Under the Serve America Act
, AmeriCorps members who begin on or after October 1, 2009 and are 55 or older when commencing service can give their education award to a child, step child, grandchild, step grandchild or foster child. This provides an excellent incentive for members who neither wish to return to school nor have loan balances to repay. The child would then have 10 years to use the award. To receive the award, the child must meet citizenship requirements for AmeriCorps. (The benefit does not apply to VISTAs.)
You can transfer your award directly from your My AmeriCorps account.
A transferred award is treated much like a standard Education Award with a few exceptions.
- The beneficiary of the award has 10 years to use the award (not seven) from the date when the transferring individual completes a service term.
- The award's beneficiary cannot put loans into national service forbearance while the transferring individual is serving.
- The award's beneficiary can use the award at a Title IV school but NOT a non-Title IV school that is on the approved list of learning institutions for the G.I. Bill. [This policy differs from the traditional Education Award.]
- You can transfer the award to a child, grandchild, or foster child. You CANNOT transfer it to other family members, mentored children, or scholarship funds.
- The transferring and designated individual are required to provide a certification (under a penalty of law) that each meets the criteria to give or receive a transferred award.
- When an Education Award is transferred, it affects the transferring and designated individual’s ability to receive future awards. For example, if a parent gives her child two full-time awards, neither parent nor child will be able to receive awards in the future.
Considerations for Individuals Giving Away the Award
- You can transfer one award one time to one designated individual. If you serve multiple terms, you can designate different awards to different individuals. In general, you cannot re-transfer an award after selecting someone to receive it. There are two exceptions: 1) If the designated individual rejects the award before any portion has been used and the award has not yet expired (under the seven-year deadline), you can transfer it to someone else. 2) You are able to re-transfer the award for good cause, such as the death of the designated individual or other extreme circumstances. The Corporation for National and Community Service will determine the circumstances that constitute a “good cause.”
- Since the recipient of your award will have 10 years from the close of your service to use it, beware of giving it to young children. Children seven or younger will be 17 or younger before the award expires and might never have a chance to use it.
- At any time after you have designated someone to receive your award, you can revoke any unused portion of the award.
- While the award expires after 10 years for the beneficiary, the transferring individual's control over it expires in seven years. You have seven years from the completion of a service term to designate some to receive the award and/or revoke any unused portion of the award. There are instances where you can extend the seven year deadline.
Considerations for Individuals Receiving an Award
- As stated previously, to receive all or part of someone else's award, you must 1) be designated by a qualifying individual; 2) be the child, grandchild, or foster child of the transferring individual, and 3) be a citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident of the United States.
- When you receive an award, it reduces your ability to receive Education Awards in the future --whether through additional gifts or your own AmeriCorps service. You can still participate in national service; you just cannot receive the value of two full-time awards. The amount of your future awards are tied to the percentage of a full-time award you received and the amount of a full-time award in the year the transferring individual’s service was performed. If you receive two full-time awards, you will not be able to receive any further Education Awards.
- Just because someone designated an Education Award to you, it doesn't mean you have to accept it. By accepting it, you will diminish your ability to receive future awards . You also might have to pay taxes on the transferred award in the year you use it.