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Easy Guide to the Military Retirement System

Easy Guide to the Military Retirement System

The military retirement system is complicated. With multiple pay systems and complex calculations used within each one of them, figuring out where you stand in terms of retirement can be challenging. Today we’ll break down how pensions are set in simple terms.

First, look at your Join Date. That largely controls which system you will use for retirement.



Before Sep. 8, 1980

Final Pay System

Sep. 9, 1980 – Jul. 31, 1986

High 36 Retirement System 

Aug. 1, 1986 – Dec. 31, 2017

High 36 System or REDUX System

After Jan. 1, 2018

Blended Retirement System (BRS)

When the Blended Retirement System (BRS) went into effect in 2018, active service members with twelve or fewer years of service on December 31, 2017 were given the option to stay in their legacy retirement system or migrate to BRS. These decisions were generally required to be made by military members between 2017-2018. 


This is the oldest, least flexible retirement system for service members. The breakdown for pensions is based upon two figures: 

  • Monthly base pay at the time of retirement
  • Number of years in service

These figures are then multiplied by 2.5% to determine a Veteran’s pension.

As with other retirement systems, the longer you stay in service, the greater your pension. 

  • If a Veteran retired with 20 years of service, then they are eligible for 50% of their base pay at the time of retirement. 
  • If a Veteran retired with 40 plus years of service, then they are eligible for 100% of their base pay at the time of retirement. 

The military provides a free calculator for the Final Pay System.


This system is very similar to the Final Pay System. They differ in how the base monthly pay is set. Instead of using the base pay at the end of your service, calculations are based upon the average of the highest 36 months of pay during your YOS. Pension is then determined multiplying 2.5% by base pay and YOS.

The military provides an online calculator for this system.


Slightly more complicated than Final Pay and High 36, REDUX created clear incentives for lengthier military careers. Payments also differ based upon the age of the recipient.

Prior to age 62:

  • Base % is 2.5% times the number of your years of service minus 1.0% for each year of service less than that of 30 years.
  • Base pay is average of your highest 36 months of basic pay.

At age 62 and after: 

  • Same as the High 36 System. 
  • 2.5% times the number of your years of service times the average of your highest 36 months of your basic pay.

The military provides an online calculator for the REDUX system.

Prior to December 31, 2017, members with 15+ YOS were eligible to choose a one time, Career Status Bonus (CSB) of $30,000. This is no longer an option. 


The Blended Retirement System provides several alternatives for payments, taking into account the duration of service and potential financial needs for Veterans. It provides traditional military benefits, but also ones similar to that of a 401k. Understanding the different forms of payment is key to planning a career in the military and eventual retirement.

The BRS can be broken down into:

  • Defined Benefit
  • Defined Contribution
  • Continuation Pay
  • Lump Sum


This is the simplest of options within the BRS:

  • Applies to individuals with 20+ years of service (YOS)
  • Benefit multiplier of 2%
  • The longer you serve, the higher your benefit
  • Provides full cost of living adjustment (COLA)
  • You may choose traditional monthly payments or a LUMP SUM 


This is the most complex of all the categories with the BRS. It involves contributions to the federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), an investment plan similar to a 401k. Here are the basics:

  • A TSP account will be set up for you generally within 60 days of starting service.
  • The military automatically contributes a matching 1% contribution to your TSP account.
  • If you choose to increase your contributions to your TSP account, the military will match up to 4% on those you make.
  • Contributions can be made via your service’s online pay portal.
  • The TSP is a portable retirement account, meaning that upon ending service, it can be transferred to an IRA or a 401k account from a civilian employer.

For more information about the TSP, visit its website.


Active service members may select to receive  a one-time, mid career bonus payment called Continuation Pay.

  • You are eligible for it when you complete between eight, but no greater than twelve years of service (YOS). 
  • Continuation Pay is 2.5 to 13 times your regular pay.
  • How the rate of pay is set is service specific.

Also, note that:

  • Opting for Continuation Pay incurs an additional service obligation of three years or greater, depending on your Service. 
  • Continuation Pay is taxable income. It may change your tax bracket.


You may opt to receive 25-50% of your total retired pay up front.

