The Department of Defense has changed the stipulations in regards to transferring the GI Bill to the service member’s family members. In the past, the primary stipulation was that the service member had to serve at least six years before their GI Bill could be applied to their spouse or children. This has remained the same, but now if the person decides to stay in the military for longer than 16 years, their family members are no longer eligible to have the benefit transferred to them. They also must have signed up for another four years after their initial six to meet this criterion.

In short: if you are a career military person, after 16 years in the service your spouse and/or children will no longer be able to use your GI Bill.

The director of Accessions Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Stephanie Miller, said that, “After a thorough review of the policy, we saw a need to focus on retention in a time of increased growth of the Armed Forces. This change continues to allow career service members that earned this benefit to share it with their family members while they continue to serve … this change is an important step to preserve the distinction of transferability as a retention incentive.”

The precise wording reads as follows:

Only members with at least 6 years, but not more than 16 years, of total creditable service in the Military Services (active duty service and/or Selected Reserve), NOAA Corps, or PHS will be eligible to transfer education benefits to eligible family members.”

Though the decision has been made, it will not come into effect until this time next year. This gives military families at least some time to adjust to the new changes.

They have specified several exceptions, many having to do with the new changes and others having to with some of the existing policy (for example, someone who has served six years, reenlisted for four more, but then gets hurt and medically discharged). However, barring these exceptions, these are the general changes.

This comes soon after the “Forever GI Bill” was signed by President Trump, which negated the 15 year limit to the GI Bill upon separation from military service. It also ensured that anyone with a Purple Heart (regardless of whether or not they fulfilled the minimum service time of three years) would be able to enjoy the GI Bill. The bill also protects veterans if their school closes or they lose accreditation. It also reduced the monthly living stipend, in line with the reduction of BAH across the board — to name a few of the changes. Read more about the “Forever GI Bill” here.