By Wm. Cullen James, Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs
MILLINGTON, Tenn. – It’s early summer and the air conditioners are struggling to keep up with the demand and people’s thoughts start turning to … college?
For those Sailors with children approaching college age, about to start higher learning or with spouses with college aspirations, now is the time to ensure your Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability is properly set up.
Qualified active-duty and Reserve Sailors may elect to transfer benefits to a spouse or children, with some or all benefits allocated to those named.
“We still have a lot of Sailors whose transferability requests are being rejected because they don’t have the four years of obligated service remaining,” said Kathy Wardlaw, the Navy’s GI Bill program manager.
The Navy announced the transferability process in NAVADMIN 203/09. Basically, it states that transferability requires two additional years for Sailors eligible for retirement between 1 August 2010 and 31 July 2011, or three additional years for those with 20 years service between 1 August 2011 and 31 July 2012. Otherwise, Sailors generally must have served at least six years in the Armed Forces and agree to an additional four years. See the NAVADMIN for exceptions.
“Before submitting their transferability requests, their obligation requirement must be reflected in their Electronic Service Record," said Wardlaw, “or the request will be rejected until corrected.” Sailors can review their Electronic Service Record, or ESR, at https://nsips.nmci.navy.mil/. In addition to the ESR, the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS) is used to validate a family member’s eligibility for transfer.
For enlisted, personnel that means having sufficient obligated service prior to their End of Active Obligated Service. For officers, it means they must have an Administrative Remarks entry (Page 13) in their ESR agreeing to serve four more years from the date their transferability request is submitted.
After obligating service, Sailors must elect the transferability option while still serving.
“Sailors can allocate any percentage of their benefit to their spouse and children and change it any time, but if they don’t elect the benefit while serving, they won’t be able to go back and do it,” said Wardlaw.
Family members must be in DEERS and eligible for benefits in DEERS before a Sailor can request transferability. This means those dual-military members whose children are reflecting under only one sponsor's record, must be reflected under both sponsors. For example, to establish a child as a family member under both military parents, the child should be enrolled in DEERS under one parent for benefits, and under the other parent as a child drawing benefits from another military sponsor.
Your Navy Career Counselor is one valuable source of information and is an important piece in the service obligation requirement. For more information, visit the Navy Personnel Command Post-9/11 GI Bill website.