Beginning March 1, servicemembers may have noticed changes in the process to transfer education benefits. Though it can seem challenging, the assistance of the education counselors at the Fort Bragg Training and Education Center can make the process easier.
The first stop for any servicemember to transfer education benefits is to speak with their servicing Career Counselor, located in the retention office.
“In order to transfer benefits, you must have time left on your contract,” said Master Sgt. Marcia Fred-Stanton, the 18th Fires Brigade senior career counselor. “You incur a service obligation to transfer the benefits.”
Prior to the system changing on March 1, the obligatory additional service requirement would vary depending on the amount of active service accumulated. As of Aug. 1, it will be four additional years of active service for everyone, as quoted by Policy Message 13-06, Change 2.
Once a servicemember reaches six years of active service, they can elect to transfer the education benefits to their spouse; for children the requirement is 10 years.
After speaking with a Career Counselor, personnel need to receive a certificate of eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs by completing VA Form 22-1990 on the VA website.
Taking up to seven days, the certificate to receive benefits will allow servicemembers to transfer education benefits through the TEB website.
The individual can also decide how to designate the Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits (the only education benefits that are transferrable) between dependants and revoke benefits if they are no longer needed, such as a child received a scholarship.
The beneficiary to the education benefits must enroll in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and complete VA Form 22-1990e. This form should only be submitted to the VA by the Family member after the request for TEB has been approved.
“Children who use the benefits must do so by the time they turn 26,” said Byron Johnston, the Chief of Counseling at the BTEC, but the spouse can use the benefits for up to 15 years after the servicemember leaves active duty.
Additional changes to education benefits can be made even after the servicemember leaves active duty, such as designation, modification or revocation. In the event of a legal separation, even if benefits have been transferred, they are not automatically given to the spouse.
“It is not considered marital property,” said Johnston, who took advantage of the service while on active duty. “It is the property of the servicemember.”
The TEB process has seen changes, but with the resources available servicemembers will see the process become easier.