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Navigating transition to civilian life


Where are we now

Each year, approximately 200,000 service members leave the military and reorient their civilian lives around key domains, including: education, employment, health, finance, housing and social relationships. Progress has been made to help empower transitioning service members to embrace and engage these domains, but quantitative and qualitative data suggests that around half of all recently separated Veterans may not connect with available resources, benefits, services and tools for several years, and potentially only at a time when they may already be in a state of crisis. Understanding the reasons why service members disengage and designing services to promote future success in key life domains may have significant impact on Veteran homelessness, suicidality, employment and poverty rates; and have lasting ripple effects into a community of approximately 43M Veterans, family members, survivors, and caregivers. Both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs Joint Executive Committee’s (JEC) mission is to enhance the overall social, physical, emotional, mental health, and well-being of service members, Veterans, and their eligible beneficiaries From past and current efforts, we know navigating military-to-civilian transition can be burdensome, confusing and sometimes despairing for Veterans, their families and their supporters throughout the duration of their life cycle journey.

Where we want to be

All service members have the opportunity to meaningfully participate in a truly-integrated transition process that supports establishing and accomplishing goals across each of their key life domains throughout their journey • All service members are provided the time, space and planning support to act on their transition goals • Increased access and enrollment in VA benefits to which Veterans and family members are entitled • Increased trust and satisfaction in VA, particularly in underserved communities such as younger age groups, LGBTQ+, tribal, and female Veterans

Where we will start

Starting in Q4, Fiscal Year 2022, VA will launch Human-Centered Design (HCD) projects aimed at addressing pain points and collaboration opportunities to improve the transition experience. These projects will be informed by feedback and insights gleaned from those who have recently separated, or are actively transitioning; and captured during discovery research through summer of 2022. The HCD projects will also leverage the following JEC Strategic Goals: • Goal 1 – Health Care Collaboration • Goal 2 – Integrate Benefits and Services Delivery • Goal 3 – Enhance the Transition and Post-Separation Experience • Goal 4 – Modernize Shared Business Operations • Goal 5 – Strengthen Interoperability and Partnership