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Are You Ready to Separate?



Article  
Are You Ready to Separate?
[10/23/2004]

Source: By Perry Lockhart for LIFELines

To go or not to go is not the question — you're going. Whether it's after a successful career and you're eligible for retirement, or on completion of your initial enlistment, separating from the military is now a reality. And you need to be prepared.

Transitioning from the regimented security of a military life to the uncertainties of the civilian world can be one of the most stressful episodes in your life. All of a sudden, you must choose where to live, what to do, how to look. You probably need to find a job and a place to live (if you're living on base or onboard ship). You've got to think about medical coverage, dental plans, life insurance. The list seems endless. And you might not know where to begin.

To help you get started, there is a wealth of information available on base and on the Internet. Visit the Employment and Transition Assistance sections of LIFELines to find lots of articles and information on making your transition smooth sailing. In addition, here are some tips to get you started in your new adventure.

Making the Decision

When you make the decision to separate from the military, your first stop should be your command's transition assistance office. There, you will be given a pre-separation counseling checklist to fill out, which is required for all separating personnel. This checklist will help you focus on your individual requirements during your transition.

Prior to Separation

· Make copies of your personnel, medical, and dental records.

· Begin your job search through networking, the Internet, your Transition Office and through the newspaper classifieds.

· Take a separation physical and dental examination.

· Take care of any medical problems now.

· Explore joining the Reserves. Affiliating with the reserves will allow you to continue your military career and may open up numerous opportunities.

· Contact the Veterans Administration to determine your eligibility for veterans programs. Fill out your VA Disability Application (VA Form 21-256) so you have a record of your service-connected disabilities.

· Save money for extra costs related to your separation.

· With your family, determine where you want to live. Spend some time researching the area through Internet sites such as Relocation Central, MonsterMoving.com, and Yahoo! Real Estate.


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