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Do I Have Any Avenue I Can Take to Transfer My Post 911 GI Bill Benefits Now?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I retired 30 Sept 2004 with 20+ years of active duty. At the time of my retirement, I was not informed I could transfer my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member. Last year while deployed to Afghanistan as a contractor, I saw an AFN commercial which stated if I was not informed of my transferability benefit prior to retiring, I could make an appeal. My question is, was the AFN commercial correct? Upon talking to the VA I was told I could not transfer my Post 911 GI Bill benefits because I was retired. Do I have any avenue I can take to transfer my Post 911 GI Bill benefits now?

A: No you do not have an avenue of appeal and I’ll explain why in a minute. The reason you were not informed before you got out in 2004 that you could transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members is because the Post 9/11 GI Bill did not come into existence until 2009. What you had heard in the commercial applies to career soldiers and airmen who retired on or after August 1, 2009. If they can prove they were not notified of the Post 9/11 GI Bill transferability option, they may be granted a one-time provision to make a transfer request.

However, those two branch career servicemembers retiring before August 1, 2009, but after December 10, 2001, do not share that same recourse – as a matter of fact they, as you, have no recourse.

It has always been odd to me why the group of career servicemembers who retired before August 1, 2009, even though they are fully qualified as far as meeting transferability service requirements, do not share the same opportunities to make a transfer of benefits.

In the weeks and days leading up to the Post 9/11 GI Bill implementation on August 1st, there was much turmoil and inaccurate information about who could or couldn’t make a transfer request. Some servicemembers would have stayed in after the August 1st date had they known they could have transferred education benefits to a spouse or dependent child.

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