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Why Didn’t They Tell Us About Being On Active Duty?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband retired Sept 2009 after almost 30 years in the Air Force. All summer while on terminal leave, we contacted the VA and we were told as long as my husband was on active duty as of 1 Aug 2009, we would have no problem transferring benefits to our children. Now we are being told he would have had to transfer benefits while on active duty. Is there something in writing prior to Aug 1 2009 that stipulates this?

A:  What you were told is correct, however, they should have continued and told you he had to still be on active duty at the time he made a transfer request. That wasn’t real clear then, as the that GI Bill was just being introduced and nobody knew the rules real well.

And it still is not clear and up front in any documentation that I can find. Either they didn’t know at the time, or they were making an assumption you knew and being he was still on active duty, he was going to make his request before he retired.

The rules for transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits have always read you have to be “on active duty on or after August 1, 2009” at the time you make a transfer; once retired, you are no longer eligible to make the transfer.

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