The Army announced a change to the service obligation requirements for Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability that will require soldiers with over 20 years of service to obligate to an additional four years if they wish to transfer their benefits. The policy goes into effect on Aug 1, 2013.
The four year obligation is not new; in fact it has applied to all none retirement-eligible servicemembers since the inception of the Post-9/11 GI Bill Transfer of Education Benefits policy. Under the TEB policy, servicemembers in the retirement window were initially grandfathered, but the four-year requirement waiver was to be gradually phased out. Depending on their retirement eligibility date (20-year anniversary) servicemembers are currently required to obligate for up to three years if they want to transfer their GI Bill benefits.
The policy originally allowed members on active duty who were eligible for retirement on Aug. 1, 2009, to transfer benefits without incurring an additional service obligation.
The Air Force began requiring retirement-eligible members to re-up for four years in August of 2012, but later decided to extend the policy until August of this year. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, like the Army, are set to begin requiring the four-year commitment on Aug 1, 2013.
The Army.mil article which announced the policy, referred to it as a “change.” However, the Army’s official 2009 transferability policy states that the waiving of the four years of added service is a “temporary rule.”
My point is that the four-year obligation is not a change and is not part of sequestration or the planned DoD budget cuts. This was a temporary waiver to the existing rules which was planned to be phased-out by August 1, 2013.
The DoD’s milConnect website explains that the special rules for retirement eligible members will no longer be in effect on 1 August 2013. And, that on or after that date, all service members must comply with four-year obligated service requirement.
The Coast Guard TEB website states it as clearly as possible:
“If you don’t want to stay in the [Insert Your Service Branch Here] longer than 20 years, be sure to transfer at least one month of benefits to each dependent before you reach the 16-year point in your career.”