How to Prepare to Get Out of the Military

You have almost completed your enlistment with the military. Soon it will be time to get out and go home. Everyone you normally go to for advice is still in the military. This article will teach you some important ways to prepare for your civilian life.

Steps

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    Save money. Set up automatic transfers from your checking to savings account. You need enough to move and go months of living without a paycheck, even if you think you have a job lined up. The earlier you start, the better!
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    Explore veteran organizations and nonprofits. There are many organizations that will help you transition, and unique benefits and opportunities that will be available to you as a veteran.
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    Attend military transition classes. They will not cover everything, but will give you a strong foundation of knowledge. Go as early as possible, and as many times as you are allowed.
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    Start looking for a college or a job. You don't want to waste your first days without a paycheck doing this basic research. Find out which options are within your reach so you will have some direction in your new life.
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    Make copies of your medical record. You need one for you, and at least one for the VA. Your original medical record will get archived, so save yourself a headache by making those copies. Your medic or corpsman can help you find where to get your electronic medical notes, labs, and x-rays. They can also check if your medical problems have been documented properly.
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    Get started on your VA claim. Six months before you separate, bring your medical record copies to be screened by a Veterans Service Officer from a veteran's organization such as VFW, DAV, or American Legion. Appoint the service officer to handle your claim. Decide which type of claim to file.
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    Find a place to live. If you aren't going to stay with friends or family, make sure you can afford the rent with your change in income. You can search online for a place to live. If you cannot visit it before you get there, call and see if you can have a friend or family member check it out and vouch for you. Learn about veteran transitional housing if you don't have a support system of friends and family. You never need to be without a home!
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    Find out about your state's veteran benefits. Each state has its own special benefits for veterans. State benefits vary widely and could include benefits for employment, housing, loans, or education for you or your children. [1]

Tips

  • Find a veteran mentor that has successfully transitioned in the location you are headed to. This is where college veteran clubs and veteran organizations come in handy!
  • If you are on a combat deployment, put your savings in the Savings Deposit Program and you will earn interest. Take advantage of the higher limits on TSP deposits as well.
  • One sided copies of your medical records will be easier for others to scan.

Warnings

  • Make sure your VA claim is filed BEFORE you separate, or you will lose your priority and wait much longer for a decision!
  • Expect to be pressured into reenlisting, but take what is said with a big grain of salt!

Article Info

Categories: Careers in the Military