Members of the military who have served more than 16 years will no longer be able to transfer their GI Bill benefits to their dependents or spouses, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announced this week.
The 16 year cap will go into effect a year from now in order “to more closely align the transferability benefit with its purpose as a recruiting and retention incentive,” according to a statement from the DoD.
Current policy allows members of the military with at least six years of service to transfer their benefits to a spouse or children, so long as they agree to serve an additional four years, The Military Times reported.
The 16 year cap is viewed as a step in the wrong direction by some veteran education groups, who were able to successfully fight for a provision in the recent Forever GI Bill that allows service members to use their own benefits indefinitely after leaving the military.
American Legion spokesperson Joe Plenzler stated that the organization is "against the curtailment of veterans’ earned benefits."
Meanwhile, other organizations appreciate the year grace period that the DoD has allowed for veterans and service members to get their affairs in order.
"If a service member is considering making the transfer, and they're eligible to do so right now, they really shouldn't wait," said Eileen Huck, deputy director of government relations for the National Military Family Association.
"Transferability is still going to be available for the majority of service members, and we understand that it is a retention tool, so while we may not agree with DoD's decision and we would like to see it continue to be available for everyone, we understand the rationale behind limiting it to people who have fewer than 16 years of service."
The Military Times