WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Department of Defense released changes to department policy on the transfer by service members in the Uniformed Services of "Post-9/11 GI Bill" education benefits to eligible family member, July 12.
Effective July 12, 2019, eligibility to transfer those benefits will be limited to service members with less than 16 years of total service, active duty service and/or selected Reserves as applicable.
Previously, there were no restrictions on when service members could transfer education benefits to their family members. The provision for a Sailor to have at least six years of service to apply to transfer benefits remains unchanged.
"After a thorough review of the policy, we saw a need to focus on retention in a time of increased growth of the Armed Forces," said Stephanie Miller, Director of Accessions Policy, Office of the Secretary of Defense. "This change continues to allow career service members that earned this benefit to share it with their family members while they continue to serve." She added "this change is an important step to preserve the distinction of transferability as a retention incentive."
What does this mean for our Sailors?
The change will allow Sailors to retain their eligibility to transfer education benefits even if they have not served the entirety of their obligated service commitment through no fault of their own. This means if a Sailor fails to fulfill their service obligation because of a "force shaping" event (such as officers involuntarily separated as a result of being twice passed over for promotion, or enlisted personnel involuntarily separated as a result of failure to meet minimum retention standards, such as high-year tenure) the transfer of benefits to a family member would not be impacted.
Exceptions that permitted service members with at least ten years of service to obligate less than four years if prevented by statute or policy from doing so, such as enlisted high year tenure, have been cancelled. All approvals for transferability of Post-9/11 GI bill require a four-year commitment in the Armed Forces and, more importantly, the member must be eligible to be retained for four years from the date of election.
A NAVADMIN with Navy's implantation guidance will be released shortly.
For more on the policy, visit http://www.esd.whs.mil/DD/.
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