If you are transitioning from military life to civilian life, the military has plenty of resources available to help you out. With the right assistance, veterans can easily separate from the military. Active-duty service members, Reserve component service members, National Guard service members and the spouses of service members can get assistance with transitioning back to civilian life.
What Resources Are Available for Veterans?
Veterans can enjoy having several resources from the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). To get started with the transitioning process, you should find the closest Transition Assistance office in your area. Each branch has its own program.
- Navy Transition Assistance.
- Soldier for Life Transition Assistance.
- Military OneSource.
- Marine Corp’s Transition Readiness Program.
The TAP Curriculum
With Military OneSource, veterans can get a consultation about transitioning back to civilian life. TAP offers resources and information for veterans who are starting the next stage in their lives. This program starts a minimum of 365 days before the veteran retires or leaves the military. If you are retiring, you should begin the TAP curriculum at least two years before your retirement date.
TAP supports the transitioning process through pre-separation counseling and individual counseling. During an initial counseling session, the service member takes a self-assessment and creates an individual transition plan. Then, they begin pre-separation counseling to learn about their benefits, resources, and entitlements.
The Department of Defense requires all veterans to undergo a transition day before they completely leave the military. This transition day includes topics like managing the transition. A program called the Military Occupational Code Crosswalk helps veterans learn how to translate their military training into skills for civilian jobs. Meanwhile, the Financial Planning for Transition program gives service members resources for managing their healthcare costs, taxes, income, new expenses, and other financial matters.
The Veterans Administration (VA) is available to help service members after they separate from the military. A one-day briefing on VA benefits and services helps veterans learn about VA programs that can help them during the transitioning process. Veterans learn about assistance programs for education, disability benefits, compensation, burial benefits, housing benefits, economic support and more.
Afterward, service members can attend the Department of Labor Employment Fundamentals of Career Transition program to learn more about the resources and tools they can use as a civilian. TAP also offers a two-day program for specific industries like education and entrepreneurship. At the end of this process, service members attend a capstone event where commanders make sure they are ready for a future career in the civilian workforce.
The transitioning process does not end once TAP is finished. Service members need to get the Verification of Military Experiences and Training (VMET) form DD 2585. This form shows how your military experience and training relates to civilian work. Other transition resources are also available like installation briefings and individual assistance. During the first 180 days after your retirement or separation, you can get personal help like one-on-one support, needs assessments, transition resources and referrals.