There are currently two options:

  • One lump sum
  • Four equal payments distributed over four years

If you choose either of the lump sum payments, your monthly retirement pay will then be reduced by either 75-50% until you reach full Social Security age.

If you choose to receive any of the lump sum options, you must officially file for it at least 90 days prior to the end of your service.  

For Veterans in need of a larger amount of cash, this may be a good option. However, it may also raise your tax bracket, as it is taxable income.

The military provides an online calculator to help determine possible payments under the BRS.

For more information, visit: https://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/


Pension payments are only one component to post-service life.

SAVI is here every step of the way to help you transition from service-member to thriving Veteran retiree. Our retirement track can provide additional resources and coaching for that purpose. 


Healthcare Options For Veteran Retirees

Healthcare Options For Veteran Retirees

With the coronavirus pandemic affecting every country on the planet, maintaining quality healthcare is on most people’s minds. This is especially true for Veterans, who may also face life-long treatment for service-connected disabilities. Luckily, there are many healthcare options for retirees to fit a variety of needs. 

Healthcare for Veterans generally falls under two options: VA Healthcare and TRICARE Prime. We’ll walk through each of them and provide links to additional resources to help you gain access to healthcare as you retire from service. 


Upon retiring, Veterans have the option of continuing to use TRICARE Prime. If you wish to stay with the same team of healthcare providers, this may be a good option for you and your family. Retired service members and their family members will no longer receive zero out of pocket coverage and will be faced with enrollment costs and co-pays. When retired service members and their families become eligible for Medicare based upon age, they are no longer eligible for TRICARE Prime.

TRICARE Prime is divided into two geographical regions. Visit this page to determine whether you should enroll in the regional plans. 


You may also choose to transition to VA Healthcare. Coverage within this program is dependent upon each Veteran’s specific healthcare needs. Baseline services are extended if you require care specific to injuries or disabilities sustained during service.

Visit this page for information about making the switch from TRICARE Prime during active-service to VA Healthcare upon retirement. 





Geographic availability

Available in Prime Service Areas 

1200 locations across the United States

Available for family members


Case dependent for surviving spouses through the VA Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA)



Dependent upon economic assessment

Works with other healthcare plans (Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance)



Mental health services to treat PTSD, MST, depression, and substance use problems

Referral based and case contingent


Covers assisted-living or at home care


Partial coverage

Vision Coverage

Routine eye exams every two years

Routine eye exams 

Additional coverage for glasses, case contingent. 

Dental coverage


(Discontinued after retirement)

Certain cases

Coverage for caregivers


Possibly. Case contingent

Application assistance 


East Region: 


West Region: 1-844-866-9378


All regions:




If you do not enroll in either program and are not the recipient of private health insurance through a job, you or your dependents may still enroll in health care coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act ACA. Visit your state healthcare exchange to enroll in programs.


SAVI is here to help counsel Veterans as you make important choices regarding the future of your healthcare. Visit https://savivets.org/veterans-transition-assistance to learn about coaching services for creating your best post-service life. 

Understanding Retired Pay and VA Compensation and CRPD

Understanding Retired Pay and VA Compensation and CRPD

Retirement options can be complicated and difficult to understand. Today we’ll break down the options so that you can make the best choices for your future. The three main options are:

  • Retired Pay
  • VA Compensation
  • Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) 


Retired Pay is the pension you receive after retiring from the military. There are a variety of retirement plans which have different methods of determining monthly pay. To find out more about them in detail, visit here. No matter which retirement program you are enrolled in, your Retired Pay is considered taxable income. 

The Veterans Administration provides benefits separate from Retired Pay.


VA Compensation is a tax-free payment separate from your pension. The Veterans Administration provides benefits to most Veterans (or their dependents) with service-related disabilities. (Veterans with dishonorable discharges are ineligible for the benefits.) VA benefits for Veterans generally fall under one of two categories:

  • Disability Compensation
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)


Disability compensation is a tax-free benefit paid to retirees who suffered injuries or illness during their military service. They are designed to compensate Veterans for a resulting lack of employment or diminished working time. They are paid to:

  • Veterans with disabilities resulting from a disease or injury sustained or aggravated during active military service.
  • Veterans with post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even if they may develop after service.
  • Certain Veterans disabled from VA health care.

