Department of Defense Changes GI Bill Transfer Policy

The U.S. Department of Defense has altered policy rules on who can transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to dependents, reverting back to a rule that allowed transfers for some who are prohibited from serving an additional four years.

Service members who have completed a minimum of 10 years in the military and are prohibited from serving an additional four years due to policy or statute, have until July 12 to transfer their education benefits to dependents if they agree to serve the maximum time authorized, according to a Pentagon news release.

The GI Bill provides education benefits for those who have served on active duty for at least 90 days after Sept. 10, 2001. The payment rate varies depending on how much completed active duty time a member has. The benefit fund your full tuition and fees at colleges and universities, provide you with a monthly housing allowance while a servicemember is attending college and give you a maximum of $1,000 annually to pay for textbooks and other supplies.

In July 2018, the Department of Defense significantly changed its GI Bill transferability rules. One alteration, to go into effect this July, prevented those with over 16 years of service from transferring their benefit to dependents, according to Military.com.

However, other changes, such as the 10-year rule, went into effect immediately. This change pushes back the rule for the time being, and is now scheduled to take effect as the same time as the 16-year block.

Soldiers and other military members who applied for transferability, but were rejected as a result of the policy change are advised by Department officials to re-apply before the July deadline. Application processes and guidelines vary by military branch.

Though the GI Bill is authorized by law, how the Pentagon enforces the benefit is a matter of policy. According to a 2015 report from the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, the benefit is meant to be used as a retention tool, not as an entitlement.