Being I’m Eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Will I Be Able to Transfer It As a National Guardsman?
Q: I’m in the GA NG and I’m on a deployment until November. I’m finding it difficult to make a decision on what GI Bill option to utilize when I return. My wife and I will both be attending school when I return to the States. I’ll have more than 12 months of active service from this deployment, being in the Guard since February 09. From what I’m reading, it looks like I’m not eligible to choose the Post 9/11 GI Bill and transfer benefits, so I have to decide between REAP and utilizing the Post 9/11 myself. I won’t be attending online classes, and plan on 12 credit hours per semester.
A: This obviously will come as a surprise, but you are eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. All that is required for minimum eligibility are 90 days of Title 10 service in support of a contingency operation and most likely your deployment fills that requirement.
Eligibility for the Post 9/11 GI Bill is built on an eligible time-served basis, so the more deployments you have, the higher a tier percentage you’ll earn. A typical one-year deployment puts you at the 60% tier, meaning the VA would pay up to 60% of your tuition at a public school or up to 60% of the maximum of $19,198.31 per year at a private school. In addition, you would get 60% of both the housing allowance and book stipend.
With one-year of qualifying service, REAP would pay you up to $988.80 per month to go to school and you have to pay your own tuition, books, etc. You would have to crunch the numbers as far as what 60% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill would pay you in comparison to REAP to see which would be the better deal for you.
However, as far as transferring benefits to your spouse or dependents, you can only do that if you go with the Post 9/11 GI Bill as REAP does not have a transfer of benefits option. The transfer requirements for Selected Reservists are the same as for active duty:
• Having served for a minimum of six years.
• Currently serving in the Armed Forces of the United States (of which the National Guard is a part).
• Having at least four years left on your enlistment at the time of your transfer request.
With you coming into the Guard in 2009, it looks like you have one more year before you meet the six-year service requirement. So once eligible, and ensuring your have at least four years left on your enlistment, go ahead and submit a transfer request through the milConnect website.