Whether you have served for one enlistment or you have made the military a 20 year career, at some point your time in uniform will come to an end. When it does, it is important that you are prepared for what comes next. Sometimes what comes next seems too overwhelming that you do not even know where to start.
Did you know you should be attending your TGPS course 12 months out from your separation? Did you know that the TGPS instructors look at you funny if you tell them you have less than a year until you’re out of the military and you knew your separation was coming up? And if your plans post-service include going to college, have you started applying? Do you know deadlines for applications? Do you know what the deadline is to fill out a FAFSA form to get additional financial aid? Oh and you can’t forget the VA medical claim process. That could take between 6 months and 2 years to get through if you don’t know where to start. Plus, there is the fact that in just a little while you will no longer have a job.
This is not to scare you! This is just to let you know the importance of getting on the ball.
But where do you even start?
1. START EARLY
Believe it or not, a lot of people have no idea when they should begin transitioning out of the military. Transitioning is not started the day you go on terminal leave. It is started when you decide that you will not be reenlisting or that you will be retiring at the end of your current enlistment. That is the day you need to start making plans.
Talk to your military career counselor and find out what they suggest the first step for you should be.
Each branch of the military has different steps to follow when it comes to separating from service but they all require going to a TGPS course.
You are allowed to attend those courses twice. So if you are 24 months out from your separation date and you want to get a big head start on the process, feel free to enroll in the TGPS course then AND you can take it again closer to separation to clear up any questions that you still might have about getting out and what benefits there are for veterans.