Regional offices are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you can apply online for VA disability compensation here. The standard wait is four months to hear back about a claim. However, there are ways in which you may expedite a claim.


SMC is a benefit that can be paid to Veterans, Veteran spouses, surviving spouses, and Veteran parents. The amount of the SMC is determined by the circumstances of the recipient.

Veterans may receive a higher rate of compensation due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability (e.g. the loss of a limb).

Spouses and surviving spouses may receive compensation based upon the need to aid and attendance by another person. This benefit is often referred to as “aid and attendance.” 


CRDP allows military retirees to receive both retired pay and Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation at the same time. It’s designed to offset VA disability payments. This option was prohibited for many years and was completely phased in during 2014. It is provided by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). 

There are specific requirements needed to be met for eligibility. You may be eligible for CRDP is you are a:

  • Regular retiree with a VA disability rating of 50% or higher.
  • Reserve retiree with 20 qualifying years of service, with a VA disability rating of 50% or higher, who has reached the set retirement age for your specific service.  
  • Retired under the Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) and have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
  • Disability retiree who earned entitlement to retired pay under any provision of law other than solely by disability, and you have a VA disability rating of 50% or higher. You might become eligible for CRDP at the time you would have become eligible for retired pay.

However, you do not need to enroll in CRDP. If you are eligible, you will be automatically enrolled. 

In some cases, such as if the VA determines that your disability makes you unemployable, then you may receive not just offset payment, but full payment of retired pay and VA compensation at the same time.

If you have any questions regarding your CRDP payments, call DFAS at: 800-321-1080


For all applications, regardless of category, you will be asked to provide documentation regarding the disability. The VA requires a clear connection between a condition and a service-related injury. If the application seems overwhelming, you are entitled to FREE representation through an accredited claims agent or a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) to help you prepare and submit your claim for benefits. 

Giving Back

Giving Back

One of the challenges of transitioning to civilian life is renewing your sense of purpose. From bootcamp and onward, you spent years working to uphold the US Constitution and protect your country. Many Veterans experience feelings of loss and aimlessness when returning to relatively mundane civilian life. One way to combat those feelings is by performing another kind of service– this one for your community.

A community may be geographic in nature, but you can also be defined by a group of people with a common interest, purpose, or way of life.

Various Communities:

  • Veteran-centered organizations (like SAVI) 
  • Religious organizations affiliated with your church, temple, or mosque
  • LGBTQIA organizations
  • Educational  organizations
  • Organizations that help the homeless 

Additional Benefits of Volunteering

Just because you’re helping out your community, doesn’t mean you don’t have to receive benefits in return. Volunteering may give you a new purpose during your transition to civilian life, but there are other benefits you may find in it.

Benefit one: Meeting New People

A great way to make new friends is to engage an activity that you enjoy with like-minded people. Volunteering can provide openings for new friendships, strengthen existing relationships, and overall increase your support network. 

Benefit Two: Increase Your Social Skills

If you’re an introvert or someone who tends to be shy, volunteering can be a way for you to hone your social skills. Engaging in conversations with strangers is a lot easier if you have a central topic to talk about. (With the added bonus that you won’t have to resort to talking about the weather.) The more practice you have, the easier it will be for you to talk to strangers in non-volunteering situations.  

Benefit Three: Better Your Mental Health

Volunteerism may have a positive impact upon your mental health by reducing negative feelings. Connecting with other people and giving yourself tasks to focus on that are outside of your normal life are ways to reduce stress, anger, and anxiety, 

Conversely, volunteering may also increase certain positive feelings. Accomplishing goals for a community organization may give you a sense of pride and increase your self-confidence. This may in turn have a ripple effect, leading to an overall positive outlook on life. 

Benefit Four: Career Advancement

Volunteering is a great way to test drive a new career field without actually quitting your job. It can also give you valuable experience to add to your resume and provide opportunities to meet other professionals in the field. Volunteering can also increase your professional skills, depending on the type of training you are provided for your role.  

If you’re not considering a new career, changing careers, volunteering can provide opportunities for you to hone skills that are valuable in your given profession. Interacting with people outside your workplace, you can try out new approaches to teamwork, project management, and problem solving. Once you feel more confident in your skills, you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to your job. 

Benefit Five: R & R

Just because you’re helping out with your community, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the same time! 

