Education Benefit Transfer Rules May Change

In a bid to encourage enlistment and retention, the Senate version of the annual defense authorization bill includes a recommendation that the Pentagon tighten the rules that allow soldiers to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to family members.

According to the provision, which is nonbinding, states that the various defense secretaries should "Be more selective in permitting the transferability of unused education benefits" and review current policy to make sure that it "encourages...retention of individuals in the armed forces". Under current rules, soldiers that serve 6 years and sign up for 4 more can transfer their education benefits to either a spouse or child, if they do not choose to use them themselves.

The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission recommended earlier this year that the benefit be changed to require at least 10 years of service and signing up for at least 2 more. The commission hoped that this change would direct this benefit to career service members instead of those who leave after a relatively short military career.