By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class(AW)LaTunya Howard
According to an online poll conducted by Navy Personnel Command, Sailors still don’t quite understand how the Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability option works. Sixty two percent of Sailors who responded thought they could wait until after retirement to transfer benefits to their children.
“Based on the calls that we’re receiving, we’re worried that the perception is out there that you can wait until you retire to transfer your benefits and that’s not the case,” says Kathy Wardlaw, Navy active duty GI Bill program manager. “You have to do it before you leave the Armed Forces.”
Sailors with 90 days of active duty after September 11, 2001, have earned education benefits under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, with no buy-in costs. This benefit can now be transferred to family members shown in DEERS.
The first thing Sailors can do is read NAVADMIN 203/09. This provides the requirements for transferring Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
“Normally an enlisted member needs to check with their career counselor because there will be an obligation required,” said Wardlaw. “Sailors will need to obtain the obligation through either re-enlistment or extension. Officers can sign a Page 13 and they need to see their administrative officer to do that.”
Sailors need to ensure that their obligated service is reflected in their electronic service record before their request for transferability will be processed. A four-year obligation is required for the transferability option.
Since July, 12,000 Sailors have taken advantage of this relatively new education benefit option. This is below the estimated 15,000 the Navy GI Bill office expected.
“I have a nineteen-year-old currently attending Mississippi State University,” said Vicky Gallagher, Navy reservist. “It’s an out-of-state college, and it’s expensive to pay that bill as a single parent on one income. With tuition, books and housing, I’m saving nearly $12,000 annually. This money is going to help me quite a bit.”
For more information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability program, read NAVADMIN 203/09 or visit Post-9/11 GI Bill page on npc.navy.mil website.