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Read This: Must-Dos for Separating

Marines at retirement ceremony

You’ve made the decision. Now it’s time to make the most of it. There’s a list of tasks to accomplish, and most of them come with a due date:

A Full Year of Support

As you transition into civilian life, you and your family have full access to Military OneSource for 365 days after separation or retirement.

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  • DO get your plans in place. Think about your post-military goals and the income you’ll need. Start researching how your military experience could translate to a civilian career. Attend the Transition Assistance Program to learn the benefits and resources available to help you and your family prepare for a successful transition.
  • DO start TAP early. You must complete a mandatory initial counseling session with a transition counselor and complete pre-separation counseling no less than 365 days prior to your separation or retirement date. During TAP, you’ll also receive briefings and resources from the Defense Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor. For extra assistance in your transition, check out Military OneSource’s specialty consultation for transitioning veterans. And remember, you can attend TAP more than once!
  • DO schedule a final separation health assessment and dental exams. You’ll need a mandatory, final medical and dental exam with your installation’s medical clinic no later than 90 days before you separate. The SHA may be used to file a VA disability compensation claim.
  • DO schedule the move of your household goods. The earlier, the better. You’ll have one year after leaving active duty to complete your final move. The sooner you can schedule, the better your chances of getting the dates you want.
  • DO talk to your spouse about participating in the Military Spouse Transition Program and the self-directed MySteP: Stepping Beyond. This program is designed to guide military spouses through the military to civilian transition, including post-military benefits, health care, finances and transition training.


  • DON’T wait until the last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to complete all the tasks required. You must complete some tasks 365 days before you separate. Also, some benefits have a timeline in which to be used.

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