LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. — Additional changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Benefits policy were announced Nov. 14, 2018.
The Department of Defense postponed their previous effective date of July 12, 2018, to July 12, 2019. Since the policy change was effective immediately, service members who were previously eligible found themselves ineligible to transfer their benefits. To ensure issues were addressed fairly, the effective date was pushed back a year.
The previous policy stated members separating under force-shaping before completing the required four years would keep their eligibility to transfer their benefits. This was expanded to include officers who were involuntarily separated due to being passed over for promotions and enlisted personnel separating under high-year tenure policies. The only exception is Airmen separating at high-year tenure following reduction in rank through administrative demotion, non-judicial punishment or court martial.
“Being able to transfer benefits was used as a retention tool,” said Michael Jones, 19th Force Support Squadron education services specialist. “It’s important for Airmen to know what they want to do with their career as soon as they can. If Airmen aren’t looking to stay in for 20 years and they want to transfer their benefits, they should apply at their six-year mark.”
When the policy was first announced in June 2018, it stated the requirement of having at least 10 years of active-duty or selected Reserve service would be suspended. Service members would incur four additional years of service once they applied to transfer their education benefits to eligible dependents.
In addition to the 10-year suspension and the four-year service increment, the following changes are effective July 12, 2019:
Service members must have four years of retainability from the year they apply to transfer benefits and cannot be prevented from serving their four years due to mandatory retirement date, high-year tenure, retention control point and are not being medically qualified.
Service members must have served six years minimum at the time of application, but no more than 16 years. Total years served will be determined by the date they applied.
Service members must not be on limited duty, involved in a medical evaluation board, physical evaluation board or disability evaluation system at the time of application.
Service members who have applied to transfer education benefits but were previously denied due to being on limited duty or involved in a medical evaluation board, physical evaluation board, or disability evaluation system process can apply again when they are fit for duty and commit to an additional four years.
Service members with more than 16 years of service who are found fit for duty can apply to transfer education benefits again as long as the member applies within 90 days of being found fit for duty.
All policy changes will be annotated in the next rewrite of Air Force Instruction 36-2649, Voluntary Education Program. For information on transferring benefits, visit https://mypers.af.mil.