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Transition Assistance Programs and Resources6 minute read • April 3, 2022
The military has an extensive array of services to help make your separation a success. If you’re an active-duty service member, National Guard and reserve component service member or service member’s spouse, you can take advantage of these transition assistance resources and more.
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.
Access spouse support through MySTeP
Learn about resources to assist you and your family as you prepare for transition away from the military.
Transition resources and programs
- The Defense Department Transition Assistance Program has information, tools and training to prepare you and your family for your military-to-civilian transition.
- Find your nearest Transition Assistance Program office. Transition Assistance offices are on most military installations in the United States and overseas. Each service branch has its own program:
- Military OneSource offers the Transitioning Veterans specialty consultation to help you answer your specific questions about transitioning to civilian life.
Components of the TAP curriculum
TAP starts no later than 365 days prior to transition for those who are separating or retiring. It is recommended retirees begin the transition process at least two years prior to retirement. In the event of an unanticipated separation or retirement, or a member of the reserve component is demobilized with less than 365 days, TAP must begin as soon as possible within the remaining period of service.
- Individualized Initial Counseling
Individualized initial counseling between the service member and a TAP counselor is now the official start to the transition process. During the IC session, service members complete their personal self-assessment and begin the development of their Individual Transition Plan, or ITP, to identify their unique needs for the transition process and post-transition goals.
- Pre-Separation Counseling
Once the individualized counseling is complete, pre-separation counseling commences. Pre-separation counseling, just like IC, must start no later than 365 days prior to transition. Pre-separation counseling covers bylaw information including benefits, entitlements and resources for eligible transitioning service members, or TSMs, and includes an overview of the TAP process and curriculum. Caregivers and spouses are especially encouraged to attend pre-separation counseling with their service members.
- The DOD Transition Day
The DOD Transition Day follows pre-separation counseling and is mandatory for TSMs. It covers these topics:
- Managing Your Transition gives service members an understanding of the importance of preparing for their transition from military service into the civilian sector and provides a review of the TAP process. The “less obvious” topics of transition are introduced — including personal and family transition concerns, the differences in the culture of civilian and military workplaces, transition-related stressors and the importance of effective communication during the transition process. The course concludes with both military and civilian resources that can provide support during and after transition for military personnel and their family members.
- Military Occupational Code Crosswalk demonstrates how to translate military skills, training and experience into civilian credentialing appropriate for civilian jobs. Service members will document their military career experience and skills, translate their military occupation experience to civilian occupations and skills, and identify any gaps in their training and/or experience that need to be filled to meet their career goals.
- Financial Planning for Transition builds on the financial training provided during the military life cycle and helps service members understand how transition will impact their financial situation. Subjects include change in income, taxes, health care costs, new expenses and other financial matters. Online tools are used to calculate the military-to-civilian income equivalent and to research the cost of living for at least two geographical locations. Throughout the course, service members have the opportunity to develop or update a spending plan.
- VA Benefits and Services
This one-day interactive briefing teaches service members about the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and programs based on their needs and where they are in their transition journey. Each module highlights real stories and examples from service members who have already transitioned from military to civilian life. Topics covered include disability benefits and compensation, memorial and burial benefits, education and economic support, housing benefits and health care options, including both physical and emotional health needs.
- Department of Labor Employment Fundamentals of Career Transition
This course provides an introduction to the tools and resources service members can use to evaluate career options, gain information for civilian employment and understand the fundamentals of the employment process.
TAP also includes a service member election of two days of instruction. These include the DOL Employment Track: Employment Workshop, DOL Vocational Track: Career Credential and Exploration, DOD Education Track: Managing Your Education and the Small Business Administration Entrepreneurship Track: Boots to Business. TSMs must elect at least one track but may attend more than one based on their ITP and post-transition goals.
The Capstone is the culminating event where commanders verify achievement of Career Readiness Standards and a viable ITP. It must happen no later than 90 days before separation or release from active duty.
Make sure you get your Verification of Military Experiences and Training form
Your service branch is required to verify your military experience and training. Your VMET form DD 2586 assesses your knowledge, experience and skills as they relate to civilian jobs. The form provides:
- Primary occupation and dates
- Occupation descriptions
- Civilian-equivalent job titles
- Military training information including course names, length and description
More transition resources
- Installation briefings. Installations offer a variety of classes and seminars on topics related to transition, such as dressing for success, goal setting, change management and evaluating and negotiating job offers.
- Individual assistance. Installation TAP offices provide personal help for TSMs and their spouses for up to 180 days after separation or retirement, including one-on-one support, resources, needs assessments and referrals.
Your transition to civilian life is a significant event. Start planning as soon as you know you’ll be leaving the military — even if it’s a year or more away. Military OneSource offers the Transitioning Veterans specialty consultation to help you answer your specific questions about transitioning to civilian life. Call 800-342-9647, view international calling options or schedule a live chat today.