Transitioning to life after military service

Calendar Icon Updated January 25, 2018

If you are nearing the end of your career in the United States military, you may be starting to think about what life will be like when you officially transition to civilian life.  Whether you’re an active duty servicemember or a member of the National Guard or Reserves, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a multi-agency program in place to make that transition easier.

The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is specifically designed for servicemembers and their spouses who are within 12 months of military separation or within 24 months of retirement.  Servicemembers can also participate in TAP up to 180 days after discharge, on a space available basis.

TAP provides military personnel with a broad spectrum of resources that are available both at a servicemembers’ current installation and in their local community.  The VA staffs Benefits Advisors at all military installations as part of the TAP.  These advisors provide personalized guidance to assist military members and their spouses to better prepare them and to fully access all of the benefits they are entitled to receive. 

TAP offers workshops on job placement, career choices, labor and market conditions, and job preparation skills, college and education possibilities, physical and mental health, buying a home, disability assistance, goal planning, financial planning, entrepreneurial education and training, among many other services.

All TAP participants will go through Transition GPS.  GPS stands for Goals, Plans and Success which are a series of modules that help service members pursue post-service goals and develop their own customized transition plan so that they meet career-readiness standards for separation.

Spouses are also encouraged to attend benefits briefings and meet with Benefits Advisors.  This allows them to provide additional support to their family by better understanding and using the benefits that are available to them.

Before a member separates from active duty, they will meet with their TAP manager to verify that they have meet readiness standards and developed a viable individual TAP plan.

Servicemembers who want to participate in TAP, but are not able to make it to a classroom setting can access program materials online through the VA’s Joint Knowledge Online system.

Partners in the VA Transition Assistance Program

VA partners with several other federal agencies to help ensure veterans get all the assistance they need to succeed in life after their military services

Here are the TAP partners. Visit their websites to see how they can serve you during your transition.

Department of Defense

Department of Education

Department of Labor

Department of Homeland Security

Office of Personnel Management- Feds Hire Vets

Small Business Administration – Boots to Business

Air Force

Army – Soldier for Life

Coast Guard

Marine Corps


For more information

For more information on TAP, contact the nearest Veterans’ Employment and Training Service office.  You can find a your nearest office by going here.

Eligibility Team

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