If you are a retired or soon-to-be separated military service member who is in the process of filing a disability claim, there are a few options that you can take to help speed along your disability claims process. There is an option for evaluation called BDD, or benefits delivery at discharge, that can allow you to apply for disability up to 180 days before you leave the military. Once you have a separation date in hand, you can transfer your military medical treatment records and submit your disability claim. Service members may not realize that there are a range of services available that can help them ease back into civilian life, including back-to-school options and apps that feature a military disability calculator and list of available benefits.
The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation can help veterans switch to a new career, take classes, or enhance their current skill set in the pursuit of a new job. In 2009, a new program called VetSuccess on Campus began that allows veterans to pursue their goals of higher education. The program is designed to allow active duty military to transition into post-service careers, and the number of colleges participating has expanded to 94 in the past few years. If you are a veteran, you could find that you want to learn new skills or get a degree in a field that you have wanted to study for a long time. If you worked in telecommunications in the Army, then you might want to shift into the study of cybersecurity.
In general, the demand for computer programmers continues to grow. Across the United States, the need for qualified technicians and programmers has given rise to dozens of online and in-person programs that promise to teach people how to code, or program computers. Although there is no substitute for a four-year computer degree, people can jumpstart their skills — and often find employment — by participating in online coding “bootcamps.” There are several programs that promise to teach participants marketable coding skills and to help them build their portfolios: participants in one bootcamp learn to code for two years and then spend time volunteering at non-profit organizations. Learning to code could be one of the most lucrative decisions that veterans or civilians can make: there are also work-from-home opportunities available for experienced coders.
If your disability prevents you from working and you are a veteran, you can often apply for rent-subsidized housing. Veterans assistance organizations offer VA disability calculator apps that allow veterans to calculate how much money they could receive per month: the amount of veterans disability claims does vary according to the number of people in the household and the calculated rate of disability. If you have one disability that is rated at 30% and another that is rated at 50%, they do not add up to 80% but rather 65% – according to one online disability calculator. Contact your local veterans affairs department to see veterans disability ratings for three or more disabilities combined and to ask about veterans disability claims process.
No matter which path you take after separation, it is important to make sure that you receive the benefits that you qualify for. If your goal is to finish your degree or to transition to working from home, you should know that there are programs available to veterans that can help you make that transition. There is a series of popular movies about a retired Army MP who travels around the country solving crimes, but most veterans are looking for a quieter life. Working from home and working with computers are two options that have become increasingly popular in the past several years: take the time to access all of the programs and benefits available to veterans, and consider the direction you would like your post-service life to take.