Last week, Navy leadership announced an update to the official instruction for the transfer of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members. While it is a Navy specific instruction, the information it contains might be useful all service members who are transferring their benefits. Hopefully, this new instruction will clear up some of the past confusion about how and when to transfer benefits. Confusion about the benefits transfer process has been a common complaint since the new educational benefit program was announced in 2009.
Active duty service members and reservists are eligible to transfer some or all of their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to their spouse or child(ren) if the meet the specific criteria required for their duty status to transfer benefits. This new instruction contains a simple checklist that can be followed to ensure that the transfer is completed properly and successfully.
The instruction includes a simple breakdown of the Transfer of Benefits (TEB) steps that need to be completed. The steps include:
- Verifying that the family member is properly enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
- Ensuring that the required 4 year additional service obligation is properly documented in the military records system.
- Log on to the milConnect web site and designate at least 1 month to each desired family member. Be sure to hit submit. Take a screen shot of the confirmation page that will be displayed for your records (that’s my tip, not theirs.)
- Log out of milConnect, then re-enter the system and verify that the status has been changed to “submitted.” This status is located at the top of the page underneath the name of the sponsor.
- Check the web page regularly until the status changed from “submitted” to either “request approved” or “request rejected.” (I recommend you take a screen shot of that, too.)
- If your request was rejected, repeat the steps listed above. The most common reason that requests are rejected is because there is insufficient contract time remaining to fulfill a 4 year service obligation.
The milConnect website also has very clear and helpful instructions on the process.
If you have any trouble with the transfer of your benefits, you can check with your installation’s education office or your personnel office for assistance.
Be sure to keep track of your eligibility for benefits transfer, and I recommend transferring benefits at the earliest eligible moment. Once you’ve designated at least one month to each person who might want to use them, you have the ability to change or revoke the benefits transfer at any time. However, you must make the original transfer request during a time frame in which you meet the eligibility requirements.
The ability to transfer Post 9/11 educational benefits is a tremendous thing. Make sure you are able to utilize this option by knowing and taking the appropriate steps at the appropriate times.