Congressmen Panetta, Taylor Introduce Legislation to Expand GI Bill Transferability

September 11, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) joined Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) in introducing the GI Bill Transfer Extension Act, to increase flexibility for servicemembers seeking to transfer their GI Bill education benefits.

Under current law, a qualified individual may only transfer his or her GI Bill benefit to a spouse or dependent during military service.  An individual becomes eligible to transfer the benefit to their spouse only after they have completed six years of service and agree to serve four more.  To transfer the benefit to one's child, a servicemember must have completed 10 years of service and agree to serve four more.  Last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced a policy change that would limit the option to transfer GI Bill benefits to servicemembers with less than 16 years total time-in-service.

This bipartisan bill would change the law governing GI Bill transfers in three key areas: First, it would remove the 16-year time-in-service cap announced in the recent DOD policy change.  Second, it would provide a 15-year window for eligible veterans to transfer their education benefits after their separation or retirement.  Lastly, the provisions would be made retroactive to August 1, 2009, the date GI Bill transfers were first allowed.  This provides individuals who did not transfer their education benefits before separation or retirement the opportunity to transfer as long as they have not already exhausted their benefit.

"U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines deserve certainty in their earned benefits and transferability.  The GI Bill Transfer Extension Act empowers servicemembers and their loved ones to pursue advanced educational opportunities and further their professional development.  We recognize the sacrifices made by military families and are committed to their continued success," said Congressman Panetta.

"The GI Bill remains one of the most successful veterans’ benefit programs in our nation's history and has enabled millions of servicemembers to pursue higher education or pass the benefit along to their loved ones.  This bill ensures that those who have put more than enough time in service to their country are afforded flexibility when it comes to the transferability of their hard-earned benefit.  This is a growing area of concern for military members and veterans in my district and around the country." said Congressman Scott Taylor.