NGAUS Washington Report
July 31, 2018
House members from both sides of the aisle are demanding the Defense Department reverse its plan to limit the ability of service members to transfer their GI Bill benefit to family members.
In a letter last week to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, 83 lawmakers said the new policy is “unacceptable,” according to Military Times.
The Pentagon plan would stop service members with more than 16 years in uniform from transferring their benefit. Also, because the transfer requires the pledge to serve four more years, the Defense Department wants to block anyone unable to fulfill that requirement, for reasons such as mandatory retirement or health issues, from transferring the benefit.
The lawmakers wrote, “Once a service member meets the requirements for transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to an eligible family member, we must uphold our end of the commitment. This change in policy is unacceptable, and we call upon you to swiftly reverse this decision.”
Groups such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the American Legion have criticized the change. The Legion called it “bad policy” in a statement.
The Pentagon says more than $20 billion in education benefits has been passed to service members and dependents since the Post-9/11 GI Bill was passed in 2009.
The lawmakers wrote, “Eliminating the ability to transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members after honorably completing 16 years of service sends exactly the wrong message to those who have chosen the military as their long-term career, and sets a dangerous precedent for the removal of other critical benefits as members approach military retirement.”