Transition and Benefits Knowledge 101

Making the Transition to Veteran #

DoDTap: #, the first effort at “electronic-tizing” transition, was replaced long ago with DoDTAP as Department of Defense’s official website for information to service members and their families on transitioning from military service (beware of counterfeit sites). The site is intended to supplement on site courses, but the same course curriculum is supposedly provided traditionally “on base.”  There is also an option for veterans to use it, in addition to qualifying serving military.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) has been revised to ensure all leaving the service, whether Active or Reserve Component with at least a 180 days of active duty service, attend what is generally a week’s worth of instruction.

The Army Version: #

The site also provides branch specific transition service links, such as the Army’s Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP), which has virtual instruction (a 24/7 Virtual Center).

The VA’s Version: #

The VA maintains a site of its own, called VA TAP, since the passage of the VOW Act, which may prove of benefit to you and your family.

Post 9/11 Transition and Case Management: #

The VA now provides Liaison and Post-9/11 Military2VA (M2VA) Case Management to help bridge the gap between the DoD and VHA to support transitioning service members & Post-9/11 era Veterans.  This is primarily about healthcare systems transition, but a holistic approach is taken.

Guard and Reserve Special Notes: #

See Myths About DoD/VA Benefits for the Guard and Reserves.

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Knowing Your Veterans Benefits #

VBA Website: #

The relatively new VBA Website has become more useful (as has it bigger sister,  VA.Gov) .  Simply go to the upper left corner, select who you are  under “I AM A …” and then select the benefits area of interest below it. Remember it only addresses benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

eBenefits: #

The plethora of websites has become overwhelming, but eBenefits Website is one is worth investigation.  The new eBenefits portal, a joint venture of DoD and VA, may be one of the best one-stop sites for both VA and DoD information currently available (and not these organizations alone).  It is meant to be “… a central location for Veterans, Service Members, and their families to research, find, access, and, in time, manage their benefits and personal information …” and stems from the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors (aka the Dole-Shalala Commission) circa 2007.   It can be used anonymously, but it does include the capability to register and then read or obtain personal documents, such as the DD Form 214.

The VA’s Federal Benefits Handbook: #

The Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Their Survivors Handbook is still one of the of the best primers of benefits that exist.  While prepared by the VA, it introduces the benefits provided by other agencies also.

Knowing About Your Benefits (The Handyman’s Guide): # is useful for about anything. A doublecheck for making sure you did not miss something from the VA or another agency (e.g., SSDI), or for finding benefit when you don’t qualify for VA care (e.g. again, SSDI). Gets down to state level.

Another ‘All-Points’ Information Source for Federal and State Benefits: #

The MyArmyBenefits’ State/Territory Benefits webpage is an excellent onestop compendium of what is out there in benefits from each state.  Though an Army website, it has application to more than just Army servicemembers.

Your Pennsylvania State and County Veterans Benefits: # Do not forget to look at the educational, labor, and housing benefits.

Knowing a Little More: #

The American Veterans and Service Members Survival Guide: How To Cut Through The Bureaucracy And Get What You Need — And Are Entitled To, by the Veterans for America, 2008.  Dated and no longer provided by the organization’s site, it may still have some use.

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Last Updated: 24 June 2022 (link updates)

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