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Transferability of GI Bill Benefits to Family Members

What is it?
The transferability of Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) benefits to Family members is a retention incentive the Army uses to target Soldiers with at least six years of service who reenlist for a minimum of four years. Education benefits are a key component of the incentive package used by the Army to attract and retain quality Soldiers.

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2002 allows Soldiers in critical skills, as determined by their service secretary, to transfer MGIB benefits to Family members under certain conditions. On June 30, 2008, the FY08 basic monthly MGIB benefit for full-time training for veterans increased from $1,101 per month to $1,320 (indexed annually). Soldiers who qualify can transfer up to 18 of 36 months of their entitlement, equaling more than $23,700 in benefits.

What has the Army done?
On July 21, 2006, the Army implemented a pilot program allowing enlisted Active Component Soldiers with critical skills who reenlist (and accept a reduced reenlistment bonus) to transfer MGIB benefits to their spouses. On November 8, 2007, the Army expanded the pilot to allow transferability to children. (The Army defines a Soldier with a critical skill as any Soldier who qualifies for a Selective Reenlistment Bonus under messages current at the time of reenlistment.)

On June 30, 2008, the post-9-11 GI Bill was signed into law. GI Bill allows transferability of up to 36 months of unused benefits for Soldiers who have completed at least six years of service in the Armed Forces and reenlist for a minimum of four years, at no cost to the Soldier. The effective date of the post-9-11 GI Bill is currently slated for August 1, 2009. The Army is working closely with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish policies and procedures governing transfer of unused post—9-11 benefits.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army Retention Program will be adjusted to encourage the right Soldiers, with the right skills, to reenlist to meet the manning requirements of the Army. Careful and deliberate adjustments will be made as necessary to all our reenlistment incentives in order to retain our most precious resource—Soldiers and their Families. The MGIB Transferability of Benefits Pilot Program will continue at least until the effective date of the post—9-11 GI Bill. Transferability of unused benefits earned under GI Bill also applies to Soldiers in the Reserve and Selective Reserve Components.

Why is this important to the Army?
A successful retention program is critical to properly manning the Army. Army reenlistment incentives assist in meeting our retention objectives. Education benefits are a key component of the Army's incentives packages. The Army continues to focus on, and provide support to, Soldiers and their Families because it is the right thing to do, and because we understand that we recruit Soldiers, but retain Families.

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