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Special Needs Considerations When You Separate or Retire From the Military

Mother with special needs child

As a military family with a family member with special needs, you probably have faced transition challenges like PCS moves, deployments and separations. The transition to civilian life will bring more change, but preparing ahead of time can help ease your family’s  shift to new support systems, resources and services.

Begin your separation journey by learning about transition assistance programs and resources. You can also schedule appointments with a Military OneSource consultant for transitioning veterans. Start early and contact your resources as often as needed to increase your post-transition success.

Build your plan.

Take these steps as part of your transition from the military to make sure you cover all the bases for your family member with special needs.

Capture and store necessary information.

Check out these tips to help you gather and keep information to have available when you need it.

  • Use EFMP & Me. Create customized checklists to guide you through planning for separation and retirement, transitioning your medical care, moving and so much more.
  • Contact the appropriate community agencies in your current or future location that provide services to support the disabled so you will have an understanding of available resources.
  • Keep a list of all important contacts you make as you prepare for transition. Take time to update the appropriate Special Care Organizational Record, and have copies of all necessary medical and education records ready to hand-carry to your new location.
  • Review the Transitioning From the Military With a Child With Special Needs fact sheet for an overview of support and resources available as you transition from the military.
  • Use the Plan My Move tool and the Transitioning/Moving checklist from your SCOR for ideas on transitioning with a special needs family member.

Ease the transition.

You and your family members may feel the stress of military transition to civilian life due to the unknown and to fears you don’t recognize. Some suggestions for easing transition stress when you separate or retire from the military include:

As you prepare for military separation, you may feel anxious about the new and unknown hurdles ahead. Every transition is different so the better prepared you are, the smoother your transition can be.

Use the wealth of available tools and resources to find the answers you need to create and execute your plan for a smooth, successful transition from military to civilian life. And remember, you have access to Military OneSource for 12 months after your military separation.

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