As mentioned in the first article, the Post 9/11 GI Bill is unique in several ways. One item – not available in any other GI Bill – is the ability for family members to use Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits under certain conditions.

Transferred Education Benefits

Service members eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill may request a transfer of benefits after serving their sixth year of service and have agreed to serve an additional four years of service. In most cases, service members may not transfer the benefit after their 16th year of service, unless they have at least four years left on their current enlistment.


A spouse or dependent must have an approved Department of Defense Transfer of Benefits request that was submitted by their sponsor and the recipients must enrolled in DEERS.

How the transferred education benefit is used depends on if the recipient is a spouse or dependent child.


In the case of the servicemember still serving, a spouse may use their approved benefits right away. However, if the servicemember has been discharged from the military, then the timeline for the spouse to use the benefits depends on when the service member separated from the military.

If separated before January 1, 2013, the benefits expire 15 years from the date of discharge; if the discharge date is on or after January 1, 2013, then there isn’t a time limit for the use of the transferred benefits.


For a dependent child, the timeline to start using their benefits opens once the servicemember has completed 10 years of service and the child has either graduated from high school (or has a diploma equivalent) or be at least 18 years old. The timeline closes once the dependent reaches the age of 26.

Revocation of Benefits

A servicemember or veteran may revoke a previous transfer of benefits either in part or in full. After revocation, the revoked benefits may either be retained by the servicemember or reassigned to a spouse or dependent that has previously received a transfer of benefits. However, benefits may not be transferred to a dependent who did not receive a previous transfer of benefits while the servicemember was still on active duty. For example, a child born to the servicemember after they separated from active duty would not be able to receive a transfer of benefits.

Fry Scholarship

This scholarship incudes up to 36 months of benefits paid at the same rate as Post 9/11 GI Bill.

  • Tuition and fees paid directly to the school at the in-state rate
  • Monthly housing allowance paid to the student at the E5 with dependent rate
  • Up to $1,000 per year in book stipend money paid to the student


A surviving spouse or dependent child of a servicemember (active duty or Selected Reserve) who died in the line of duty while serving after September 10, 2001 or, the child or spouse of a Selected Reserve servicemember who died from a service-connected disability on or after September 11, 2001.


  • May be married or unmarried
  • If age 18 or graduated from high school before January 1, 2013, may use the benefit until age 33.
  • If age 18 or graduated from high school on or after January 1, 2013, may use the benefit at any age or until graduation.


May use the benefits until remarried or until the benefit is exhausted.

Note: Spouses or dependent children that are eligible for the Fry Scholarship may also qualify for Chapter 35 – Survivor’s and Dependents Educational Assistance, however, only one GI Bill may be used at a time.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill continues to be a crucial resource for many veterans (and their families) seeking higher education opportunities after their military service. It has played a significant role in helping veterans and their families transition to civilian life by providing them with the means to pursue education and training for a wide range of career paths.

By using the Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefit, it is possible to graduate with a four-year degree and incur little to no out-of-pocket expenses.

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.