By Wm. Cullen James
NPC Public Affairs
The Navy established formal policy for transferability of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits for limited duty (LIMDU) Sailors in a message released Dec. 10.
NAVADMIN 354/09 states that Sailors in a LIMDU status who require an additional service obligation for transferability must wait for a final determination of their medical status to be completed.
“We had been telling (LIMDU Sailors) that they had to wait until final determination; basically, we were handling their cases as we’ve outlined in the new NAVADMIN. It’s really just expansion of policy to address this group of Sailors, but it’s the way transferability requests have always been processed. This just provides clarity,” said Kathy Wardlaw, the Navy’s GI Bill program manager.
Sailors cleared for duty and eligible for continued service must follow the standard transferability procedures. Sailors who are being medically discharged can still be eligible for transferability provided they have completed at least 10 years of service and their discharge is honorable. Transferability must be elected prior to separation.
Sailors who elect transferability and later are medically discharged before completing their service obligation maintain their transferability as long as the medical discharge is not due to willful misconduct.
NAVADMIN 354/09 is the third in a series of messages dealing with the new GI Bill program. Besides establishing LIMDU policy it updates previous guidance. Transferability under the Post-9/11 GI Bill is a recruiting and retention tool. While a Sailor may be eligible for education benefits provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill, generally the option to transfer a Sailor’s unused benefits to a family member requires an additional service commitment in the Armed Forces, according to NAVADMIN 203/09.
According to the message, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been processing enrollment certificates before Certificates of Eligibility (COE) are issued. Normally, veterans are issues COEs prior to enrollment, but the increased demand for the Post-9/11 GI Bill has caused delays. Sailors who have not received a COE should contact their school’s VA counselor for more assistance.
The message also reminds Sailors that after Dec. 31, they can no longer use short-term extensions for the purpose of Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability.
“Members can’t wait until Jan. 1, 2010, to get this done; the opportunity will be gone,” Wardlaw said. “If members don’t take advantage of this now, they’ll have to wait until they’re within their reenlistment window to apply.”
For more information, see NAVADMIN 354/09 at www.npc.navy.mil under “Messages.”