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As an IRR Member, Why Can’t I Transfer Benefits to My Wife?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am currently in a non-pay status in a Navy VTU, IRR, drilling for retirement points only. I re-affiliated with the SELRES in December 2008 (after a year+ break in service and 7.5 yrs of active duty). In September, 2010, I moved into a non-pay VTU status based on my classification as a key federal employee; I am a federal law enforcement officer. I have 10 qualifying years, 11 total years of service. I am continuing to drill in the hope that my employer’s policy changes and to continue to accrue good years. I recently tried to transfer my Post 9/11 benefits to my wife and was rejected since I am not SELRES at the present. Do I have any recourse? Can I appeal the decision considering I am still in the Navy, actively contributing to my unit by continuing to drill and otherwise meet all the eligibility requirements? Thank you for the assistance.

A: While you qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill yourself, you do not qualify for the transfer-to-dependents option. The way Congress wrote the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you have to be “on active duty on or after August 1, 2009″ to qualify to make a transfer request and they specifically excluded members of the IRR and Fleet Reserve.

Based on their definition, you would not be eligible in your current IRR status. However, Post 9/11 GI Bill SELRES members are eligible to make a transfer request as long as they stay in the Guard or Reserve, but IRR and Fleet Reserve memberships were excluded from that provision for some reason. Because of the wording, I don’t think you have any recourse, but to get either get into the Navy Reserve (as that would make you eligible again) or to go on a deployment and make a transfer request while you are on a Title 10 order for a contingency operation. Sometimes Congress works in mysterious ways.

2 responses on “As an IRR Member, Why Can’t I Transfer Benefits to My Wife?

My situation is similar to the above except that I have been able to transfer the benefits. My question is regarding the 4 additional years required. I have served 2 years of those additional 4 required. But now that I am designated a key federal employe, AR 133-135 states my mandatory transfer to the active status IRR. I still plan on drilling for points but from the looks of it won’t be able to remain in the selres. Does my situation qualify for one of the exemptions to the policy, since the transfer is out of my hands?

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