you for the transferability option, you can transfer your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse and/or one or more of your unmarried children who are under the age of 23. After the entitlement has been transferred to the spouse or child meeting the above requirements, a later divorce from the spouse or marriage of the child should not affect the spouse's or child's eligibility; however, the transferor retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time. Children may use transferred benefits up until the age of 26.
Question 8: How long can I use the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to me?
Answer: If you are a spouse, you can begin using the transferred benefits after the transferor completes 6 years of service. If you are a child and you are at least 18 years of age (or you have completed your secondary school requirements), you can begin using the transferred benefits after the transferor completes 10 years of service. You remain eligible to use the transferred entitlement until the earliest of the following dates:
For a spouse:
- The transferor's ending date of eligibility (15 years from the transferor's last discharge from service); or
- The ending date specified by the transferor (if one was specified); or
- The effective date the transferor revokes the transferred entitlement; or
- If the transferor dies while on active duty, 15 years after the transferor's date of death.
For a child:
NOTE: The transferor retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time
- Your 26th birthday; or
- The ending date specified by the transferor (if one was specified); or
- The effective date the transferor revokes the transferred entitlement.
Question 9: How will AFPC determine eligibility and who do I call with questions about AFPC's decision?
Answer: AFPC will receive a notice through the TEB Web site, and will begin processing eligibility verification as soon as received using MilPDS, DEERS, ARMS and VA info - to include confirmation of time in service, retainability, dependents in DEERs and processing the Active Duty Service Commitment. The decision will be transmitted back through the TEB Web site for the member to see. For questions, Regular AF members can call the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102. Reserve and Guard members should contact their Service component.
Question 10: Once you apply for the transfer, when will I know if I've been approved for it? How long will this take?
A11: Members will receive notification of approval/disapproval through the DMDC TEB website. The process begins as soon as AFPC receives a notice of application through the TEB Web site. AFPC staff members verify eligibility requirements using MilPDS, DEERS, ARMS and VA info - to include confirmation of time in service, retainability, dependent information and processing ADSC. Eligibility confirmation will be transmitted back through the TEB Web site for the member to see.
Question 11: Can my benefits be divided and transferred to more than one of my family members?
Answer: Yes. The sponsor who applies for the transfer-to-dependent option chooses what family members to transfer benefits to, and what percentage of those benefits go to each family member.
Question 12: What about service members who are now deceased--are their dependents eligible for the transfer option? How do they apply?
Answer: The Post-9/11 GI Bill's transfer-to-dependent option is designed to help improve military recruiting efforts and retention rates and is only available to eligible active duty and Selected Reservists serving beginning 1 Aug 09. For servicemembers who pass away after 1 Aug 09 and previously applied to transfer benefits to their dependents, the family members will receive those benefits. However, if a service member did not initiate a transfer of benefits to their dependents before their death, family members are not eligible.
Question 13: What about Airmen who have UIFs, non-retainability or cannot re-enlist? Can they apply for the transfer option?
Answer: Eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to, servicemembers who meet all Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility requirements (to include honorable service/discharge), have completed six years of service, are willing to serve an additional four more years, and have registered their dependents in DEERS. Members with a UIF can apply, however individuals who are unable to meet 4 more years of retainability are ineligible to transfer benefits to their dependents. Individuals receiving a less than honorable discharge, even if previously eligible/approved for the transfer-to-dependent option, will lose the transfer benefit and become ineligible for future use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
Question 14: What about Guard and Reserves? Are they eligible for the transfer option?
Answer: Yes, Selected Reservists who meet eligibility requirements are eligible to transfer benefits to their dependents. For specific eligibility requirements, please contact your Service component.
Question 15: Are Wounded Warriors eligible for the transfer-to-dependent option?
Answer: Yes, Wounded Warriors are eligible to transfer benefits to dependents as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, served at least 6 years active duty as of 1 Aug 09 and will commit to serving and additional four years. If Wounded Warriors are unable to complete the additional 4-year commitment due to their medical condition, the DVA may still allow them to maintain their transfer-to-dependents option. In fact, for any Airmen who were eligible and initiated transfer of GI benefits to their dependents, and then became involuntarily separated for a reason out of their control before completing their commitment due to medical issues/death, RIF, hardship, etc., the DVA considers that "completed service" and will honor the transfer of benefits to dependents.
Question 16: I separated two years ago from active duty, but served more than 6 years since 9/11 and have stayed in the Reserves, working on and off again on active duty orders. Am I eligible for the transfer option?
