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Why Was I Not Told I Couldn’t Transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits After I Retired?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: Hi Ron, I guess we fall into that category where you can’t transfer GI Bill benefits to dependents after separation. My husband retired 31 Dec after serving for 30 years. (we are waiting for his disability rating now. It should be high after being shot in the leg and injured due to suicide car bombing but probably not 100%). Though one of his children received approx. 2 years of benefits, he had no idea that he had to transfer the remaining benefit to his youngest son while he was still on active duty. Of course, nothing was ever said to him about this. His son is autistic (high functioning) so his getting loans is doubtful. Anything new on the S3447 bill front? We are heartsick about his and feel as though our government pulled a fast one. Not a nice feeling after 30 yrs. of loyal Infantry service. Thank you.

A: The bad news is S3447 is dead. Not only did it not pass, it never had enough support to even come to a vote. I hear this a lot – servicemembers not knowing they had to transfer Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits while still serving. Evidently this in not one of the topics covered in TAP briefings.

I would think as long as we have had the Post 9/11 GI Bill, this fact would be in the briefings by now, but for some reason the word just isn’t getting out. The services are doing their members a great disservice by not expounding on that fact, but almost three years into this New GI Bill and this front has not changed.

What I never understood is why Congress wrote the benefit transfer rules the way they did – must be serving “on or after August 1, 2009″. I realize the intent of the transfer option was to use it as a reenlistment incentive, but you would have thought they would had provided some option to make a transfer for those who got out without transferring benefits (or all benefits in your husband’s case).

While it won’t help out you or your husband, I have started a petition that if approved would allow career veterans retiring before August 1, 2009 a one-time opportunity to transfer benefits. These veterans, although fully qualified for the transfer benefit, never had an opportunity to make a transfer request due to the fact they got out before the Post 9/11 GI Bill started. If approved, my next effort will be trying to help those who didn’t know they had to transfer benefits before getting out.

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