By Spc. Shameka D. EdwardsJanuary 11, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill took effect August 1, 2009 for servicemembers with 36 months of active duty service or after 30 days of continuous service for those individuals who were discharged for a service-connected disability. Individuals serving between 90 days and 36 months of aggregate active duty service will be eligible for a percentage of the maximum benefit.
The new G.I. Bill does not replace the Montgomery G.I. Bill said Jinny Cavin a Mountain Post Education Center Counselor Supervisor. It offers the servicemember a different education option but each case varies she added.
One of the biggest differences between the two bills is the transferability options of 100% of benefits to the servicemembers dependents said Cavin.
The eligibility to transfer benefits depends on the time the servicemember has served said Sgt. 1st Class Theodore Howard the Fort Carson Retention Operations Non-commissioned officer in charge.
For a servicemember to be eligible to transfer the new bill he or she must first be eligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill and not have an adverse action suspension of favorable personnel actions against him or her. He or she must serve a minimum of six years to transfer the bill to a spouse and ten years to transfer the bill to a child. The member must also extend for more four years from date the benefit transfer is approved for both cases said Howard.
For the member that is about to retire and wants to transfer his or her benefits it must be done before retirement said Howard.
All military service counts toward the service requirement except time in the Individual Ready Reserves he added.
Servicemembers must contact the post retention office to ensure eligibility to transfer benefits and to extend if necessary said Howard.
"The ability to transfer benefits can't be beat," said Howard. "I haven't seen anything to this caliber to benefit the Soldier and families," he added.
If the member chooses to use the benefits for his or her self he or she needs to contact the Fort Carson education center said Cavin. There an education counselor will be able to help the member decide what bill he or she is eligible for and which bill will best suit the member, Cavin added.
"Each case is different, because there are many different variables," said Cavin in reference to which bill a servicemember should choose.
"I can't stress enough how important it is for Soldiers to go to the va.gov website and read about the bill," said Cavin. The Veterans Affairs website has a wealth of information regarding the bill she said.
Cavin said the new bill is being used as an enlistment and retention tool. Its set up to encourage the member to stay in she added.
"The new bill gives the Army the privilege to support the members and their families," said Cavin.