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Can My Husband,Who Retired From PHS, Transfer His Post 9/11 GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband just retired from the PHS after 22 years of service. He would like to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits to our son who is a freshman in college. Do you have to transfer the benefit before you retire or can he do it now in anticipation of approval of bill in Aug 2011?

A: If the PHS rules follow the military side of transferring the Post 9/11 GI Bill, he would have had to make the transfer before he retired, which he could not do due to the fact that he retired before the legislation allowing him to make a transfer took effect – a catch 22.

On the military side, to make a transfer request, the servicemember had to serve a minimum of six years in the Armed Forces and agree to serve an additional four years. If the servicemember was retirement eligible, then no additional service time was required as long as the transfer was complete before the person retired.

Many 20-year plus veterans retiring before August 1, 2009 were eligible for the transfer option but because they had to be serving “on or after August 1, 2009”, they were excluded from making a transfer request. However, for them, a recent legislation was introduced to allow them to make a transfer request (provides the bill passes – the last bill never made it to a vote and expired.)

Your husband might want to contact his legislators and ask they include retired PHS personnel in HR bill 1130 and ask for their support of this bill. I doubt if anyone has thought about the new legislation going into effect on August 1st and tying it to HR1130.

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