Rules for transferal of education benefits

By George Compton
Saturday, July 11, 2009

Q. Has there been any guidance on transferring education benefits with the new G.I. Bill?

A. Any service member in the U.S. armed forces on or after Aug. 1 can elect to transfer education benefits to their spouse, one or more of their children, or a combination of children and spouse, with the following requirements:

– Has served six years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or selected reserve) and agrees to serve four additional years or

– Has at least 10 years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) and is precluded by standard policy or statute from committing to four additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute, or

– Is eligible for retirement during the period of Aug. 1, 2009, through Aug. 1, 2013, and agrees to serve the additional period to obtain 20 years of active service.

Q. I know there are free passes for veterans at state parks. Can you explain the criteria and how to apply?

A. To receive the state park pass, a veteran must have served during a time of conflict and have a disability rating of at least 50 percent, or have been a prisoner of war. There is a form to send to Sacramento to apply, and the veteran needs a letter from the VA to verify service and disability. This office has applications and will assist in requesting the VA letter. Ventura County parks honor the state park pass.

Q. I have been using education benefits and last month I tried to verify enrollment on the VA Web site. I had forgotten my password and the site would not let me retrieve it. Is there another option?

A. That site did have a problem with retrieving passwords, but the problem was corrected, so you should be OK now. If you still have a problem, call 888-442-4551. That is for the VA regional office in Oklahoma, so call early in the day.

— George Compton, a retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the county Human Services Agency. Send questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033, phone 385-6366, fax 385-6371, or e-mail [email protected].

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