If your volunteerism follows your personal interests, then it can provide a needed outlet outside of work and family commitments. If you enjoy being creative, then volunteer with an arts organization. If spending time outside brings you happiness and relaxes you, then consider participating in a local garbage clean-up service or non-profit that plants trees. If nothing calms you like petting a dog or cat, then volunteer with a local animal shelter. 

With many states involved in some form of lockdown during the pandemic, volunteering for an organization geared toward your personal or creative interests might be able to recharge you in much needed ways.

What If I Don’t Know Where to Start?

If you’re unsure of where to volunteer or find the prospect of approaching an organization to be daunting, we suggest using a service that will match you with organizations in need of individuals like you. The skills you acquired while serving in the military may seem niche in nature, but you’ll be surprised to discover the wide variety of skill sets and tasks needed by non-profits. This is particularly true now, during the coronavirus pandemic, when so many people are in need to aid. 

Services that connect volunteers with organizations also have numerous work from home opportunities. So if you’re disabled or want to stay home due to concerns about contracting coronavirus, there are still many ways that you may volunteer from the comfort of your living room.

SAVI recommends the following services for connecting with volunteering opportunities:

Every little bit may help your community, but also give you a reason to get out of bed or get out the door.

I Want to Help, But…

There is a possibility that you already care about a community, but there are currently few to no organizations assisting it. That’s where your leadership skills from the military kick in. SAVI’s founder, Adrianne Phillips, started SAVI because she saw a need for coaching to help service members transitioning from the military. 

You, too, can start a new initiative. It doesn’t have to be a herculean task that you take on in entirety. It can start simply with coffee between a few like minded people.

Are You Engaging Your Veteran Constituents In Ways That Inspire Them to Give?

Are You Engaging Your Veteran Constituents In Ways That Inspire Them to Give?

Are You Engaging Your Veteran Constituents In Ways That Inspire Them to GiveOne of the best ways we can feel connected to our local communities and to the world around us is through engagement. This can take many different forms, including doing some volunteer work and making donations or other charitable contributions to causes which matter to us. Spending the time, energy, and funds to do these things truly helps us stay linked to others, but often we get tied up in our own daily lives and lose sight of that fact.

This often happens with military Veterans. Many Veterans constituents who’ve transitioned out of the military face unique social challenges. Studies have shown they are at risk of experiencing isolation and disconnection from the “civilian world” at times. This can lead to undesirable effects on their personal morale and welfare, even leading in some cases to depression. So it’s especially important for Veterans to take part in giving efforts, but how can you engage and inspire them to do so?

Doing great things such as giving back to others has a positive effect on our well being, so one way to inspire others to give is to demonstrate that effect! If there is a charity or cause you’d like to raise participation in, advertise it through flyers, emails, and social media. Explain the problem and the impact that donations have on funding solutions to address it. Show infographics or, when possible, videos featuring the people or places which derive benefit from the help given.

Veterans are highly trained in following procedures and processes. They feel most at ease when they have an understanding of how things work and what the end goal is. So if you’re seeking their involvement in a charitable project, it’s important to take the time to explain clearly what’s going on.

The fastest way to make a Veteran lose interest is to leave details hazy. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recognized this fact when they wrote their Veterans and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Employers. In it, they specify how “breaking complex assignments into smaller, separate tasks” can assist with comprehension in many cases.

So—do that. Walk them through the mission phases of giving:

who it’s for;
what it’s about;
where the impact will be;
when things will change or improve (or whatever is the objective);
why to do it;
how exactly to do it.

Let’s take a look at an example. Say you want your Veteran constituents to consider giving to a local branch of Habitat for Humanity. You might want to start by talking about Veterans Build, which is one of their initiatives tailored specifically towards helping Veterans, service members, their families. That’s the “who.”

Next, explain “what” Habitat for Humanity does for such persons, such as building “safe, decent, affordable housing” as well as repairing existing homes.

If there’s a specific home or area being focused on, tell “where” that’ll be so they know the impact location. Then give a timeline of “when” things will occur, from start to projected finish.

After that, explain “why” the Veteran’s help is needed and then close with a Call to Action telling them “how” they can get involved right away!

