The Military Guide


Ask The Readers: Transferring GI Bill Benefits in the Individual Ready Reserve?

by Doug Nordman


A reader writes:

“I am a Traditional (TR) Air Force Reservist with 20 good years on 31 May 2015. I would like to retire, but I have one outstanding issue– my Transfer of GI Bill Benefit service commitment date. This date is 1 August 2016. I would like to stop being a TR and become IMA, IRR, an Academy Liaison Officer (I think that this is a Category E Reservist), or a Civil Air Patrol Officer (I also think that this is a Category E Reservist). I am having a difficult time determining which of these (and all of the different status) will meet the criteria for a “qualifying year” towards the GI Bill Transfer of Benefit Commitment. What other status meets the GI Bill transfer criteria? Thanks.”

First, congratulations on achieving 20 years for a military retirement! Only one out of six servicemembers reaches this goal.

I’m way out of my depth in answering this question, but I’ve started the research.  If any of you readers have any experience with transferring GI Bill benefits while in the IRR, please let me know what you’ve learned.

Here’s what I’ve found so far.

The VA administers the GI Bill program, of course, but DoD approves the benefits transfer. Everything I’ve read about the eligibility for a transfer requires being on active duty or drilling in the Selected Reserve. Those GI Bill benefit transfer requirements are on the VA page, the DoD fact sheet on benefit transfers (a Word document), and on’s GI Bill page.

Image of U.S. Air Force Reserve organization  |
Reserve service status

It looks like your only option would be to stay in the drilling Reserve or to find an IMA billet. If I understand the AF Reserve organizational charts correctly, Category E billets are considered part of the IRR or the PIRR.

Academy Liaison Officer duty seems to be Category B or E, and if you can find an ALO Category B billet then you’d be in the IMA and still eligible to complete your GI Bill Benefits transfer. Here’s a Word document (including an organizational chart) from Chapter 12 of the handbook on the USAFA ALO site.

Finally, this PDF from the Air University website says “Nearly all Civil Air Patrol Reserve Assistance Programs positions are Category E”.

I’ve checked with several other Reservists, but this situation does not seem to come up very often. Unless we get a response from a Reservist who’s found a better way, it appears that IMA is the safest alternative to drills.

Readers, any other ideas for Reservists to stop drilling and keep their eligibility to transfer their GI Bill benefits?

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Related articles:
Options For National Guard And Reserve Retirement
Reserve Retirement Eligibility
529 College Savings For Military Families
Military Retirement From The Individual Ready Reserve
Retiring From The Individual Ready Reserve
Medical Separation Or Retirement From The Reserves Or National Guard