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Rules spelled out for G.I. Bill transferability

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (June 23, 2009) -- Beginning June 29, Soldiers can go online and elect to transfer their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to their spouse or children.

Rules for transferring educational benefits under the "Post-9/11 Veteran's Education Assistance Act Of 2008," sometimes called the "Post-9/11 G.I. Bill," were spelled out June 23 by Bob Clark, the Department of Defense's assistant director for accession policy and military personnel policy.

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According to Clark, Soldiers will be able to transfer benefits to dependents only if they are active or Select Reserve on Aug. 1. The benefit cannot be transferred by those serving in the Individual Ready Reserve, who are retired, or who are separated on that date.

Additionally, under the transferability rules, a Soldier must have served six years and must commit to serve an additional four years.

Soldiers can elect to transfer benefits to family members beginning June 29, through the Transferability of Educational Benefits Web site at

After Soldiers make those elections, the Army will verify and approve the election and assign the four-year commitment, if required. Following that approval, a Soldier's family member can then apply for benefits through the Veterans Administration Web site.

According to Clark, it is recommended that Soldiers add all family members as potential beneficiaries of their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits. Once a Soldier has retired or separated from the Army, they can no longer add new family members as potential beneficiaries.

Under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, thousands of qualified Soldiers or family members of qualifying Soldiers will have the opportunity to go to college at no cost to them.

Soldiers, Army veterans, and family members of qualifying Soldiers can begin using benefits under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill beginning Aug. 1. Benefits from the program can be paid out for a total of 36 months. Under a typical degree program, where students attend school for nine months at a time and are then off during the summer months, the plan could allow veterans to get a four-year degree while attending school in residence.

With the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, tuition payments are sent directly to the school. Additional payments for books and supplies go directly to students.

Tuition is not the only benefit extended to potential college-goers. For students attending school more than half the time, the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill also pays housing costs, up to a rate equivalent to the Basic Allowance for Housing rate for an E-5 with dependents in the ZIP code where the school is located.

Students are also entitled to a yearly stipend of up to $1,000 to cover the cost of books and supplies, and students from highly rural areas who are transferring to a school may also be entitled to a one-time payment of $500.

Soldiers on active duty may tap in to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill and apply benefits toward tuition. However, active-duty Soldiers are not entitled to receive the housing allowance from the program, nor the books and supplies stipend.

Benefits under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill can be used for all levels of degree programs. The program allows Soldiers to earn a second degree, a master's degree or even a doctorate.

Soldiers meeting the eligibility requirements to transfer benefits to their family members already exceed the requirements to earn 100-percent of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits.

Soldiers who have served less than the time required to earn 100-percent of the benefit under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill may receive benefits at a prorated amount. The amount of active service members have after 9/11 determines what percentage of benefits they can receive under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

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