The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is run by an interagency partnership between the
Together, these interagency partners implement the TAP Curriculum—learning modules and opportunities that help provide the skill building, resources, and tools you need to achieve emotional health, physical health, and economic stability in civilian life.
From your first duty station on, you should be aware of and understand all the available resources you may be entitled to, especially those that can help you prepare for a successful transition. In September 2019, the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approved the Military to Civilian Readiness Pathway (M2C Ready), which defines the transition period as beginning as early as 365 days preseparation and extending to 365 days postseparation. Retiring service members may start the transition process as early as two years before separation.
The Military to Civilian Readiness Pathway (M2C Ready) addresses Executive Order 13822 “Supporting our Veterans During Their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life” and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 Section 522 and Section 552. M2C Ready is an overarching transition framework that establishes the transition period as beginning 365 days preseparation and extending to 365 days postseparation.
The goal is to align all the various components of transition and provide service members leaving the military with an understanding of, and easy access to, all the benefits and resources they are entitled to. M2C Ready provides interagency support to help ensure a holistic and successful transition for service members, Veterans, and their families. VA, DoD, and the Department of Labor (DOL) partners with public and private sector organizations to support this important initiative. Partners include, but are not limited to:
VA Benefits Advisors are trained VA contractors at military installations around the world. They deliver the VA Transition Assistance Program Curriculum, but can also help service members, Veterans, family members, and loved ones anytime during a military career. Connect with your VA Benefits Advisor to learn how to use VA benefits while still in uniform, get your VA questions answered, find local support, and prepare for transitions. Your installation TAP Manager can connect you with your local Benefits Advisor.
Yes! Take a Military Life Cycle (MLC) module to learn more about the benefits and services available throughout a military career.
The Military Life Cycle (MLC) model begins a service member's transition preparation early in their military career. Service members have key touch points throughout their MLC that provide opportunities to align their military career with their civilian goals. Early connections with VA may make a difference in a military career or transition.
Military Life Cycle (MLC) modules are 45- to 60-minute information sessions to help service members and their loved ones plan for the future. Each MLC module covers a specific topic—such as education benefits, home loans, or life insurance; resources that support social and emotional health; resources that help transitioning service members integrate into a civilian community; or survivor and casualty assistance. They can be taken at any time during a service member’s career. MLC modules are especially valuable after major life events: permanent changes of station, marriage, or the birth of a child. Explore the current topics for in-person or online MLC modules.
VA Benefits and Services is part of the required TAP Curriculum for transitioning and retiring service members. MLC modules are not required. Service members can attend the MLC modules of their choice. Service members can and should take MLC modules at different times in their careers—when it is right for them!
Yes. More MLC modules are coming on topics like caregiver support programs and education benefits for family members. Your local VA Benefits Advisor can provide more information once they are available.
Yes. MLC modules include different benefits and services service members can use throughout their military careers, including VA and DoD resources. DoD resources are included in the VA Education Benefits, Social and Emotional Health Resources, Community Integration Resources, and Survivor and Casualty Assistance Resources MLC modules.
All of the MLC modules can be used by the Coast Guard. The Community Integration Resources MLC module includes information about the CG SUPRT program. CG SUPRT has free and confidential services to help Coast Guard personnel.
Economic Investment (EI) Initiatives provide transitioning service members, Veterans, and their families opportunities to communicate directly with local, state, and federal government representatives. They connect audiences in specific geographic communities with information and resources that promote economic well-being. They also bring key players together to discuss solutions to ease challenges in the Veteran community and form sustainable public-private partnerships. EI Initiatives include follow-up visits to the selected geographic region six months, 18 months, and three years after the initial event. The Office of Transition and Economic Development (TED) will host EI Initiatives twice annually in coordination with VA regional offices. Currently, TED hosts EI Initiatives in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Puget Sound, Washington.
Transition doesn’t stop with a DD 214. Through new and existing programs like VA Solid Start, VA is working to maintain contact with Veterans throughout their first year as civilians. Year one as a civilian has a lot of change—but the stress of change is not a weight newly separated service members have to carry alone.
VA Solid Start is an effort between the Departments of VA, DoD, and Homeland Security to contact all newly separated service members at least three times during their first year of transition through phone calls and emails. VA Solid Start is a response to Executive Order 13822 to improve mental health care and access to suicide prevention resources for transitioning service members.
The Office of Transition and Economic Development (TED) is under the VA Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). Established in July 2018, TED oversees military to civilian transition in VA. TED partners within and outside of VA to advance the economic empowerment and independence of service members, Veterans, and their families. TED connects transitioning service members and Veterans to VA benefits, programs, and services that support successful transitions from military service to civilian life. This includes increasing early access to VA benefits and services; enhancing use of Personalized Career Planning and Guidance; and supporting federal, private sector, and Veterans Service Organization partnerships and collaboration.
The VA Benefits and Services course uses real-life examples, websites, and resources specific to members of the reserve components. The course has reserve component-specific information on defining qualifying service, separation documents, and eligibility requirements.
MLC modules are for all service members, including members of the reserve components. Members of the reserve components can also learn about important financial topics in the Reserve Component Dual Payments MLC module. Members who do not live on installations or near other military resources can use the Community Integration Resources MLC module to find local support.
Community is important no matter where you live or serve. VA Benefits Advisors can help transitioning service members and Veterans find the right resources in their communities through the VA Benefits and Services course and the Community Integration Resources MLC module. VA also partners with Military OneSource and the National Resource Directory (NRD). NRD is a Department of Defense resource with more than 16,000 vetted resources.
Connecting transitioning service members to the right services and resources is a VA priority. Transitioning service members who do not have a post-transition housing plan are provided with a "warm handover" to a federal program. These programs can provide more help and referrals. If a Veteran is at risk of homelessness, VA Homeless Coordinators are available to assist with housing, employment opportunities, health care, justice- and re-entry-related services, and more.
VA's suicide prevention efforts are guided by the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide. VA helps Veterans get the right care, whenever and wherever they need it. Contacts through VA Solid Start increases awareness of and connection to free VA mental health resources offered to Veterans during the first-year post transition—regardless of discharge status or Service history.