Among a pile of recommended changes to military benefits made early this year by a commission convened by Congress was a series of suggested changes to military education benefits.
You can read a full rundown of them over here on Military.com. Here's the brief version.
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCMRC) suggested Congress:
-- Get rid of the Montgomery GI Bill. Most people use the Post-9/11 version anyway because it gives better benefits. This isn't particularly controversial.
-- Increase the amount of time a service member has to be in before he or she can transfer the benefits to a spouse or kid. Right now you have to have served six years to transfer the benefit and incur a four years additional duty obligation (ADSO) . The MCRMC wants to make it 10 with a two year ADSO.
-- Ditch the housing allowance (BAH) portion of the payout for children using the transferred benefit. Spouses could still use the money, but children would not. The MCRMC suggested waiting to make this change until 2017 so those currently relying on the allowance would be able to finish schooling with it. Clarification: the current rules already bar spouses from receiving BAH when using a transferred GI Bill while their spouse is still on active duty.
Some advocates say making changes to GI Bill transferred benefits, which would impact those who have already completed the transfer but have not started using it, is a breach of trust. When a transfer is completed, the service member is required to sign a contract agreeing to the ADSO, and is doing so, advocates say, based on the understanding of certain provided benefits. Taking them away is a breach of that contract, they say.
Yet the Post 9/11 GI Bill, including the transferability option, has always been administered at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense. And it's generally accepted that he can take away or change that perk if he wants to. Those who watch this issue for a living have noted that transferability can be seen as a "nice to have."
Still, for the people who were betting the bank on using the money the way it is currently administered -- with BAH and with ability to transfer it after six years instead of 10 -- these changes could be a big blow.
Take our poll below and tell us -- which cut would you prefer?
Photo courtesy US Marine Corps.