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What Are My Options for This Catch-22 Post 9/11 GI Bill Transfer Issue?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hello Mr. Kness, thank you for all of your great advice. I hope you can help with my particular problem. I have tried unsuccessfully since July 2009 to transfer my GI Bill benefit to my dependents. I had my retirement orders in hand prior to 1AUG09 so I was exempt from the requirement to serve additional years in order to transfer the benefit. My problem stems from the fact that in July 2009, no one at West Point’s personnel center knew the process for transferring the benefit. I asked folks from Post Reenlistment, the VA-rep, and the Ed Center. Same answer from them all…”The process is still being worked out.” Don’t worry, you meet all of the requirements for transfer.” Bottom line, my retirement date came and went without finding any person who could spell out the process. Now that the process is well established, I am retired and am told that I’m SOL because I should have transferred the benefit while on active duty (despite the fact that I was unable to find someone who knew how to process the transfer). I cannot believe that I am the only service member with this issue. It should be a simple matter for the Army and/or VA to allow me to transfer the benefit since I met all of their requirements for transfer when the program came online on 1AUG09. Thanks again for your help. Rob.

A: Hi Rob. No you are not the only one having this problem. You have thousands in your company. If you had retired prior to August 1st, then you would have truly been SOL (and there are thousands more in this group also).

But being you were still on active duty on August 1st, there is a process in place where you can submit a form to the Army Discharge Review Board and if approved, you would be allowed to make a transfer of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits. The process starts with DD Form 149. Usually to be successful, the individual making the request must convince the Board that s/he truly did not know they had to make a transfer of benefits before they got out.

In your case, you would have to convince them that you wanted to make a transfer request, but couldn’t find anyone that could explain or help you with the process.

Keep in mind that it takes a while to get an approved or disapproved reading, but the way you explained it here, you might have a good chance at getting a request approved. No guarantees, but at least it is an option to try.

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