Friday, August 16, 2013

GI Bill Transfer For Those in MEB/PEB Process:

1944 Photo Military Family Living On GI Bill Benefits Alone

Remember You Are Just An Extra in Everyone Else's Play. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are some things I simply don't talk about like politics and religion. It's not because I think my opinions are solely the right ones; it's just that it only causes problems and well, with times like these? Who knows who is right anymore? I spoke to our unit on another matter about two weeks ago and that person reminded me of the GI Bill transfer changes to spouse/dependents. I wasn't too worried as we were told those of us in MEB/PEB were "excluded" and from the beginning, this was one of my "hot topics" with our "don't get your undies in a wad, Mama" PEBLO that we originally had. However, I guess you could say I did because after being promised so many things that never came about, I learned to keep in check that hot list I had. For the past three years, we were told all the this transfer business would be done when the retirement or discharge process began. I checked into it anyway. That began a slurry of information that was completely different from, I kid you not, twenty-seven different people. That's not even counting the information received by our Federal Recovery Coordinator, Peblo and our Army Reserve Recovery Coordinator.

Now we try to keep the news at most, as a "general use only" because some stuff simply pisses and sets my husband off; especially when it comes to politics using the military as pawns in an everlasting game of the "sky is falling syndrome" that they keep playing. For many of my readers, you know that we have been stuck in the MEB/PEB for a very very long time. After perusing the online veteran and caregiver groups that are out there, I realize we aren't the only ones stuck in a hold, left hanging and most definitely....behind.

So after scouring the internet, asking tons of questions, harassing people by phone, and not giving up; I found that the rule was stated as this.

Eligibility Any member of the Armed Forces (active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted), who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and: Has at least 6 years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval and agrees to serve 4 additional years in the Armed Forces from the date of election.
Has at least 10 years of service in the Armed Forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval, is precluded by either standard policy (Service or DoD) or statute from committing to 4 additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
Is or becomes retirement eligible and agrees to serve an additional 4 years of service on or after August 1, 2012. A service member is considered to be retirement eligible if he or she has completed 20 years of active Federal service or 20 qualifying years as computed pursuant to section 12732 of title 10 U.S.C.
Such transfer must be requested and approved while the member is in the Armed Forces.
So much confusion in all that stereo type eligibility instructions right? THEN suddenly, the date changed to September 1st, then to August 1st 2013. Confusion is what I think they like to spin. My question echoed much of what I saw others questioning. What happens to those of us who are stuck in this loop, haven't retired yet, can't sign for another four years, haven't heard back or even possibly started the MEB lengthy process, and for those of us who have wounded members in our military that are sitting ducks waiting with the same "don't worry 'bout it" response...what happens now? So I kept calling and finally called the GI Bill office at the US Army Human Resources Command in Fort Knox. After way more elevator music that should be allowed, I finally got a hold of a human that explained to me what all the above actually meant. "Pretty much, if you can serve and you want to keep your GI Bill benefits, you have to sign on for another four years of service. If you don't sign up before September 1st, then you lose your GI Bill". Hmmm. I asked then politely what happens in the situations where many of us are stuck awaiting MEB or going through it. "If you didn't transfer by August 1st, you all lost it".


The first thing I did was to keep from blowing a gasket and think of President Roosevelt probably rolling over in his grave over her very nonchalant, could give a rat's ass about anyone, attitude that she delivered. The callous remark of "Most of the wounded probably won't use that benefit so its saves money which is what is what the government wants". Allllll righty then (really hating that person even more). Well, I don't know about you guys and gals out there but, how does one know exactly what we will and will not use? We might need that benefit for our children, or what if a spouse wants to go? What if our Wounded Warriors, get through the healing process, and decide to tackle getting their degree? I decided to keep challenging as this just doesn't seem right and after fifteen minutes of arguing back and forth, she told me how to catch the last back door on those who are sitting and waiting so we won't lose our GI Bill.

I can't say too much on the subject of Active Duty except that you need to have it transferred and sign for another four years. According to the Army, you need to have that done asap and get it transferred. According to Fort Knox, you need to extend by September 1st but, I honestly didn't get that much info on Active personnel because we are no longer well, active. Your best bet to ask any questions is go to the direct source because for me? Even as much as I researched, there are just too many people with too many answers. Unless you know for sure the correct answer, you won't be able to tell which one is correct.  A Retention NCO officer *should* know the answers.

For those many of us stuck here in the "wait" here is how you do it. For those who were alerted by letter, email or anything that shows you are heading to the MEB, you need to find that notification. For new starters of the MEB, you should have gotten a packet that says you are being sent through the MEB and found to be medically unfit. Now, you will go HERE  to begin the transfer process. You will need to know your points that you earned through your service time and you can obtain that by going HERE or you can go through the portal that is listed in the transfer explanation by using your CAC, your DOD self service number or DFAS MyPay number at this SITE. You can also go through your unit and get that information as well. Now once submitted, you will more than likely be rejected because it's AFTER August 1st. This is when you will use the information you have on MEB/PEB or anything that shows you were in this process BEFORE August 1st 2013. You will submit these documentation papers to this address along with a letter stating that you were rejected for the transfer of your GI Bill but you are awaiting the MEB/PEB and were before the date and changes were made to the GI Bill:

Fax:  502-613-4533
Mail: US Army Human Resources Command
    Attn: AHRC-PDE-I (RM# 2-1-025)
    1600 Spearhead Division Avenue DEPT# 410
    Fort Knox, KY 40122-5401

If you have a PEBLO assigned, or an AW2, and you don't have anything to show; ask them to type something up stating when the injury occurred, when you were notified of the MEB proceedings etc. Hopefully if you have a good one, they will do that for you. If you have a bad one, well stay on them! For us, I was told anything like a welcome email or the cover letter showing "hey Buddy, we are putting you out". If what you send in is not sufficient, they will let you know and you can keep sending items in. Once you do that, you will then move on to the process of obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility. While there are no exclusions, there are still a few that can make that door open back up so you don't lose your GI Bill. Now this process is for the US Army but as we know, each branch has different addresses/processes etc.  I would suggest calling the GI Bill hotline 1-888-GIBILL1 and ask. Be aware though the elevator music is annoying as hell and there is a long wait. Here is what the Army sent me that explains about the transfer process and I am going to place this in a tab above as many of us (like me) just can't seem to get to the right place!

I am hoping you all will pass this along to as many Wounded Warriors that are stuck like we are. For many, they have already lost their education benefits and most of that was due to underhanded, unexplained, sneakiness to save a lousy dollar on the backs of all of our Service members and Veterans. What gets me, is they said "we are trying to get the word out to our servicemen and women so that they know to submit paperwork or that they would lose their education benefits after August 1." Hmmmm....Apparently not, because trust me, this was something my advocates, PEBLO and myself dug in to look for and no one else knew about. The sad part is, once rejected, many will think there is no other option and that's the part that they don't tell you. So if you were in the process and can show it, submit your documentation as you still have a chance but PLEASE get on it asap! If you have additional information, found any other information that we can blast it out there to help our military Veterans and their families, please feel free to leave a comment or email. Hope this helps someone.

 A HUGE shout out with much appreciation to our "Apple Martini" Hero,

The school is the last expenditure upon which America should be willing to economize.
~Franklin D. Roosevelt