Tel: (844) 400-SAVI (7284) info@savivets.org
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. 

Contact Us

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.


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

    Create a Perfect Morning Routine
    You will learn how to create a morning routine filled with purpose, presence, and peace. You’ll be more energized, productive, and content — all before the start of your workday. Start your morning by doing things that feed your soul and make you happy.

    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.

    Refer a Veteran

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    5 Skills You Didn't Realize The Military Gave You

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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.

    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.


    Interested in enrolling for our SAVI Transition Incubator?

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    Armen Mansouri

    Armen Mansouri is a Veteran of The United States Air Force. He served for 6 years with two tours in the middle east. A vehicle maintainer for the USAF, he was directly responsible for maintaining mission-critical vehicles. After transitioning out of the service, he used his military career and training and applied it to the civilian sector. With his knowledge and expertise; Armen has climbed the corporate ladder to become the Parts and Service Director for a prestigious Porsche Dealership in southern California.