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View Full Version : A Post 9/11 GI Bill (to include the Transfer of Education Benefits) Primer



cloudFFVII
04-02-2014, 01:56 AM
Since it looks like the old "Education" part of the forum has kicked the bucket, and since this topic applies universally across the services, I wanted to get some general information out there about the Post 9/11 GI Bill, but especially about the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB), which must be done while you are still active in the Armed Forces (i.e. once you separate, you're ineligible by law).

So let's start by talking about the individual Post 9/11 GI Bill:

- You must have an HONORABLE discharge/separation. The only exception to this is the following:
*If your separation/discharge occurred prior to January of 2011, AND you reenlisted (NOT extended) in your respective service, that reenlistment established what the Department of Veteran's Affairs considers an honorable period of service. That period will likely qualify you for the full 100% of your Post 9/11 benefit, provided you did not use any under the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30; MGIB).
- You MUST have at least 90 days of ACTIVE service (be it AD or NG/Reserve time). The following does NOT qualify:
*Your Basic Military Training
*Technical training
*Commissioning time from an academy
*Commissioning time which resulted in a scholarship

There are others as well so make sure you check with your service's education regulation for more.

- 90 days qualifies you for 40% of the benefit (Or think, 3 months @ 40%). You have to have 3 years of qualifying service to qualify for 100% of the benefit (so, 36 months at 100% of the benefit). There are other levels in-between these. If you're separated for a service-connected disability after 30 days of qualifying service, you will get 100% of the benefit.

While in the Active Service (again, AD and/or Selected Reserve), the Post 9/11 pays the following:
*100% of your tuition and fees at IN STATE/public schools
*Around $19,000/annually at private schools
*$1000/annually ($250 per quarter) for books and supplies.
*YOU WILL NOT GET A HOUSING STIPEND IF YOU ARE ALREADY RECEIVING ONE FOR YOUR MILITARY SERVICE! You can only get one! (I call this trying to "double dip"). Only your CHILDREN can get BAH, and that's through the TEB option which I will talk about in a minute.

When you retire/separate, provided it was honorable, you THEN get BAH at the E5 rank w/dependents (Where I live, that's about $1300 a month) IF
- You are going full time in residence=100% of the BAH benefit
- You are going full time ONLINE=50% of the BAH benefit
- You are doing a "hybrid" (some online, some in-residence)=The DVA will do a calculation and pay you the amount of said calculation

So let's use an example. You retire and reside in Alabama. You decide to go to the University of Alabama, full time, in residence:
- Your tuition is paid IN FULL to the university.
- Your BAH will be paid to the account you specify on your VA Form 22-1990
- Your books and supplies stipend will also go to the account you specify on the VA Form 22-1990

Now, here's an important point. The DVA does NOT decide your eligibility under the GI Bill programs UNTIL you complete the VA Form 22-1990. For the individual GI Bill's, you DO NOT have to make this decision before you separate/retire. You have up to 15 years after you leave to make the decision, which is initiated through the VA Form 22-1990.

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Now I would like to talk about the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) program in general terms, since situations across the service components can differ, but there are enough similarities which should get you on the right path.

First things first:
- You must have qualifying dependents listed in DEERS to transfer benefits to (Sorry, if you're single, even if maybe you have someone living with you, if they are not in DEERS, by law, they are not considered eligible.
- You MUST HAVE 6 QUALIFYING years of service (AD and/or Selected Reserve) to qualify. You must then agree to serve 4 more years in your respective service on the date of request.
Now, let's say you cannot qualify for this due to a pending medical discharge, etc. That brings into play the 2nd provision:
- You MUST HAVE 10 QUALIFYING years of service (again, AD and/or Selected Reserve), be PRECLUDED by your services policy/DoD policy or statute from committing to a 4 year obligation AND agree to serve the maximum amount of time allowed

Every service has difference rules and regulations regarding getting approved for TEB, but the one UNIVERSAL part is this:
- You can ONLY APPLY for TEB through the DMDC MilConnect website (www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect (http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect)). YOU CANNOT TRANSFER YOUR BENEFITS BY USING THE VA FORM 22-1990!!!!!

For officers, getting approved is a very straightforward process. You apply through MilConnect and then agree to serve the required time via your services agreement regarding service commitments (in the Air Force, it's called a Statement of Understanding (SOU)). Once that is accomplished, you will be approved.

For enlisted members, it is slightly more difficult. Most will be required to either reenlist or extend their time AND sign the services respective agreement. Some services have a strict window of time when this needs to be accomplished, so being consistent and following-up is incredibly vital.

Again, a key point: Until and unless you go to the MilConnect website (listed above) and see your TEB Approval Form on the website, YOU ARE NOT APPROVED FOR TEB! I cannot emphasize this enough. The minute you retire/separate WITHOUT this approval, you are ineligible for TEB.

Now, here are a couple other important points while you are applying to consider:
- You the member NEVER loses the benefit. If you think you might NEED to use the benefit, simply subtract the number of months you need from the number you allocate
(Example: You have never used your GI Bill benefits. Give 24 to your dependents, and you will retain 12 months).
- You are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to give all qualifying dependents at LEAST 1 month of benefits. If you leave any dependent at 0 months, and you retire/separate, they will be INELIGIBLE, by law, from receiving TEB benefits. Even if you don't think in a million years they will use it, there is no risk involved to giving them a month. If they don't use it, you can simply reallocate it after the fact.

