By Debbie Gregory.
Planning to retire soon? Not if you want to transfer benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to family members. This benefit, which helps provide education for military family members, will undergo changes across the board on August 1st.
On that date, this active duty and veteran education program will require all active-duty military members, regardless of branch, to serve four more years on active duty before they can transfer their benefits to family members. Currently, most military members who want to transfer benefits must sign up for four more years.
However, service members nearing retirement often fell under a temporary rule that allowed them to transfer the benefit with no additional time in uniform to up to three additional years of service. The calculation was made based on their retirement eligibility date.
That waiver officially expires at the end of July.
“It’s across the board,” said Keith Davis, chief of education and training at the Ramstein Air Base education office. “Effective Aug. 1, all members of the military, regardless of branch, will be required to serve a four-year active-duty service commitment at the time they elect to transfer benefits to a family member.”
The four years of service begins the moment they transfer the benefits but doesn’t necessarily mean they have to re-enlist for another four years.
“You have to give the military four years from the day you execute the transfer,” Davis said. “If you have two years left and you transfer (benefits), you would have to extend for an additional two years to satisfy the requirement.”
The change mostly affects senior officers and enlisted personnel who are nearing retirement.
The program, which provides education for military members around the world, is popular with troops because of the wide-range of benefits it provides. In 2009, officials began allowing service members to transfer the benefits to their spouses and children as a retention incentive.
To transfer Post-9/11 G.I. benefits, a service member must have a minimum of six years in the military. To be eligible to receive those military for education benefits, their spouse or child must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) computerized database.
Military members can transfer the benefit back to themselves to fund their veteran education for up to 15 years after leaving the service, but cannot transfer the benefits to their dependents after retiring. Army officials added that soldiers who are involuntarily separated under force-shaping initiatives will be able to retain the benefits they transferred as well.