Transitioning Out of the Military
May 23, 2022
Serving in the military is an honorable accomplishment in its own right; however, when you are ready to transition to civilian life and a potential new career, it can be hard to know where to start.
AAFMAA’s Member Benefits offer you a wide range of services that help you through every stage of life. We bring personal attention and a full commitment to helping you and your family for a lifetime.
Like many elements of military life, transitioning is much easier when you have prepared for it. So whether you’ve served two tours or have spent two decades in the military, here are some tips for how to transition out of the military as smoothly as possible:
Set a Post-Retirement Budget
The first thing that you will have to do before transitioning out of the military is to determine your eligibility for benefits and any post-separation military pay, such as retired pay or disability. Keeping these two things in mind, you should then add up your expenses and calculate how much money you will need to cover your monthly costs.
You should also take into account that any military pay you receive after your transition will adjust annually based on your cost of living. This process protects your income from inflation.
You may find sticking to a budget difficult, especially during a military transition when you’re experiencing a big life change. Seeking the help of a military financial planner can help simplify the process and keep you and your family on track for financial success throughout this adjustment period.
Understand Your Separation Requirements
Before you transition out of the military, you will need to meet a lot of requirements. To navigate your separation, you will need to enroll in a Transition Assistance Program workshop. These programs are dedicated to providing members of the military community with the necessary resources to move from the Armed Forces to the civilian job market.
In addition to enrolling in a TAP workshop, you should also schedule a final medical exam and make copies of all personnel and medical records before you officially leave the military. Check out this comprehensive list of steps to take before leaving the military.
What Happens to Your Current Service Benefits When You Leave?
The military provides more to its personnel than just badges and medals. Active servicemembers receive various other benefits, but some of these go away when you transition out of the military. Of course, what happens to your benefits when you leave greatly depends on the benefits themselves.
If you do not have a civilian job with health benefits lined up before your separation, it is important to contact TRICARE about your options for continued healthcare coverage prior to leaving the service.
Upon your transition, you will receive government moving assistance on last time. The amount of benefit you receive is based on your service and designation at your separation. You have a full calendar year to redeem this benefit before it expires.
You have 15 years to use your Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits once you’ve separated from the service. If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill, you have 10 years to use your benefits.
You will lose your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) 120 days after separation.
Research Insurance and Loan Programs
As you transition out of the military, many of the benefits that you had access to while in the service will start to expire. To prevent any gaps in coverage, it’s important to research insurance plans to replace your Service Members Life Insurance (SGLI) plan. AAFMAA offers a variety of life insurance policies specifically designed to meet the needs of the military community through all stages of life.
Getting a Mortgage
As a former member of the military, securing a mortgage doesn’t have to be a challenge. Thanks to the VA Home Loan benefit, you can buy your own home without making a big down payment or having a spotless credit history.
Allow AAFMAA to Help with Your Transition
You are important to us—and we take our responsibility to you seriously. AAFMAA is dedicated to making your military transition as smooth as possible with always-affordable financial solutions that serve you and your family for generations. From life insurance policies to mortgages to wealth management services, we make it easy for you to move confidently into the next phase. Call 888-862-5932 or contact us online today to get started.