MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Sailors who wish to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to eligible family members should act sooner rather than later to avoid missing out, according to Navy officials.
"The transferability option must be elected while the service member is serving in the armed forces," said Paul Wilder, program manager, Post-9/11 GI Bill, Navy Personnel Command. "Active-duty members who separate, retire, transfer to the Fleet Reserve, or who were discharged prior to August 1, 2009 are not eligible to elect transferability."
Despite efforts to educate personnel, some Sailors mistakenly believe that they may elect transferability after they leave the Navy, according to Wilder.
"Transferability under Post-9/11 GI Bill is a recruiting and retention incentive. While a service member may be eligible for education benefits provided by Post-9/11, generally the option to transfer a member's unused benefits to a family member requires an additional service commitment in the Armed Forces," said Wilder.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides eligible Sailors up to 36 months of tuition and fees for college, and may also include funding for books and supplies and a monthly housing allowance that may be used to offset living expenses. It also includes a provision for Sailors who obligate additional service to transfer benefits to a spouse and/or children. Sailors must be in the Armed Forces on or after August 1, 2009 to be eligible for transferability.
In order for Sailors to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits they must have at least six years of service in the Armed Forces on the date of election and agree to serve four additional years from the date of election. The obligated service must be reflected in the service member's electronic service record (ESR).
A spouse may use the benefit immediately upon transfer, while the service member is serving in the military or after separation. Spouses are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the member is serving on active duty, but they are eligible for the books and supplies stipend. Spouses have up to 15 years after the service member's last separation from active duty to use the benefit.
Children may start to use transferred education benefits after the service member has completed at least 10 years of service. They are entitled to the monthly housing allowance and books and supply stipend even though the service member is on active duty and are not subject to the 15 year delimiting date, but cannot use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age.
Sailors must be on active duty and family members must be listed as the member's dependents in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) at the time of transfer to be eligible for benefits. Once the member leaves active duty, there is no way to add new dependents for transfer of benefits.
Benefits are assigned in monthly increments at the time the member elects transferability. Sailors may elect to transfer all Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to one family member, or divide their unused benefits among their family members.
"Once a Sailor designates their family members for transferability, the service member can reassign the number of months a family member receives or revoke unused benefits, but they may not add family members (dependents who were not previously designated) once they leave the service," said Wilder.
Additionally, Wilder recommends Sailors who have requested transferability log into Defense Manpower Data Center's web site at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/faces/index.jspx?_afrWindowMode=0&_afrLoop=232231735324000&_adf.ctrl-state=114qwg59qg_4 to confirm transferability is complete.
"Some Sailors who elected transferability at the transfer education benefits web site never went back to verify the request was approved. By the time they realize they do not have an approved transferability they no longer have enough time on their current service obligation to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill entitlement," said Wilder.
The only recourse for these Sailors is to submit a request to BCNR (Board of Correction for Naval Records).
Last November NPC developed an automated email notification process that informs a Sailor when their request has been rejected. This email is sent to the address they have associated with their BOL (BUPERS Online) account.
Sailors with 90 days of active duty service after September 11, 2001, are eligible for education benefits under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, with no buy-in costs.
Sailors must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the benefit.
More than 60,000 Sailors have elected to transfer education benefits since the program was implemented in 2009.
For more information visit the NPC web site's Post-9/11 GI Bill section at http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/career/education/GIBill/Pages/Post911GIBill.aspx
For more news from Navy Personnel Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/npc/.