Why Military Transition Means More Than Employment & How You Can Thrive Post-Separation

Why Military Transition Means More Than Employment & How You Can Thrive Post-Separation

Thrive Post-SeparationLife holds many major decision points for each of us Veterans. For military members, one of the biggest was the choice to join the service in the first place. Just as significant is the choice to get out. It’s one of the toughest decisions you’ll ever have to make! But once you do, you need to be ready because transitioning back into the civilian world involves much more than just finding a job.

Here’s a few tips to help Veterans thrive during your military transition and long after your separation from service!

During the Transition

House Hunting – Hopefully you know well in advance where you plan to settle down after getting out of the military. If not, it’s something you’ll need to pin down as soon as possible.

Each branch of service offers permissive House Hunting Trip days to help transitioning service members scout around. Don’t let these go to waste. Use them to travel to different towns, perhaps different states, until you pick your dream spot!

Home Buying – Related to house hunting is the decision to buy or not. And depending on many factors, it may or may not be the right time to buy. For example, you’ve decided to move out of state but you haven’t been picked up for a new job there yet. Getting tied to a home mortgage could be a mistake, unless you can ensure you’ll have the income stream to make the payments.

You don’t want to start your post-separation civilian life struggling with an economic hardship. Buying a new home usually comes with many unexpected costs. But if the time is right, we recommend looking into the VA Home Loan program! And don’t forget to check out our free webinar The Art of Military House Hacking.

Medical Disability Claims – Your branch of service should host a mandatory Transition Assistance Program (TAP) or other similar course designed to help you plan ahead. Often, a representative from Veterans Affairs will offer a briefing during this course to help you understand how the VA disability claims process works. Pay close attention and then follow-up with action.

If you don’t get this briefing, contact your personnel section to help put you in touch with a local rep, or contact us to learn about your options. As Veterans, we also tend to suffer from chronic disabilities related to our service. Unfortunately, we also often fail to realize that we should be receiving compensation and benefits from the VA. Test your knowledge about VA benefits with SAVI’s short VA Benefits 101 Survey.


Stay Fit – Life in the military keeps us in good physical condition, if for no other reason than the fact that we have to pass an annual fitness test. Once that accountability is gone post-separation, don’t just throw away your running shoes and start to skip the gym.

Staying physically active is critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It also helps us remain positive through stressful situations (like starting a new civilian life!). There are plenty of fun ways to maintain your fitness level, even if it means switching up your old routine. Maybe get a new workout buddy to motivate you? Whatever works to keep yourself moving and healthy is worth it!

Stay Engaged – Once you’re a Veteran, you’re a Veteran for life! Keeping up friendships can be a challenge when you’re on the go. The great thing about Veteran life is that it’s easy to snap into a new community of prior service members. The trick is actually doing it.

If you find yourself feeling a little disconnected from the civilian world, you may just miss the camaraderie from your time in the military. That’s okay – that camaraderie is still out there! You just have to be proactive and find the Vets in your area. You might start your search with the VA’s Directory of Veterans Service Organizations.

Final Thoughts

Post-separation, you’re in charge of your own transition and your life after the military. Apply the diligence and perseverance you learned in the service to educate yourself and plan for the future. Never settle for less! Because when you take control and steer your own ship, you’ll get where you want to go versus letting the currents whisk you around randomly.

For more great tips, visit our website to learn how SAVI provides the emotional, physical, and mental support you need in your military transition to civilian life. We also offer four comprehensive planning tracks—Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Retirement. And best of all? Enrollment in each of them is absolutely free!


Academic advising, walkthroughs of your VA education benefits … and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans in SAVI’s programs gain access to our carefully developed tools for post-military students, including the SAVI Student Transition Incubator℠, Student Track Transition Program℠, and Student Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our personalized career path determination assistance.

These SAVI instructors and mentors, along with the entire SAVI team, understand that each of our services is vital to a whole life approach to the military-to-civilian transition. We take your unique goals, circumstances, and vision into account as we craft personalized assistance throughout your twelve-month journey with SAVI.  


Civilian workplace etiquette, the hiring process, job searches, performance evaluations...and everything in between.

SAVI’s Employment Track delivers start-to-finish support to help Veterans navigate a new career. From skills assessments to professional networking strategies, SAVI offers custom-built tools — including the SAVI Employment Transition Incubator℠, Job Networking & Search Service℠, and Employment Benefit Assessment Service℠ — as well as job retention and mentoring services to help you every step of the way.

