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Why Can’t My Husband Transfer His Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Our Son?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband was honorably discharged Sep 25, 2009 – one month after the August of 2009 GI Bill was being put into place. He was unaware of the transfer of benefits and was not informed. I was told that we could appeal but when he called, some lady told him that he had to be active in the military in which he is not and told him automatically no without even getting any information from him. The GI Bill website says as long as he was in service on active or selective reserve on Aug. 1, 2009 in which he was, he is capable of benefits. There is a 1 month gap. How can we fight this and what do we need to do to appeal? Thank you.

A: There was a lack of information in general concerning the Post 9/11 GI Bill in the early days and months after August 1, 2009, so it is not surprising your husband did not know about having to make a transfer request while he was still serving. And that is one key of the Post 9/11 GI Bill and transfer to dependents option – still serving at the time of the transfer request.

The other two are he has to have served for at least six years and would have had to agree to serve an additional four years on his enlistment at the time of his transfer request.

So you can see why the “lady” told him he did not qualify – he was not currently serving at the time he wanted to make his transfer request.
However, all may not be lost yet. If your husband served in the Army or Air Force, you can appeal the fact that he did not know he had to make a request while still serving, however his request does not go the VA.

To make an appeal request, your husband has to fill out DD 149 – Application for Correction of Military Record and submit it to his service branch Board for Correction of Military Records. They will review his submitted information and make a decision on whether they think he knew and did not act while still serving, or if he in fact did not know until after he got out. You can get the address by Googling his branch of service Discharge Review Board.

The Board goes in under the assumption he knew, so it is his mission to convince them otherwise. It can take a while to hear back and right now only about 41% of the appeals are getting approved, but it is worth a try.

If your husband was in the Marines or Navy, he can still submit an appeal request, but these two branches have yet to act on any submitted appeals.

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