Earlier this week, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced a startling change in their policy regarding the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Starting next year, troops with 16 years of service or more will no longer be permitted to transfer their military benefits to their spouses and children. Since being signed into law in 2008, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has allowed servicemembers with over 6 years of service to transfer their benefits to their dependents if they agreed to serve another 4 years. Now DoD is putting a time limit on that benefit. According to the new policy, they no longer view the transferability of benefits after 16 years as an effective recruitment and retention method.
IAVA firmly opposes this change in policy, as the transferability of benefits in the GI Bill is not simply a recruiting and retention tool, but also a hard earned benefit that our nation’s veterans deserve. It is also appears to be at odds with Congressional intent when they passed the #ForeverGIBill improvements to the benefit that included the removal of the deadline to use the GI Bill.
According to IAVA’s most recent member survey, over 90 percent of respondents have stated that they are eligible for the bill’s benefits, with 55 percent stating that they have used it for themselves, 22 percent say they intend on using it, and 11 percent stating they have transferred it to their dependents so that they may accomplish their educational goals. A vast majority of respondents were also largely unsupportive of any sort of cuts to the benefit. Nearly 1.5 million veterans and their families have used the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and as many as 9 percent of servicemembers will be affected should this policy be enacted.
At a press conference in New York on Tuesday, IAVA met with our partners and allies such as the NYC Veterans Alliance and New York public advocate Tish James to reaffirm our commitment to defending the Post-9/11 GI Bill. At the event, IAVA called on DoD to reverse their destructive policy change, and called on Congress and the President to oppose it.
While this policy is yet another attack on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, it is not the first. IAVA led the fight to pass the bill in 2008 and we have defended it against attacks and cuts ever since. IAVA is committed to our movement to #DefendTheGIBill and prevent the disastrous changes by DoD from being implemented.
We have never given up in our mission to #DefendTheGIBill, and it remains one of our greatest priorities in IAVA’s Big 6 Advocacy Priorities for 2018. Help us take action to continue our mission by visiting our advocacy page here. To read more about this issue and IAVA’s stance, check out our press release here.