These SAVI mentors have been in your shoes and have experience in the unique challenges Veterans may face as they seek employment after service. They are with you every step of the way throughout your twelve-month program, and provide ongoing professional guidance and mentorship throughout your career.


Value propositions, initial funding, branding, launch strategies… and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive our comprehensive tools for personal business success: the SAVI Entrepreneur Transition Incubator℠ and Entrepreneur Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our opportunity consulting and our funding exploration support.

Through your twelve month journey with SAVI, your mentors will guide you through the Entrepreneurship track while providing unique insight and guidance based on their own experience. Whether you are just starting a new venture, or expanding a passion project you created while in the military, our Entrepreneurship team is here for you every step of the way.


VA compensation and benefits, healthcare, financial planning… and everything in between.

All transitioning Veterans on this track receive comprehensive tools for a successful retirement: the SAVI Retirement Transition Incubator℠ and Retirement Benefit Assessment Service℠, as well as our one-on-one ongoing assistance and assessment services. We’re here to ensure you don’t have to muddle through the financial, personal, and emotional aspects of retirement on your own.

Our Retirement mentors know what it’s like to transition from a steady career to retirement, and want to use their personal and professional experience to help you have a smooth transition. Whether you have questions on finances or healthcare, or the more personal aspects of upkeeping emotional health, we are here for you every step of the way.

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Getting Connected with Your Local Veterans Organizations

If you’re a military Veteran, then you’re a part of a very niche group. Active military personnel make up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population today, so it’s not surprising that so many Veterans feel isolated as they start their transitions into civilian life.

Yet this issue isn’t a new one. Since 1899, organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and The American Legion were created to offer Veterans a place for camaraderie, to feel empowered, and to help boost troop morale for those still in the service.

Fast-forward to today and Veterans groups have emerged in nearly every community in the country and boast a wide variety of scope and missions — such as the career program by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the suicide prevention work by The Military Veteran Project. The benefits to getting involved with one of these local groups include much more than just gaining buddies to swap war-stories with. Veterans can also get assistance with job placements, career counseling, emotional support, and finding resources for disabled Vets.

Not sure where to begin to find your local Veteran connections? Here’s a list of a few national Veteran groups with various local chapters across the nation.

The American Legion ​
Disabled American Veterans
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Korean War Veterans Association
The Military Veteran Project
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Student Veterans of America
• Vietnam Veterans of America

For a more comprehensive list of military charities, organizations, and government contacts, click here.

Get Squared Away: A Comprehensive Checklist for Transitioning Service-Members

18 Months Before Your Discharge
• Review GI Bill and tuition assistance benefits
• Review GI Bill transferability requirements (Transferring your benefits may require re-enlisting or incurring an additional service obligation.)
• Use the DoD Online Academic Skills course to prepare for the SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT Exams
• Take a skills/interest assessment through your local ESO or career counselor
• Consider taking CLEP exams to complete your general education requirements
• Reach out to your SAVI mentor for tips from someone who has lived through the transition experience -Start developing your personal and professional networks
• Review your post-separation budget, and start planning for your financial transition
• Register on LinkedIn to get ready for networking opportunities
• Research the job potential, affordability, and community where you plan to live

12 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start developing an Individual Transition Plan
• Review your Pre-Separation Checklist (DD 2648)
• Get your Verification of Military Experience and Training (VMET) document (DD 2586)
• Research the cost of living where you plan to live as a civilian-Learn about your VA home benefits -Make an appointment with your local Transition Counselor
• Attend a Transition GPS five-day workshop -Check job boards, and start exploring the right career options for you
• Start exploring the right degree and college for you -Request “house hunting orders”
• Enroll in a SAVI Transition Incubator℠
• Use a skills translator to begin developing a civilian resume

9 Months Before Your Discharge
• Continue building your networks through LinkedIn and elsewhere
• Consider an employment assistance program
• Start writing your resume
• Search for jobs in your field and area to see what’s out there
• Arrange for HHG transportation counseling -Research your healthcare options, including Employer-Provided Civilian Care, CHCBP, Transitional Health Care Benefits, and CHAMP
• Make a budget, and prepare to pay for health insurance coverage

