Earlier this year, the Pentagon changed the rules for troops who want to transfer their Post-9/11

GI Bill benefits to their dependents. Most notably, the new policy will end transfers for service members who have been in uniform longer than 16 years, starting in July 2019.

It also immediately put an end to previous exceptions that have allowed certain service members with more than 10 years in uniform to transfer the benefit without committing to serve four more years, including those who were unable to continue serving because of mandatory retirement or high-year tenure. Defense Department officials have said the changes are "to more closely align the transferability benefit with its purpose as a recruiting and retention incentive.

"With these updates, the department addresses the intent of Congress and ensures the benefit is available for future service members," said DoD spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell in an email. She said the policy change will impact about 9% of active-duty service members, National Guardsmen and reservists. The changes have been hotly contested by lawmakers and veteran advocates, and after pushback, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced in September that none of the changes would apply to wounded warriors. Active-duty troops who have earned a Purple Heart for wounds in combat are now allowed to transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to their family members whenever they want. But more recently, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has introduced legislation that would scrap the DoD's recent changes all together and open GI Bill transfer to veterans who did not have dependents while on active duty.

In July, the Pentagon announced a new, controversial GI Bill transfer policy for troops who want to pass on the benefit to their dependents, creating a lot of concern and confusion among service members, veterans and their families. So what, exactly, are the changes? And who is and is not affected? We take you back to the beginning. Meanwhile, long-serving troops who want to transfer their GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child should plan on doing so before the July deadline kicks in.

"We understand that it will take some time for service members and their families to decide on transferring benefits, so by giving them a one-year window, we believe it will give them ample time to gather information and make decisions," Maxwell said. (Source: Military Times Natalie Gross December 31, 2018)

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.