Answer: Requirements for GI Bill eligibility and the transfer-to-dependent option should be for Selected Reservists as it is for Regular AF members. Service members in the Guard or Reserves must contact their Service component for exact eligibility requirements.
Question 17: How does the Post-9/11 GI Bill differ from the Montgomery GI Bill?
Answer: For many eligible participants, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a better alternative than other education benefit programs, such as the Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve and the Reserve Education Assistance Program (REAP). However, deciding which GI Bill to use depends on several factors, including the type of education or training you plan to take and the amount of benefits received under each program. Factors to consider when choosing between the two GI Bills include:
- In some locations the costs of college and housing (which you would receive payment for under the Post-9/11 GI Bill) are less than the payment you would receive under the Montgomery GI Bill
- In some states veterans do not have to pay tuition at selected state colleges. The Post-9/11 GI Bill may then pay only the housing benefit and the book stipend. (Since you have no tuition costs the Post-9/11 GI Bill will not pay the college any tuition.) Your payments under other GI Bill programs such as the Active-Duty GI Bill may be higher in these cases
- If you participated in the $600 buy-up under the Montgomery GI Bill or REAP you will not receive that additional benefit under the Post 9/11 GI Bill
For detailed information on comparing the two programs, or to see case studies showing the difference between the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty and Reserves) or REAP, visit the DVA's GI Bill Comparison site.
Question 18: What if I'm currently getting the Montgomery GI Bill? Can I convert to the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
Answer: An individual who has met the requirements to establish eligibility under Post-9/11 GI Bill as of Aug. 1, 2009, may make an irreversible election from the MGIB to the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Individuals converting to the Post-9/11 GI Bill from the MGIB generally will be limited to the amount of remaining months of their MGIB entitlement unless they have a separate period of Title 10 Federal activation under the Guard/Reserves that would qualify them for additional benefits. If all MGIB benefits have already been used (36 months), eligible members can still transfer to the Post-9/11 GI Bill and receive an additional 12 months of benefits (48 months total combined between two GI Bills allowed under law).
Question 19: Can I use the Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits while on active duty?
Answer: Yes, but active duty members should explore tuition assistance options first, as the GI Bill benefit is reduced by the amount of TA received. The benefit is greatest when used as a veteran.
Question 20: I want to transfer my GI Bill benefits to my dependents. What do I do first?
Answer: Once the DMDC TEB website is up and running, you can submit your application to transfer your benefits through the site. Applying to transfer benefits also suffices as electing to take the Post-9/11 GI Bill (i.e. the member doesn't need to initiate two separate actions; 1 to apply for the GI Bill and another to transfer). Applying to transfer benefits can only be made while an individual is serving on active duty or in the Selected Reserves.
Question 21: How many months of benefits can a sponsor transfer?
Answer: Individuals my transfer any unused benefits, but no more than 36 months.
Question 22: My spouse and I are dual-military and only have 1 dependent. Can we both transfer our benefits to the same dependent?
Answer: Yes, but it doesn't double the amount of months or money received each month (the maximum a child can receive is 36 months of entitlement).
Question 23: What happens if a sponsor fails to complete the four-year commitment?
Answer: Generally, the benefit is lost. There are some situations, i.e. RIF, HYT and medical separations, which allow the benefit to continue. The specifics of what situations will or will not allow continuation of benefits are currently under review by DoD.
Question 24: Are there any situations where the veteran, spouse or child(ren) are liable to repay money to DVA?
Answer: Yes. The student and sponsor are jointly liable to repay all or a portion of benefits provided by the DVA if the sponsor fails to complete the four-year commitment (exceptions exist in the event of death, separation for disability, hardship or medical condition); if a course load changes (i.e. full time to part time); if the student drops out of school; or in other situations where money is received and the individual is not attending school.
Question 25: Will there be more guidance for the new GI Bill? What other sources are available on Post-9/11 GI Bill information?
Answer: Yes, guidance continues to be released on the Post-9/11 GI Bill from the DVA and DoD. Policy and procedures will be provided as soon as it becomes available. Source for official guidance on the GI Bill program is the DVA (www.gibill.va.gov). Source for official guidance for the Regular AF transfer-to-dependent option is AFPC/DPSIT (http://ask.afpc.randolph.af.mil/). Source for Selected Reserves is their Service component (AF Reserve Command or the National Guard Bureau).
Updated: May 2014