The Transition Assistance Program under the U.S. Department of Defense is available to all service members and their families as they separate from the military and ease into life as a civilian.
Through this mandatory program, service members create a transition plan which highlights their skills and future goals. Moreover, the VA Vocational Rehabilitation program is available to assist veterans with service-connected disabilities as they search for post-service employment. Known as VR&E, this program offers services such as employment or self-employment assistance and one-on-one counseling.
Additionally, UCX unemployment pay is available to qualifying ex-service members who cannot find work after departing from the military. To receive these benefits, service members must separate from the military for honorable reasons. As another option, the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) can assist ex-service members who wish to start their own small business as they enter the civilian workforce. To learn more about these employment services for veterans, review the following sections.
Known as DOD TAP, this mandatory program assists military members as they transition into civilian life, return home to their families, and pursue new employment opportunities as a veteran. As a requirement of the Veterans Opportunity to Work and Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (the VOW Act), all service members must complete a series of steps before they may separate from their branch of the military. As part of the Military Transition Assistance Program, service members must complete a series of online or in-person courses, participate in a workshop, and create an Individual Transition Plan (ITP).
Moreover, the Transition Military Assistance Program helps service members to plan for their next moves in life, whether their next step includes landing a job, enrolling in a college or technical school, or starting their own small business. Using an outcome-based curriculum, the program introduces service members and their spouses to the resources and tools they need to succeed post-service. After completing the program, military members must demonstrate their readiness to transition into civilian life.
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Before graduating from the DOD Transition Assistance Program, service members must meet nine career readiness standards (CRS). For instance, program participants must develop an individual transition plan (ITP), create a post-service budget, register for an eBenefits account under the website of the VA, and they must submit a job application or receive an offer of employment. Through TAP DOD, service members must also complete a mandatory Capstone component, as this step verifies their completion of the program. If service members require additional assistance at the end of the program, the Commander will arrange a “warm handover”, referring them to partners such as the Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation program assists former military members with service-connected disabilities as they search for civilian employment. Under the VA, this veterans rehabilitation assistance program provides qualifying service members with free services such as one-on-one counseling and employment support. For instance, VA counselors can help qualifying veterans and service members with disabilities to pursue training and educational opportunities that may increase their chances of landing a new job. If a disability prevents service members from pursuing traditional employment opportunities, the program can provide veterans with the tools they need to start their own small business.
Moreover, the vocational rehab veterans program assists former military members with service-connected disabilities in other ways as well. As part of VR&E, eligible veterans receive assistance in creating a resume, applying for jobs, and obtaining apprenticeship and on-the-job training opportunities. To receive these benefits, applicants must be a qualifying veteran or active duty servicemember. To obtain these vocational rehabilitation services for veterans, applicants must also meet the following requirements:
If veterans and active duty members qualify for enrollment in the program, they may apply online, by mail or in person.
Veterans may obtain unemployment after military separation if they cannot find suitable work during their transition to civilian life. However, unemployment pay is only available to qualifying service members who meet several basic eligibility requirements. For instance, applicants must have served on active duty in any branch of the military, they must separate from the military for honorable reasons, and they may not be on terminal leave during the time of enrollment. Additionally, they must be willing and able to work.
To obtain veterans unemployment benefits after separating from the military, ex-service members must submit proof of their eligibility when applying for compensation. Evidence of eligibility includes a copy of their discharge documents (DD Form 214), a current resume or military employment history, and a Social Security card. Moreover, most veterans need to apply in person at their state employment office. However, some states may accept applications online or by telephone.
Those who run a veteran-owned small business may qualify for reduced-fee funding under the SBA’s 7(a) Advantage Lending program. As part of this program, ex-service members who apply for an SBAExpress Loan of between $150,001 and $350,000 receive benefits such as a 50 percent loan guarantee, no upfront fees and an expedited loan application and approval process.
To qualify for the VA small business loan, however, at least 51 percent of the small business must be owned by veterans who separated from the military for honorable reasons, hold service-connected disabilities, or are active members of the National Guard or Reserve. Spouses of eligible service members may also qualify. If eligible for the military transition program, active duty service members and their spouses may qualify as well. To apply, all applicants must submit evidence of their eligibility, such as a copy of their discharge documents (DD Form 214).
Moreover, other SBA loans for veterans are also available to qualifying service members who wish to run a small business. For instance, these include the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (MREIDL), the Veteran Small Business Award under the StreetShares Foundation, and programs such as Boots to Business, Bunker in a Box, the Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Program and the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV).
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