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Why Are There Rules Like This On Transferring My GI Bill That I Earned?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and I want to transfer all benefits to my wife and the Navy is telling me that I have to have at least 4 years on my contract left in order to transfer it. I have about 3 and a half years left and don’t know what to do in order to transfer it. I asked to reenlist but then in order to reenlist I have to be within a year of separation. Why are there rules like this on transferring my GI Bill I earned? Are there ways around this? And is what they are telling me true?

A: Yes, what they are telling you is true and no there is no way around it. Congress wrote the rules so the transfer option would be used as a reenlistment option, hence the four years future obligation. Just so everyone is clear, you can still make a transfer request with less than a four-year obligation – it just will not get approved.

Just so you know, the other part of the equation is you have to have served for at least six years, in addition to having the four-year future obligation. That can be somewhat mis-leading because as a servicemember, you qualify for 100% of the Post 9/11 GI Bill with three years of service, but it takes six years before you can use the transfer option.

What is unfortunate is the Navy’s reenlistment policy of having to be within a year of separation. So it will be 2 ½ years before your reenlistment window opens which will delay your wife’s schooling by that number of years. If she could start now, she would be over half done by then.

But, those are the rules and there isn’t anything either one of us can do to change them. Knowing what they are is half the battle.

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