The decision to leave the military, whether at the end of an enlistment or completion of a career, is often accompanied by feelings of uncertainty and doubt. However, there are a wealth of resources available to make that transition a little bit easier. Planning your return to civilian life can go a long way to making the transition less difficult. Here are some suggestions to help along the way.
Some things that you will want to do:
- Set aside some money for the transition
- Make and follow a budget
- Connect with your Transition Assistance Program office
- Research Veterans facilities that are available where you plan to settle
- Learn about the benefits for which you are eligible
- Look into the Military Spouse Transition Program
Another thing for a new veteran to consider is what are his or her post-military goals – full retirement, community/public service, or some other job? Having a traditional civilian job is just one way to re-enter civilian life.
There are a number of online resources to help connect veterans with employers who are looking to hire veterans. Some of these databases include U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, Career One Stop’s Veteran and Military Transition Center, and Veterans.gov.
In the state of West Virginia, there are many associations that provide assistance for transition to civilian life. Workforce West Virginia is a state government agency that can provide resources such as job opportunities, unemployment compensation, training, tax incentives and labor market information. In addition, the West Virginia Division of Personnel includes a Job Seeking page for those who want to discover and apply for a West Virginia civil service position.
Military One Source provides resources to aid in applying to jobs, generating resumes, and other job-related questions.
Continuing one’s education is also a possibility after leaving the service. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs passed the GI Bill in 1944 to help veterans pay for their education. Offered with this assistance is education counseling, various program specific benefits, and many more available resources to continue a successful transition to civilian life.
For those with questions about veterans’ benefits, the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance has fifteen Benefits Offices located throughout the state. Staff at these offices can help veterans identify and connect with the benefits available to them.
And Finally, for those who wish to remain connected to their military background, the National Guard or Reserves is a great way to do just that. Benefits include part-time pay, training for new skills, access to a health plan, and possible additional educational assistance.