6 Months Before Your Discharge
• Start applying for jobs -Start building a wardrobe for the civilian workplace
• Continue to expand your career networks
• Attend career fairs
• Review and update your will and financial documents
• Consider whether to take terminal leave or sell back your balance
• Schedule appointments for household goods (HHG) shipment and storage
• Schedule final medical checkups for all family members
• Visit the Legal Assistance Office for help updating your documents
• Determine if you’re eligible for separation pay or early retirement
•Begin your PCS and housing checkout procedures -Begin looking for VSOs to join

3 Months Before Your Discharge
• Consider job placement services
• Use the VA Pre-discharge program to determine your eligibility for VA Disability Compensation
• Review your finances to ensure your budget will work in civilian life
• Compare SGLI to VGLI and other life insurance options
• Get to know more about where you plan to live
• Contact your Military Treatment Facility, and get copies of all of your health records
• Complete a physical with your MTF or a VA Medical Center
• Take advantage of the two-day TAP GPS program for education and entrepreneurship support

1 Month Before Your Discharge
• Finalize your relocation appointments, and review your benefits
• Arrange for inspection of any government housing
• Choose your transitional healthcare plan

Enrolling in VA Healthcare

1. Make it easier on yourself: Start with support from VA’s Concierge of Care. Enrolling in VA care isn’t as tough a process as it used to be. In October 2017, VA launched its Concierge for Care (C4C) program to enhance its support for transitioning Veterans in getting VA healthcare. The C4C initiative educates and empowers Veterans while simplifying the healthcare application and enrollment process. This means that, shortly after you separate, you’ll get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions, process your VA healthcare enrollment application, and schedule your first VA medical appointment.

2. Get notified of your application status. After your application is submitted, you’ll receive another phone call from VA to let you know whether your enrollment is approved. VA will also send you a Veterans Health Benefits Handbook with information on your healthcare benefits, Enrollment Priority Group, copay status, and other information you’ll need as a new enrollee. Handbooks also include information for appealing a decision if your initial application is rejected.

3. Get your Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC). Only Veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system can receive a VHIC. Once your application is verified, contact the enrollment coordinator at your local VA medical center to arrange to get your picture taken for the your card either in advance or at your next VA healthcare appointment.

4. Keep your information current after you enroll. Enrolled Veterans can update your personal information (such as income, address, and insurance information) by completing VA Form 10-10EZR online, by visiting a local VA facility, or by calling 1-877-222-VETS between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

Project You: Top Self-Development Courses to Take

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Finding Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
If you’ve been searching for your true purpose in life, Eckhart Tolle has some straightforward advice: Stop struggling. This is because the primary purpose of every human being is simply to be: Be fully engaged in this moment, and be aligned with the natural flow of reality itself.

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential
This course is designed to show you how to look at what you’re learning, and your place in what’s unfolding in the society around you, so that you can be what you want to be. You’ll see that by using certain mental tools and insights, you can learn and do more than you might have ever dreamed.

Achieving Personal and Professional Success
You'll learn how to find your passion and core values, how to apply these values to your own life, how to work well with others, how to communicate effectively, how to set goals, how to use influence to achieve these goals, and even how to say you are sorry. Through exercises, self-diagnostic surveys, quizzes, and many case studies, you'll discover how to define not only what you want, but also the best way to get it. These courses provide key insights into successful personal practices, whether you are in the office or in your home. We all bring ourselves to work every day, and these courses will help you be your best self wherever you are.

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Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. During this time, she realized that veterans often make the transition with little or no structural support or guidance. This prompted her to spend over 11 years working in the veterans benefit sector, including working in development, adjudication, training, presenting, quality assurance, and division management. In 2011, she started a corporation focusing on event travel management and corporate business travel. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

Juan Rivas

Juan is a solutions-oriented Organizational Development and Learning Professional with experience in global Fortune 100 companies in various industries. He has solid expertise in the development of leadership and staff as well as the implementation of talent management and performance management initiatives. His experience across a variety of industries allows him to see problems from different perspectives and he is able to offer creative solutions to seemingly tough issues. He challenges leaders to think more strategically by increasing their self-awareness and taking advantage of their internal resources. Mr. Rivas earned his Master’s Degree from American Military University and is a Veteran of the US Navy having served 23+ years. He has hands-on experience with the aerospace, manufacturing and engineering industries.

