#1 – Take advantage of your active duty Medical/Dental/Vision offerings
Once you retire, the benefits that you were receiving while on active duty will change. This means that the cost and value of your medical, dental, and vision benefits might also change. With this in mind, there are a few things you should take advantage of while you’re still active duty if you think you will need them once you’ve retired. If you need or think you might need medical devices like hearing aids or a CPAP machine, get them while you’re still on active duty.
It’s important to keep in mind that while your retirement is processing you might have to go a couple months without dental or vision benefits. This means that if you know you will need to utilize these benefits, you should do so prior to retirement, otherwise you might have to wait until your policy through your new employer or self-insurance policy is active.
#2 – Start the disability process as soon as possible
The process of being approved for disability claims can take a while and receiving payments can take even longer. You shouldn’t count on these payments as part of your budget, at least for the first few months of retirement. In order to start receiving disability benefits as soon as possible, you’ll want to get this process started before your retirement is processed.
You will need to ensure that all of your service-related issues and concerns are THOROUGHLY documented. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any medical concerns that you currently have that could be tied to your military service. This will make it easier to validate your claims in the future. You’ll also want to make copies of all of your medical records and keep these on hand in case you need them as proof.
To make the VA disability process a little smoother you should look into working with a Veteran Service Officer (VSO). They can help you navigate the VA disability process and ensure that you have all of the necessary documentation on hand.
#3 – The job hunt isn’t always easy
If you plan to start a new job after you retire from the military, remember that the job search process isn’t always easy. However, LinkedIn is your friend and you shouldn’t hesitate to use it. A great benefit of LinkedIn is that both service members and their military spouse can get a free year of access to LinkedIn Premium. This is a fantastic benefit and will make the process of finding your dream job and a new civilian career much easier.
There are also tons of other resources available to help prepare you for the job hunt like resume writing services and certificate programs. This is a great way to learn how you can explain your military experience in a way that a civilian job will understand. A visit to your local family support center should be able to point you in the right direction to find and utilize some of these great resources.
#4 – Have a couple months worth of expenses saved
There can be a lot of unexpected expenses after your retirement and your final paycheck from the military can sometimes be delayed. Be prepared for these expenses by having at least a couple months worth of income saved. This will help you when you have to pay for housing and moving costs, clothes for a new job, or medical expenses.
You should start planning for this a few months prior to your retirement date so you can ensure you have enough put back to take care of you and your family until your new sources of income start to come in.
#5 – Make a plan for your final household move
Even if you aren’t planning on making a move right away, make a plan and ensure you know the process of reserving a move through your branches transportation office. This can include up to one year of storage for your household items. However, it’s important to remember that your moving claim will be filed with your last base, regardless of where you retire, so make sure you have the information for that bases filing office on hand.
The process of retiring from the military doesn’t have to be difficult and it should be a rewarding experience for you. Follow the steps given to you during your TAP program and take advantage of these tips we’ve given you here and you should be well on your way to a successful retirement.
Have a question about your Veteran benefits? You can email us today! If you are within one-year pre to post-military separation, you can enroll in our FREE program by setting up a call with one of our transition coaches.