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Could You Give Us Some Guidance On How to Appeal This or Where We Go From Here?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I am simply beside myself. For the past 2 years my son has been attending the University of Colorado at Boulder as an Environmental Engineering student at the rate of $50,000 a year out of my pocket, cash. My son’s father is a retired U.S. Army Veteran with a retirement date of 7/31/2009. During the last 6 months of his active duty he has NEVER fully informed of the proper way to prepare to transfer all the unused educational benefits he earned to our son. From what I understand, he should have put the transfer of benefits in while he was on active duty, plus, he should have stayed on active duty an additional 2 days for a retirement date after 8/2/2009, correct? This is a no-brainer! Had we been armed with the right information these easy tasks would have been done. Our family deserves these benefits and we should not be penalized because we were ill-informed of a brand spanking new program. Aside from one form and 24 hours the benefits are still earned. Please, could you give us some guidance from here on how to appeal this or where we can go from here? From what I have read online we are not alone. There are several families I have read who were also not informed of the proper ways to transfer these benefits prior to retirement. Thanks!

A: I’m not sure how you are spending $50,000 per year for your son to go to school at CU-Boulder when their website is showing $23,386 including resident tuition, room and board, and books, unless you meant $50,000 for the two years combined; that I can see. If your $50,000 per year figure is accurate however, something is terribly wrong, as a student paying out-state tuition is only about $33,000 per year.

Anyway, on to your question; I’m not denying that your family deserves these Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits and I agree that you should not be penalized because you were ill-informed of a program, but if it is any consolation, thousands of other veterans and their families were also ill-informed and are in the same situation.

And you are right – aside from one form and 24 hours, your husband still earned his GI Bill benefits.

However, early in the program, there were lots of unanswered questions and mistakes were made as far as advising veterans how either retired right before or after the August 1st date.

For Army veterans retiring on or after August 1st, there is a process to appeal where they can apply to the Army Discharge Review Board using DD Form 293. In about 41% of the cases, the reviews have been approved – the Board agreed with the veteran that s/he had not been properly informed about making a transfer request while still on active duty.

Unfortunately, there is not a process for those retiring before August 1, 2009. While a couple of attempts have been made in the past to correct this in the form of Congressional Bills, none have passed or even come up to a vote and have subsequently have died without action.

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