Purple Heart Recipients: You’re Exempt From GI Bill Transfer Policy Changes

By Katie Lange, Department of Defense

Photo: Purple Heart Medal

Purple Heart Medal

If you’re an active-duty Purple Heart recipient who wants to transfer your post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits to your kids, rest easy – you’re being exempt from a policy change made earlier this year.

In July, the DoD announced a two-fold policy change on the transfer of educational benefits to family members. Here’s the gist of it:

  • Immediate change: Wounded warriors would be excluded from eligibility if they couldn’t extend their service by four years.
  • Starting in July 2019: Only service members with 6-16 years of total active-duty or selected reserve service under their belts will be eligible. Anyone above or below that won’t be able to transfer benefits.

Prior to the change, the policy didn’t put a cap on service time for transferability, as long as service members could commit to four more years in the service.

The changes made in July were implemented to increase troop retention, but just this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis signed another policy immediately exempting wounded warrior Purple Heart recipients from that change.

In case you’re confused: This means that wounded warriors with Purple Hearts can transfer their benefits, regardless of their years of total service or ability to complete more obligatory service.

“Secretary Mattis has been clear – we must recognize the sacrifices these service members have made,” said Stephanie Miller, director of accessions policy within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. “This policy reflects our continuing commitment to wounded warriors and their families.”

All other laws and DoD policies concerning the transferability of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits – including the changes from July – remain in effect.

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