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Now That I’m in PHS, Can I Transfer My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I signed up for GI Bill when I was active duty in the Navy from 1999-2003. I am now in the Public Health Service, since August 2010. I didn’t enroll in GI Bill because I had previously enrolled while in the Navy. Am I eligible to transfer GI Bill to my dependents?

A: It depends on which GI Bill you are talking about. The GI Bill you signed up for was the Montgomery GI Bill, which does not have a transfer option to it. However, you also have the Post 9/11 GI Bill in which your eligibility started on September 10, 2001. Depending on when you got out in 2003, you could have two years of service under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

As of right now, you can’t transfer the Post 9/11 GI Bill to your dependents, however that should change once the GI Bill 2.0 goes into effect starting this fall. One of the provisions of the change was to allow NOAA and PHS personnel to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill options. The one thing that has not come out yet are the requirements to make a transfer.

If it follows the active duty rules, you would have to be at the 100% tier by serving six years and reenlist for an additional four years. I don’t know yet if that is a combination of active duty/PHS time or not. If it follows the National Guard and Reserve rules, you would still have to have served a combination of six years, but you could be at less than 100% to make a transfer.

The best thing right now is to wait and see exactly what the rules will be. More information will come out as we get closer to the August 1st implementation date. I’ll post updates to this blog as I receive information.

2 responses on “Now That I’m in PHS, Can I Transfer My Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits?

ON reference of Post 911 GI Bill, what is the story on the Service members that retired prior 1 Aug 2009, and served 20 plus or 30 yrs and are eligible for full benefits? Are they eligible to transfer their benefits to their dependents? Many of us already have their education and after 30 years of service either you find a job to supplement your retirement if you are healthy and off course many are above 50 yrs old which limit your eligibility to be hire. So, many have two and three kids in college and are struggling to support their expenses through school. why can they transfer their benefits????

I feel your pain J.A. The “why” in why you can’t transfer is because when Congress wrote the Post 9/11 GI Bill rules, they wrote in the clause that to transfer benefits to dependents, the servicemember had to be serving “on or after August 1, 2009”. That excluded anyone retiring before that date andeligible for the transfer option from making a transfer request.

In the past couple of years some legislation has been introduced that would have corrected this issue, but not only did neither bill pass, they never even made it to a vote (which shows you how much support retired veterans have on the hill).

So, I have started a petition that I will send to the President that if approved, would provide a one-time opportunity to make a transfer request. We need all the support we can get to get the attention this issue needs. You can sign up at the link if you care to support this endeavor.

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