Understanding the Language of Transition

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Some of the terminology used during your transition process may seem confusing. For example, do you know the difference between separating and being discharged? The following terms and definitions will help you understand the process and what to expect.

Discharge: Complete severance from all military status gained by the enlistment or induction concerned.

Separation: A general term that includes discharge, release from active duty, release from custody and control of the Armed Forces, transfer to the Individual Ready Reserve, and similar changes in active or reserve status.

Transition Benefits: Benefits provided to assist Service members during the transition process. Eligibility for certain types of transition benefits will depend on the nature and characterization your discharge.

Discharge: Complete separation from all military status gained by the enlistment or induction concerned.

Separation: A general term that includes discharge, release from active duty, release from custody and control of the Armed Forces, transfer to the Individual Ready Reserve, and similar changes in active or reserve status.

Transition Benefits: Benefits provided to assist service members during the transition process. Eligibility for certain types of transition benefits will depend on the nature and characterization discharge.

Transition Services: For Active Component service members this includes mandatory Pre-separation Counseling, voluntary attendance to a Department of Labor Employment Workshop, voluntary attendance to a VA Benefits Briefings and a VA Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP) Briefing. Active Component service members are eligible begin the transition process one year prior to separation and retirees can begin the transition process two years prior to retirement. Eligibility for services is not affected by length or character or service.

Disabled Transition Assistance Program (DTAP): DTAP provides separating and retiring service members including eligible National Guard and Reserve service members being released from active duty with specialized information about the Department of Veterans (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program, eligibility, and how to apply for benefits. Active duty service members who believe they have a service-connected disability are strongly encouraged to request admission to the DTAP class through their Transition/ACAP/Command Career Counselor (or nit commander. For National Guard and Reserves, DTAP is available on a DTAP CD and on-line at www.vetsuccess.gov. Eligible servicemembers (Active, National Guard and Reserves) who are pending a medical separation or medical retirement and who have an employment handicap may begin to receive VR&E services prior to separation or release from active duty if they have a need for rehabilitative services and have applied for and received a VA Memorandum Rating of at least 20 percent.

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