On Monday, the Military Coalition, a consortium of the nation's top military and veterans' service organizations, sent a letter to Congress calling for expanded transferability benefits under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which took effect Aug. 1.
The letter, which was sent to the chairmen and ranking members of both the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs, outlines the coalition's concern that transferability does not apply to uniformed officers in the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
These officers who fall under the department of Health and Human Services and Commerce, respectively, have access to Chapter 33 benefits, but they cannot transfer these benefits to dependents in the same manner that Department of Defense uniformed service members can.
The coalition points out that transferability was added as a retention incentive for DoD, encouraging service members to stay in the military by offering tremendous educational opportunities to dependents. The coalition believes that HHS and Commerce could use transferability as another incentive to ensure retention among USPHS and NOAA Corps, which are experiencing critical manpower shortages.
On Sept. 9, the coalition also sent a letter to Congress, asking for key changes in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to ensure equity in the new benefit. To view the Sept. 9 letter, Click Here.
The coalition recognized that certain individuals and certain types of education were excluded from coverage under Chapter 33. The coalition also recognized a need to address private and graduate school shortfalls, such as the California debacle, which we have discussed on this blog.
The coalition recommended that Congress consider authorizing National Guard members activated under Title 32 orders to take advantage of the benefit, similar to active duty Title 10 counterparts. The coalition also asked for living stipends for full-time distance learners, setting a national reimbursement standard for private schools and graduate programs, and adopt rules similar to the Montgomery G.I. Bill in regard to vocational and other non-degree training programs.
The Military Coalition is comprised of more than 30 of the nation's top military and veterans' service organizations, including AMVETS, representing more than 5.5. million current and former service members, their families, and survivors.
(Image: First page of the Military Coalition letter to Congress on G.I. Bill transferability. A full version of the letter should be available on the coalition's Web site shortly.)