U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to modify language used on official VA and DoD forms to clarify the information required when a service member elects to have their GI Bill benefit transferred to a dependent. There are multiple examples of service members misreading the information requested in the GI Bill benefit transfer forms, resulting in eligible dependents being barred from education benefits due to an easily amendable error. The VA and DoD cannot amend the information on the form without this statutory authority.
“We owe veterans and their families more than we’ll ever actually be able to repay,” said Thune. “I am happy to join Senators Tuberville and Rubio in supporting this common-sense legislation that would cut through red tape and make it easier for veteran families to receive the benefits they so rightly deserve.”
U.S. Reps. Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-N.C.), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), and David Trone (R-Md.) introduced the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation is supported by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national organization focused on providing compassionate care for all those grieving the death of a military loved one.
A service member may transfer their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to a spouse or child so long as the service member has done the following:
- Completed at least six years on the date the service member requests to transfer the benefit, and
- Agreed to add four more years of service, and
- The individual receiving the benefits has enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
Part of the transfer form requires the service member fill out a field labeled “end date.” This field refers to the date on which the benefit is no longer available to the dependent. Since this field is the cause of many incorrectly completed transfer forms, this bill would remove the “end date” to prevent further issues. The benefit would then naturally expire on the dependent’s 26th birthday, per statute.