Juan is a Certified Professional Coach and holds multiple certifications including Master Training Specialist, Professional in Human Resources, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DiSC, Emotional Intelligence (Eqi), Korn Ferry Leadership Architect and 360 Feedback, Risk Type Indicator, Systemic Team Coaching and Brides Change Management.

Recently, Juan served as an HR Director for the Walt Disney Company and prior to the acquisition of 20th Century Fox his contributions to the talent strategy, leadership development, employee engagement and change management were key during the sale and transition.

Juan also proudly serves as a military transition consultant for various for profit and non-profit organizations that are looking to hire Veterans or specialize in helping Veterans adjust to the civilian world.

Adrianne Phillips

Adrianne Phillips is a service-disabled Veteran, who founded Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration (SAVI) as a reaction to the immense need for support of Veterans transitioning to civilian life. After serving in the U.S. Air Force as a combat service-member and Security Forces, Adrianne transitioned out of the military and into civilian life. During this time, she realized that Veterans often make the transition with little or no structural support or guidance. This prompted her to spend over 11 years working in the Veterans benefit sector, including working in development, adjudication, training, presenting, quality assurance, and division management. In 2011, she started a corporation focusing on event travel management and corporate business travel. In 2017, she harnessed her experience as a Veteran, benefits manager, and entrepreneur to found the Strategic Alliance for Veteran Integration with the goal of supporting every service-member’s transition.

Aloysius Teo

Aloysius is an advisor, project manager, mentor & consultant in business & technology strategy. He works with early-stage startups to develop their Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and guiding ideas and concepts into commercially viable solutions. His partnerships with established businesses result in the creation of new verticals and opportunities.

Creative strategist/technologist across multiple industries - healthcare, entertainment & music, MMR, travel, print production, blockchain, crypto-currencies, Big Data & AI. 20yrs technology industry experience and certified AWS APN & mobile technology.

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Michael Foster

Former Naval Officer, Real Estate Investor, and Entrepreneur, Mike Foster serves as the Education Chief and Podcast Host for Active Duty Passive Income.

He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2013 where he met his beautiful wife, began his naval and real estate investing career, building the foundation for his success.

While active duty, Mike was fortunate enough to have had several remarkable mentors that taught him the importance of credit-building, creative financing techniques and wealth building strategies. Since then, he has acquired multiple real estate investments, he owns several businesses, and mentors thousands of Veterans around the world.

Mike runs “The Military Real Estate Investing Show” powered by Active Duty Passive Income, where he showcases military members and Veterans that have taken action in the real estate world and want to share their journey with his audience. He occasionally brings on special guests to add motivation and fire to his program. Be sure to subscribe, and listen to legends like Robert Kiyosaki, Jason Hartman, and much much more!

Subscribe on: iTunes | Stitcher | Google | Spotify
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Sample Episodes:
Interview with Robert Kiyosaki
Interview with Jason Hartman
Interview with Nathan Brooks

Guest Appearances:
Investing In Real Estate With Clayton Morris
Military Investor Network
Capital Hacking

April Durrant

April works as an organization development consultant at her company Integrated Perspectives Consulting helping businesses create visionary solutions and strategies designed for growth, adaptation and transformation. Working with companies as they navigate change and discover their organization in a new way. This is made possible by understanding the many different perspectives within the company and by taking existing strengths and resources and applying them in new ways.

April is a 3rd generation veteran, having served on active duty in the medical field, on special assignment with the Defense Intelligence Agency and deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom. After transitioning out of the military into the civilian sector, she worked in credit management, airline safety and auditing. During her work as auditor and liaison with Delta Air Lines, she discovered her passion for creating solutions and problem solving, by incorporating multiple perspectives and working with the status quo to design better solutions.

This led to the pursuit of her master's degree in leadership and organizational development at Saint Louis University and to the founding of her consulting company. She has since worked with community leaders in Oceanside, CA to develop a shared vision and branding for the community mural initiative, now known as "Art that Excites".

April is passionate about helping organizations and individuals navigate change and discover solutions that work.