SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- A Soldier's transition from military service to civilian life can be a stressful time for the Soldier and even more so for the family, as the transition is truly a family affair.

The Army Career and Alumni Program helps Soldiers and their families successfully navigate the seemingly overwhelming challenges with information and assistance throughout the transition process.

Soldiers who are transitioning should discuss the following considerations with their families to ensure a smooth and comfortable evolution:

Aca,!Ac Research employment opportunities and unemployment rates, as many of the following considerations are usually impacted by employment.

Aca,!Ac Develop a family budget and start saving money before the switch.

Aca,!Ac Make sure benefits are a focal point of a discussion with a potential employer. This is particularly important if there are special family health concerns.

Aca,!Ac Research the geographical location of potential job locations. Consider the school system, cost of living and other quality of life factors.

Aca,!Ac Research health care facilities to ensure they can deliver the health care services the family needs, particularly for special health care requirements.

Aca,!Ac Understand education entitlements by researching the G.I. Bill and other educational opportunities in the geographic area, if relocating.

Aca,!Ac Take advantage of Army education assistance prior to transition. It is free for military servicemembers to take the ACT/SAT exams while on active duty.

Aca,!Ac Make plans to secure adequate life insurance. Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance will go away after service. Talk to the Department of Veterans Affairs about Veterans' Group Life Insurance or talk to civilian carriers.

Aca,!Ac Take care of legal needs, such as establishing a will prior to separation. Unless retiring, legal service support will not continue after separation.

Aca,!Ac Attend a VA benefits briefing, as a family, before leaving active duty. Learn what the VA can do for prior service members. Information on disability, benefits and claims, home loans, health care, education and other items is available in these briefings.

Aca,!Ac Work together as a family and realize that stress is normal. Prepare and seek help to make the transition smooth. Communicate as a family. Armed with the right information, Soldiers and families can transition with confidence.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16