Force-shaped personnel need to know entitlements

Courtesy of the Ramstein Airman & Family Readiness Center

Too often military members separating or retiring from the military lose thousands of dollars in benefits because they are not aware of their entitlements. This is especially true of those members that are separating due to Force Shaping or administrative discharges.

By law, all active-duty personnel separating or retiring from the military with more than 180 days of continuous active duty, must receive pre-separation counseling and complete a DD Form 2648 (pre-separation counseling checklist) prior to separating.  Members being force-shaped or administratively separated are often well within the 180-day limit. 

The Airman & Family Readiness Center is the office with primary responsibility for providing this briefing. Mass briefings are conducted every Thursday at 2 p.m. in the A&FRC classroom. Individual one-on-one appointments are available for short notice separations of less than 90 days. Due to the size of the classroom, advance sign-up is required.

The A&FRC offers a wide range of services and classes for the transitioning member.

One of these services is the very popular monthly Transition Assistance Program workshop. This is a four-day workshop that covers a full range of topics. Day one is facilitated by the A&FRC and includes information on self-assessment, stress management, financial counseling and a three-hour briefing from representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

The VA briefings cover such topics as home loans, disability compensations and educational benefits.

The next three days of the workshop are facilitated by a representative from the U.S. Department of Labor and covers such topics as work and value preferences, career exploration, goal setting, networking, job search techniques, resume writing and interviewing skills.

Master Sgt. Laurie Webb, a recent TAP graduate, said, “The TAP workshop is so beneficial. It provides a lot of great information and every member separating from the Air Force should attend.” 

It is strongly recommended that separating members avail themselves of these services as early as possible. 

“One thing we hear a lot in the TAP workshop is, ‘I wish I had done this earlier,’” said Tim Vohar,  community readiness technician at the A&FRC.

Mr. Vohar also said that on average, separating or retiring members take four to six months longer to find employment when they haven’t attended a TAP workshop six months to a year prior to separating.

For more information on transition services, or to sign up for classes, contact the Ramstein A&FRC at 480-5100 or 06371-47-5100.