Now let's transition from being approved to what happens if you fail to complete the service agreement (i.e., the 4 year obligation in most cases)
Here is what IS covered under this:
- Death of the member
- Hardship, as approved by your Service Secretary (in conjunction with retirement/separation)
- Disability
- Reduction in Force
- Force Shaping

Your service MAY (if benefits were never used by dependents) to revoke all months and allow you to cancel the transfer. I know for a fact the Air Force DOES NOT, it is up to the respective Service Secretary. So, the moral of the story is, DO NOT sign up for TEB if you are not 100% sure you will (voluntarily) fulfill the TEB obligation. This is NOT an easily waived agreement, unlike many others across the service components.

If your dependents use your TEB benefit, AND you fail to complete the agreed-upon service obligation, the DVA can and will recoup any monies used. Some people have had to repay over $50,000 back because they failed to complete the obligation.

Finally, here are when your dependents are eligible:
- Spouses can use the benefit once the member has 6 years of service in. They are not eligible for BAH UNTIL the member is retired/separated. They may use it for up to 15 years after the member retires/separates (just like the member)
- Children can use the benefit once a) the member has 10 years of service in and b) they are either 18 or have their diploma/GED, whichever comes first. They DO qualify for BAH, regardless of the member's status.

This brings me to a common situation that can occur (usually a junior enlisted member, say an E5). The E5 gets approved for TEB, and then ends up being MEB'd, which qualifies the service agreement to be considered fulfilled. HOWEVER, they will not reach 10 years of service. This makes their spouse ELIGIBLE, but their children INELIGIBLE. Hopefully this is something Congress will take up and consider reforming.

In closing, I want to do some cleaning up with regards to the MGIB/Post 9/11 relationship:
- If you convert to Post 9/11 (either with the VA Form 22-1990 or TEB), you lose MGIB FOREVER. You cannot reverse this decision!
- If you paid the $1200 into MGIB AND you have used some months of GI Bill benefits under MGIB, you CANNOT get that $1200 refunded under any circumstances
- IF, however, you paid the $1200 into MGIB, never used the benefit, and either
*A) Use all 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill on your own (and I mean, every single solitary month AND day)
OR
*B) Your dependents use all 36 months of the Post 9/11 GI Bill
OR
*C) A combination of the 2
You WILL RECEIVE the $1200 back along with your BAH on the final month of benefits.

- If you use all 36 months of MGIB benefits, you can then get 12 MORE months of benefits under Post 9/11. This is the ONLY WAY you can obtain 48 months of GI Bill benefits.

Whew...yes I realize this was a book, but it's a lot of ground to cover! :) If you've read down this far, you are probably as educated as you can get about the GI Bill and the TEB option.

Now, most important: If you have QUESTIONS...
- Contact the DVA, either through their education line (1-888-442-4551) or through their "Ask a Question" option (http://www.va.gov/landing2_contact.htm, click on "Ask a Question"
- Contact your respective service representative (for the Air Force, this would be the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102)

I hope this information was helped you. If you have questions and/or a situation, feel free to PM me and I will see what I can do for you.

imported_MERC8401
04-02-2014, 02:11 AM
Thanks for the info. You reminded me to give a month of TEB to a new dependant.

Chief_KO
04-02-2014, 03:24 AM
And be sure not to transfer 100% of your benefit while still on AD. Keep at least one month for yourself to keep your options open for other VA educational benefits (vocational rehab is one example).
Don't worry you can still transfer that last month later, but if you do 100% while still on AD, you cannot "undo it" later. You can adjust the percentages, but not undo the 100%.

Measure Man
04-02-2014, 03:52 PM
That was great.

I used 9 months of benefits under MGIB, and later tranferred by Post 9/11 to my daughter, who is using it now.

I was under the impression when she used the remaining 27 months, I would get my $1200 back...so, I guess I won't from what you posted. Bummer.

cloudFFVII
04-02-2014, 04:30 PM
That was great.

I used 9 months of benefits under MGIB, and later tranferred by Post 9/11 to my daughter, who is using it now.

I was under the impression when she used the remaining 27 months, I would get my $1200 back...so, I guess I won't from what you posted. Bummer.

Actually (and I'll make an update to my thread when I'm back home) there is guidance which I missed in the law which states this:
"A refund reduced by a proportion calculated by the number of months of MGIB benefits used divided by 36".

So, in essence, if your daughter does use all of the remaining 27 months, you should be a pro-rated refund (but definitely not $1200) in the final BAH payment upon the 36th month of benefit used.

Thanks for posting this!

cloudFFVII
04-02-2014, 04:32 PM
Thanks for the info. You reminded me to give a month of TEB to a new dependant.

That was the entire goal of the effort I put into this; to help people become educated and understand the benefits available to them. I am so happy I could help!

Let me add the following:
- While on AD/Selected Reserve, you can adjust your # of months of benefits through MilConnect
- Once you retire/separate, those updates must be made in writing to the DVA. So, if you can get the # of months in your TEB distributed to the desired range before you retire/separate, it will make things easier. It can take a substantial amount of time to get # of months adjusted by writing the DVA.

Measure Man
04-02-2014, 04:43 PM
Actually (and I'll make an update to my thread when I'm back home) there is guidance which I missed in the law which states this:
"A refund reduced by a proportion calculated by the number of months of MGIB benefits used divided by 36".

So, in essence, if your daughter does use all of the remaining 27 months, you should be a pro-rated refund (but definitely not $1200) in the final BAH payment upon the 36th month of benefit used.

Thanks for posting this!

27/36*1200= $900
Better than nothin!

Thanks again.