Reserve recouping funds from ineligible GI Bill recipients

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Beginning Oct. 1, the Air Force Reserve will recoup money from reservists who receive GI Bill benefits but fail to complete their military or education obligations.

The Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve enables reserve component members who enlist, re-enlist or extend in the Selected Reserve for a six-year contract to be eligible for education benefits. However, the 1985 law also calls for fund recoupment if service members do not complete continuous satisfactory membership in the Selected Reserve.

"Recoupment is required by law and is being implemented by all of the reserve components," said Julia Williamson, training specialist in the Air Force Reserve Command headquarters directorate of personnel here. "AFRC would prefer that reservists participate regularly and fulfill their service obligations so recoupment will not be necessary."

Members who have been placed in the Individual Ready Reserve for more than 12 months because of absences from training, failure to meet physical standards or failure to complete military courses are among those who will be asked to refund unearned benefits.

The Air Force Reserve has been working with the other reserve components to streamline recoupment procedures throughout the Department of Defense, according to Ray Warren, Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve program manager in the office of the Air Force Reserve's directorate of personnel in Arlington, Va.

"This was a long process and finally we have systems that can work together and ensure current and accurate data is available and that any recoupment action is fair," Warren said.

The names of former Selected Reserve members who have received benefits but did not fulfill their commitment will be identified in the personnel data system. The names will then be forwarded to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service for collection action, which could involve garnishment of wages or placement on active duty.

Unlike its active-duty counterpart, the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve program is funded by the reserve components, not the servicemembers themselves.

Unit reservists may contact their wing education and training offices, and individual mobilization augmentees may contact the military training division at Air Reserve Personnel Center headquarters in Denver for additional information. The training division can be reached by calling DSN 926-6396 or (303) 676-6396. (Courtesy of AFRC News Service)