Senators seek to restore military education benefit transfers

Julia LeDoux
September 25, 2019 - 1:28 pm
Education benefits


A group of senators has introduced legislation that would restore the ability of service members to transfer their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouse or eligible dependent.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill Transferability Entitlement Act would ensure that service members with 10 years of service are eligible to transfer their benefits to dependents at any time – both while serving on active duty and as a veteran.

Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the bill.

Tester, who is the ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the bill would make it easier for service members to use the benefits they’ve earned in a way that makes sense for them and their families.

“Our bill ensures that the men and women in uniform, who served our nation for years, are able to transfer their G.I. Bill education benefits to their loved ones without unnecessary hurdles,” he said. “I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill, so we can do right by our nation’s veterans.”

cutie dad and kid
Photo courtesy UMUC

The Department of Defense implemented a new policy last summer that required service members to commit to an additional four years of military service at the time of their application in order to transfer benefits. The change also prevented those with more than 16 years of military service from transferring their education benefits to eligible dependents. Prior to the change, any service member who had served more than six years could transfer those benefits to an eligible dependent.

Blumenthal said the DoD’s policy unfairly moved the goalpost for transfer eligibility.

“This policy change is fundamentally illogical and unfair, and exacerbates existing inequities in the transfer of education benefits – it should be remedied immediately by passing our bill,” he said.

The legislation is supported by the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, the Reserve Enlisted Association, the Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, and the Chief Warrant and Warrant Officers Association.

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