VETERANS FIRST FOUNDATION

Our Guide In Transitioning From Military To Civilian

When we EAS’d we were not given a list of what you need to do once you set up roots as a civilian. This is our advice that we wished we’d had known when we made the transition:

1. Take your DD-214 to your local VSO, typically located at your County’s Courthouse.

2. Contact your closest VA Hospital and set an apt. with admissions. Complete your financial questionnaire to see what percentage health care you’re eligible for.

3. Get your VA Medical I.D. at the VA Hospital 

4. Talk to a VA Representative at your Courthouse or College you plan on attending to get your G.I. Bill or Voc Regab started. Even if you don’t plan on attending anytime soon. Hiccups and fouled up paperwork happen.

5. Get into school or look for employment ASAP! Don’t forget your discipline and work ethic now! Complacency will get you into trouble.

6. Get into veteran counseling, peer groups or social groups. It will help you the rest of your civilian life. Brotherhood and similar experiences create life long bonds that are important in  a hundred different ways!

7. Don’t rush into romantic relationships, you will be lonely. But unless it’s a relationship you’re already in; it’s just going to make your transition more complex. It is important to concentrate on yourself and the things you need to do to re-enter Society. Remember in a way you’re now playing “ catch-up” in a sense. Don’t let anyone interfere with your well-being and mental-health.

8. Stay away from situations and old acquaintances that will lead you down the wrong path. I made this mistake. If someone is asking you to do something immoral or illegal then they don’t respect you and your Service. Furthermore; you’re disrespecting yourself as well as the uniform.

9. Open a checking/savings account. Start working on your finances and credit. Most Vets have terrible credit. Work on saving money and always pay your bills on time.

10. An idle mind is the Devil’s playground. Stay busy with work/school, hobbies, friends and family. Stay away from alcohol and narcotics. Stay out of the bars. Drinking is expensive, DWI’s are expensive, children out of wedlock are expensive, tickets for disorderly and assault are expensive.

11. You don’t need extravagant things. You don’t need a. Car, clothes or apartment that you cannot afford. Nice things cost money, money you probably don’t have! Stay on budget and only buy what you can afford. Cars need repairs, bills fluctuate, expenses always come at the worst possible time.

12. There are grants and help for Veterans, you just need to find it. Keep connected. 

13. Don’t alienate family/friends, they’re here for you and love you. Not all of them will get what you went through. That doesn’t mean they don’t understand. They are there to support you. If they aren’t or can’t go to a Veteran group at the VA or reach out to another Veteran or us!