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Is It True My Husband Couldn’t Transfer His Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits to Me?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: My husband was going to transfer benefits to me. He was discharged in 2004 but they said that he couldn’t transfer because he did not have at least 90 days active duty after 9/11/2001. I think that this is a cheap way of doing this. I feel that this is a benefit that they deserve and should have the right to do this. Plus my father can’t transfer his to me because he served in Vietnam war and of course his benefits have dissolved. This is something that I think is wrong with the military benefits. This should be corrected the help families and loved ones to actually further their education.

A: There are several things wrong with your information or we are not getting the complete story. One, according to my math, and if he was on active duty the whole time, there is more than 90 days from September 9, 2001 to 2004 when he was discharged.

Now what he told you was probably true if he was in the Selected Reserve (SELRES), meaning in one of the reserves of the military or in the National Guard. SELRES members do not qualify for the Post 9/11 GI Bill without having served for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001 on a Title 10 order in support for a contingency operation.

Two, when he got out in 2004, the Post 9/11 GI Bill was not in effect yet; it would not go into effect for another 5 years, so it would have been impossible for him to transfer something to you that didn’t exist. And if he had the Montgomery GI Bill, it did not (and still does not) have a transfer to spouse option, so he could not have transferred that GI Bill to you even if he would have wanted to.

Lastly, if he just recently wanted to transfer his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to you, he would have been denied because according to the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, he has to be currently serving at the time he makes his transfer request (along with having served for at least six years and agreeing to serve another four years).

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