WASHINGTON––Legislation backed by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) to ensure servicemembers can transfer their education or job training benefits to dependents passed the U.S. Senate Thursday with unanimous support. The bill, originally introduced by Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), clarifies the information required on post-9/11 GI Bill benefit transfer forms.
“Our men and women in uniform should not be prevented from helping their spouses or children access the benefits they have earned due to a technicality,” Boozman said. “I’m pleased the Senate took action to make this right and I encourage the House to follow our lead so the president can sign this correction into law to show our support to America’s servicemembers, veterans and their families.”
“As the son of a veteran and a grateful American, I want to ensure that our veterans and their families are well-taken care of, not the victims of bureaucratic red tape,” said Tuberville. “This bill is another targeted, meaningful change that makes it easier for our veterans and their families to receive the benefits they so rightly deserve. I look forward to seeing this bill pass the House and sent to President Biden’s desk soon.”
Currently, neither the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) nor the Department of Defense (DoD) has the flexibility to amend the information on the transfer form in the event the servicemember makes an error and subsequently dies before the dependent accesses the benefit. This legislation fixes this technicality and ensures the servicemember’s dependents can access rightfully earned benefits..
There are multiple examples of servicemembers misreading the information requested in the GI Bill benefit transfer forms, resulting in eligible dependents being barred from education benefits. Since the “end date” field is the cause of many incorrectly completed transfer forms, the bill would remove it to prevent further issues. Specifically, it allows a servicemember to transfer his or her Post-9/11 GI bill benefits to a spouse or child so long as the servicemember has done the following:
- Completed at least 6 years on the date the service member requests to transfer the benefit, and
- Agreed to add 4 more years of service, and
- The individual receiving the benefits has enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).