By Debbie Gregory.
While most people know that the GI Bill is administered and paid for through the Department of Veterans Affairs, what most people probably don’t know is that the Defense Department controls the transferability of the benefit. And the DoD is planning some changes to that transferability.
The transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows servicemembers to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. Current GI Bill policy allows service members with at least six years of service to transfer their benefits to a dependent, provided they agree to serve four more.
The request to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while servicing as an active member of the Armed Forces.
Anthony Kurta, currently the acting deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the department intends to issue a policy change affecting the transferability of benefits, which will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total service.
The addition of a cap to one aspect of the GI Bill doesn’t sit well with veterans who recently fought for a provision in the new Forever GI Bill that lifted a 15-year time limit on the benefit.
“As a matter of principle, the American Legion is against anything that would degrade a veteran’s current benefit,” said American Legion spokesman Joe Plenzler.
With that said, as the transferability only applies to active duty servicemembers, this change should have no impact on veterans.