Sooner or later, there comes a time when you have to leave the military and return to civilian life. Perhaps you decided you did your duty and want to find a new calling. Maybe your priorities shifted, and you can no longer reconcile active service with your new concerns.
No matter your reasons, it’s understandable that you might feel a bit stressed about transitioning. After all, military service is vastly different from the ordinary day-to-day life most civilians take for granted.
However, you are not left alone here. While transitioning is not a simple process for most, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is there to help you shift back into civilian life. As a former servicemember, you are entitled to numerous benefits and services provided by the VA.
Read on and learn what kind of support you can expect from the government:
Education and Training
One of the most important aspects of successfully reintegrating back into society is finding your purpose. What do you want to do with your life now that you are no longer part of the armed forces? Perhaps you want to become a respected lawyer? Maybe you think that America needs more veterans in Congress and have decided to run for office?
Whatever your plans may be, you might need the education to achieve them. Fortunately, the government helps veterans in that department.
Veterans can choose between a plethora of education and training programs to help them find their footing and get on the right track. One of the best-known programs you might want to benefit from is the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
If you served for more than 90 days after September 10th, 2001, you are entitled to education and training benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33).
If you qualify, you can use your benefits for up to 36 or 48 months to pay for any in-state public tuition, housing, or schooling supplies (a maximum of $1000 per school year). If you live in a rural area, you might even receive a one-time payment to help you move away and get schooling.
It’s worth noting that it is possible to transfer unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to your spouse or child.
Of course, transitioning is not only about finding a new job. You also need to think about your financial stability and future. After all, you might have kids or a spouse depending on you financially, and that is something you need to consider before making any decisions.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to take care of your life insurance. You never know when something might happen, and you need to be prepared.
It’s likely that you were enrolled in Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (a low-cost life insurance option for soldiers) while you were on active duty. If that’s the case, you probably want to keep your policy even after you retire or are released from active duty.
You’d be pleased to know that you can convert your SGLI into VGLI, also known as Veterans’ Group Life Insurance. However, remember that you need to change your life insurance as soon as possible – converting SGLI into VGLI is only possible within 1 year and 120 days of leaving active service.
As a veteran, you are entitled to a number of medical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA offers a variety of health care options, including hospital and dental care, as well as pharmacy services.
Moreover, if you are suffering from alcohol abuse, VA can provide you with medical services to help you deal with your addiction. The department also offers a plethora of mental health services for veterans.
Counseling services for combat veterans can make it easier to reintegrate back into civilian life and help you treat service-related conditions, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
VA disability compensation is a benefit paid to veterans who were injured or became ill while on active duty. It can also be paid to veterans whose preexisting condition was aggravated by their military service.
VA disability compensation is also available for those who suffered as prisoners of war (POWs) and, as a result, were 10% disabled or more. You might also receive this compensation if you were exposed to dangerous materials during your time in the military.
If you meet the requirements, you are eligible for tax-free payment on a regular, monthly basis. However, VA disability compensation doesn’t include veterans who received bad conduct or dishonorable discharge.
Veterans pension is a tax-free benefit paid each month to veterans who meet specific requirements, such as the length of service or wealth limits imposed by Congress.
There are additional conditions you might have to meet. For instance, if you are applying for a veterans pension, you eighter have to be 65 or older, be a patient of a nursing home or have a permanent disability.
Veterans are eligible for many benefits and services provided by the government. The Department of Veterans Affairs is there to help you reintegrate back into civilian life and find your purpose again.
You can use VA benefits to pay for higher education, get medical care, or buy life insurance. You can also receive VA disability compensation and veterans pension if you meet the requirements.
Of course, these are only some of the advantages you can enjoy as a veteran. To learn more about your rights, you might want to visit the website of the Department of Veterans Affairs and explore the benefits and services you are entitled to!