New Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits

Starting at the end of June, 2009, service members had the ability to log on and transfer their post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to any (or all) of their family members.  Visit the official Benefits Transfer website.  If you haven’t already logged on and are intending to transfer your benefits, act now – transferring benefits incurs an Active Duty Service Committment!  Those previiously inelligible for GI Bill benefits, such as Service Academy and ROTC scholarship graduates now find themselves eligible for these new benefits.

Benefits Under the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act

This new benefit will cover the full cost of education at any public school in the country and many private schools. To qualify for the benefits, a veteran has to have served at least 90 days of active duty post-9/11 and have remaining entitlement. Only post-9/11 active duty service counts toward this benefit. Any remaining Chapter 30 or 1607 entitlement can be converted into this new education benefit. There is no requirement to buy in to qualify, and the benefits last for 15 years after separation.

This benefit discards the outdated benefits system and replaces it with a WWII style GI bill that provides upfront tuition payments directly to the school, and provides a book/supply stipend of $1,000 per year and a monthly living stipend. The tuition payments can be used at any public or private school but are capped at the cost of the most expensive public school in the state.  However, more expensive private schools offering a veterans-only scholarship will see that scholarship matched dollar for dollar up to the full cost of tuition.

The monthly living stipend will be based on the Department of Defense Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) for that region. The stipend will be pegged to the E-5 with a dependent rate for the zip code of the school.

Tuition: Paid up front to the school at the beginning of each termCapped at the tuition cost of the most expensive public school in the stateMore expensive schools offering veterans-only scholarships will be matched dollar for dollarClick here for a list of the most expensive public schools in each state
Books/Supplies: $1,000/year paid up front and divided by academic term
Monthly Living: Based on DoD’s BAH rate for E-5 with dependentUses zip code of the college/universityhttp://perdiem.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem/bah.html
Time to Use Benefit: 15 years
Buy In: None

Reservists will continue to receive a percentage of the active duty rate based on the length of their active duty service. However, this new benefit will allow reservists to accumulate active duty service from multiple tours (more service = higher benefits). Lastly, all reservists called to active duty will now have 15 years to use their benefits, no longer just those who have 8 years of active duty or select reserve.

90 Consecutive Days: 40%     (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
6 Cumulative Months: 50%     (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
12 Cumulative Months: 60%     (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
18 Cumulative Months: 70%     (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
24 Cumulative Months: 80%     (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
30 Cumulative Months: 90%     (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
36 Cumulative Months: 100%   (Tuition, Books/Supplies and Living Stipend)
Time to Use Benefit: 15 years (see above)
Buy In: None

Transferring your GI Bill Benefits to your Family

Chapter 33 (the new, post-9/11 GI Bill) allows the Secretary of Defense to provide currently serving troops the opportunity to transfer education benefits to a spouse or to one or more of the individual’s children. The Secretary of Defense is about to issue regulations on how this program will be implemented. However here are some of the baseline requirements.

To qualify for transferability a service member must:

  1. Qualify for the education benefits themselves

  2. Served at least 6 years on Active Duty or in the National Guard or Select Reserves

  3. Agree to commit to 4 more years of service starting Aug 2009. EXCEPTION: Preliminary reports from DoD’s pending rules state that if a veteran is retirement eligible, than no additional service will be required. If a veteran is less than 4 years to becoming retirement eligible than that veteran just needs to finish the years remaining to retirement eligibility (e.g, 18 years in the service, 2 more years are required).

  4. Have a spouse or dependent to transfer benefits to
    The ability to transfer benefits will start being available August 2009. A service member may transfer part or all of their remaining education benefits as they see fit between their family members. Family members will also benefit from any enlistment kickers the service member was entitled to.

The VA recently announced that in order for a child to qualify for transferred benefits, they must be under the age of 23 and if they are over the age of 18 they must already be enrolled in college. IAVA is currently working diligently to expand eligibility to adult children.

There are different rules on how a spouse vs. a dependent can use this new benefit. A spouse will have up to 15 years after the service member discharges from the military to use their transferred benefits, while a child will have to the age of 26 to complete their education. A spouse can begin using the benefit immediately, while a dependent must wait till the service member has completed ten years of service and the dependent has completed high school or turned 18 years old. Lastly, a spouse using the GI Bill while the service member is still on active duty will not receive the monthly living allowance and a dependent will be entitled to the full benefit.

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