Separation & Transition - Benefits
You've stepped up and put your country first. Because of your service, you have a host of benefits available as you make the transition to civilian life. Here's an overview of benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and more.
- If you served on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, check into the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Your benefits can vary depending on your service time.
- Other education and training programs from the VA include the Montgomery GI Bill, or MGIB, Active Duty, the MGIB-Selected Reserve, the Reserve Education Assistance Program and the Veterans Educational Assistance Program.
- You may be able to transfer your benefits to your spouse or child if you meet certain requirements.
- The work-study program allows you to earn money while in college.
Health care and medical benefits
- VA provides world-class health care to eligible veterans. It's the nation's largest integrated health care system.
- You may be entitled to additional VA medical benefits if you are a separating combat veteran.
- If you served in Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, you can enroll within five years of separating from the service.
- Depending on the circumstances of your discharge, you and your family may be eligible for extended transitional health care benefits from TRICARE through the Transition Assistance Program.
- For specific information on medical benefits for you and your family, call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System at 800-538-9552 or visit the DEERS website. Your installation transition office can also provide more information on your eligibility for extended medical benefits.
- The VA provides low-cost term life insurance coverage to active-duty service members, National Guard and reserve members, veterans and their families.
Home loans and housing assistance
- The VA guarantees home loans made by private lenders to active-duty service members, veterans, and in some cases, surviving spouses. VA home loan programs may be used to obtain homes, condominiums, or manufactured homes, refinance an existing home loan, or install energy-saving improvements.
- Disabled veterans may receive grants to adapt their homes to accommodate their disabilities.
- VA offers numerous benefits and employment services to help veterans during their transitions to civilian jobs.
- Career-enhancing services include education and training assistance, vocational and employment counseling and job-seeking tools.
- VA also connects veterans with employers and helps employers find qualified veterans for the positions they’re seeking to fill.
The government may pay final move expenses from your last duty station to your destination of choice. If you currently live in base housing, you might have two moves in your future: first, to nearby community housing, and second, your final move, depending on the timing of your discharge and geographic limits.
Commissary and exchange privileges
Transition benefits allow certain service members and families to retain some or all of their commissary and exchange privileges:
- All honorably discharged veterans can shop online at military exchanges.
- Retiring service members retain commissary and exchange privileges.
- Involuntary separating service members may have continued access for two years as part of their transition assistance benefit.
- Service members transferring to the Guard or reserve also retain their commissary and exchange privileges.
If your service has resulted in a disability
- VA Disability Compensation can enhance the independence of wounded warriors and help them care for their families.
- You may be eligible to receive tax-free benefits if you have suffered a service-connected injury or disease — no matter when or where you served.
Depending on your discharge terms and state of residence, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Check your closest unemployment office or visit the Department of Labor.
Military OneSource counseling and other services
Discharged service members, retired service members, their immediate families and surviving spouses can continue to take advantage of the extensive counseling and support services offered by Military OneSource — some for 180 days after transitioning out, some longer. Check here to see a full list of who is eligible and for how long.
Leaving no one behind
- If you or someone you know is struggling with homelessness or is at imminent risk of becoming homeless, VA can help.
- Contact your local VA medical center, call 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838), or visit va.gov/homeless to connect with the care that will get you back on your feet.
To learn more
- Visit Veterans Benefits or Explore VA to learn more.
- Eligibility and application processes vary by benefit and applicant.
For more services and programs for service members transitioning out of the military, see Transition Assistance Resources. Reach out to Military OneSource or call 800-342-9647. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.