By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Saturday May 2, 2009 10:00:29 EDT
Defense and service officials have settled on final rules that will allow career service members to share Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits with their immediate families beginning Aug. 1.
In general, service members — officer, warrant officer or enlisted personnel — must be on active duty Aug. 1 and must have completed a minimum of six years of service, with a commitment to serve four more, in order to share their new Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
For most students, the benefits will cover full tuition and fees at any four-year public college or university at in-state tuition rates for undergraduate studies.
Defense officials expect to begin accepting requests to transfer benefits in June. But payments could not begin before Aug. 1, the start date of the new GI bill program.
Special rules have been approved for people who are eligible to retire before Aug. 1, 2012, or who have at least 10 years of service and are prevented by high-year tenure, mandatory retirement or other personnel rules or laws from completing the four years of additional service needed to earn transfer rights.
The special rules are needed so that retirement-eligible service members who suddenly find themselves with a new benefit don’t clog up the ranks by delaying retirement, and so that service members do not lose transfer rights because of policies outside their immediate control.