One great aspect of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, was the ability to transfer to your spouse or dependents. Up until this week, the changes with GI Transferability were due to take place on July 12, 2019. However, the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer changes have been delayed to January 12, 2020. Giving six more months before this goes into effect.
What Are The Changes?
The upcoming change would limit the the ability to transfer your Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. The ability to transfer would be limited to service members that have less than 16 years of total active-duty or selected reserve service.
Before this change, there are no restrictions on when a service member could transfer educational benefits to their family members.
This change was meant to help with recruiting and retention incentives. However some think that it would actually hurt retention rates.
Why Is The Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer Change Delayed?
Congressmen, Joe Courtney, a Democrat from Connecticut, won bipartisan support during consideration of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act for an amendment which would prevent the Secretary of Defense from restricting the ability of service members with more than 16 years of service to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their eligible dependents.
Rep. Courtney stated, “My amendment to this year’s defense authorization bill would prevent the Secretary of Defense from imposing restrictions on Post-9/11 G.I. Bill transferability based on a maximum number of years of service. If the Department of Defense will not reconsider this misguided decision before it goes into effect next month, the strong action in the NDAA last night should send a strong and powerful signal that it’s time to slow down.”
VSO Support For Reversal of Eligibility Changes
There are a number of veterans’ organizations that have called for a reversal of this policy. These VSO’s include IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.) They have submitted a petition against the GI Bill transferability changes.
Rep. Courtney sent a letter in June about delaying the changes. The Representative recommending delaying until Congress has fully weighed in on this issue with the FY2020 NDAA.
In response to his letter, James N. Stewart, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness), wrote a letter to lawmakers stating that they would push back the date of the GI Bill transfer change to next January.
Time to Reconsider Limiting Transfer Changes
In response to the change, Courtney stated, “This is a welcome decision by the department to slow down implementation of a policy that will unfairly affect some of our most seasoned servicemembers. It is clear that our letter sent a strong message that DOD should give Congress time to consider my amendment to the NDAA which would block this restriction from going into effect entirely. I look forward to working with members of the House as we consider NDAA on the floor next week and with the Senate in the months ahead to protect retention benefits for post-9/11 servicemembers.”
We will have to see how all of this plays out. We’ll see if this will really go through in January or will end up being taken out of legislation altogether.