Whether after a long career serving in the Armed Forces, or a brief, few years you and your service member need to prepare to transition to civilian life.  A lot of decisions are made during the transition, more so if your service member is retiring.  The following checklist offers guidance on what you both can do to get your affairs in order, know what to expect and when to get started.

Now to 6 months out:

–  Determine eligibility for retirement (if applicable) and benefits

–  If retiring, estimate your service member’s retirement pay

–  Assess your finances, begin paying down debt and, if you are relocating, contact an agent

–  Take advantage of career evaluation services and begin researching career choices and job options for/with your service member

–  Have or help your service member prepare a resume

6 – 4 months out:

–  Find and attend an ACAP or TAP workshop

–  Develop a transition plan

–  Schedule physical and dental appointments

–  Start researching the job market in your service member’s skill set and help them network with people and organizations that meet your interests.  Attend job fairs together or individually.

4 – 2 months out:

–  Meet with a VA counselor and determine if you should file a disability claim

–  Make sure your service member submits their Leave/Permissive TDY request

–  Obtain retirement orders (if applicable)

–  Scan or make copies of personnel and medical records

–  Schedule a pre-retirement counseling appointment with AAFMAA (if you are not yet an AAFMAA member, call 1-877-398-2263 to get started with a life insurance quote and application)

  • AAFMAA will review your insurance options to replace SGLI and, if eligible, DIC
  • AAFMAA will provide an overview of all services offered

One of the important decisions to make is how to best replace the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage you’ve likely carried during all of your active duty years.  A natural assumption is convert to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).  No medical underwriting – they have to take you!  Because of that, those who are NOT able to medically qualify for a commercial life insurance policy should DEFINITELY TAKE VGLI.  They cannot turn you down, even with serious medical conditions.  However, if you’re relatively healthy, shop around.  There are companies that can save you thousands of dollars over the cost of VGLI.

Here are some things to remember about SGLI:

  • Coverage is up to $400,000 (most people default to the full amount when signing up)
  • Your eligible children are covered up to $10,000 each with your SGLI
  • Your spouse is eligible for coverage up to $100,000
  • Your children and spouse will lose coverage when you end your SGLI


  • VGLI is renewable term insurance – premiums increase every five years
  • You can convert up to however much coverage you carried with SGLI (Maximum of $400,000 which most people carry) in $10,000 increments
  • Coverage is guaranteed, without evidence of good health,  if converted within 120 days of separation
  • Coverage can be applied for, within one year and 120 days after separation with evidence of good health
  • There is no conversion option to VGLI coverage for children or spouses

When you’re ready to start the search to replace your life insurance, find a reputable company to help you through the process.  AAFMAA, a not-for-profit, member-owned military association established in 1879 serves all members of the U.S. Armed Forces – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force.  With a focus on providing solutions tailored to your unique situation and a tradition of proudly serving members, their families and survivors with low-cost insurance and hallmark Survivor Assistance Services, AAFMAA stands ready to assist.  Membership Coordinators do NOT work on commission and will work WITH you for the right results.  They are available toll-free at 1-877-398-2263, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM, Eastern Time to answer questions, offer advice and provide guidance with your best interest in mind.


Information provided by Lisa Milman from AAFMAA.

This post has been prepared by AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust LLC, a division of AAFMAA and is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended to constitute, the giving of advice or the making of a recommendation. No person is authorized to use this document for any purpose other than the purpose stated above. Any opinions or estimates contained herein are subject to change without notice and are not a guarantee of future events or results. Information contained in this document has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but there is no guarantee of such. This document is not intended to be used as a substitute for the exercise of independent judgment.

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