The 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success

The Department Of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have long affirmed their commitment to military education for active duty, Guard, Reserve, and military dependents whether spouses or children.

But the DoD and VA efforts are not without support from other government agencies such as the Department of Education (DoE). Did you know the U.S. Department of Education has its own compact with well over two thousand colleges nationwide?

The Eight Keys To Veterans’ Success program is a voluntary partnership between schools and the DoE; this partnership involves providing veterans, currently serving military, military spouses and military college-age children a welcoming and consistent learning environment.

A Brief History Of Eight Keys To Veterans’ Success

The start of federal college degree programs for military members and their families can be traced back to the World War Two-era Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, which established the earliest version of the GI Bill and opened a whole new set of opportunities for millions of beneficiaries.

In 1944, attending college after military service wasn’t anything like what Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force and Coast Guard students expect today. Over the decades, colleges and the government have worked together to create more robust opportunities for transferring military experience to college credit, allowing spouses and dependents to use GI Bill benefits, and more.

But it took a long time to get there, and in some cases required direct action by the Executive Branch to push change for military students into the foreground. One excellent example? The use of the Executive Order to improve the college experience for veterans and families.

Starting around 2016, a great deal of negative press has surrounded the use of Executive Orders by the President. But the use of this presidential power has not always been fraught with controversy; one such Executive Order laid the foundation for many improvements to the college experience for military members, dependents, and spouses who wish to attend school using military education benefits.

During the Obama administration, Executive Order 13607, “Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members” was considered a mandate for government agencies to work together with colleges, universities, and other higher learning facilities to serve those who have served the nation.

As a result of that order, President Barack Obama announced the Eight Keys To Veterans’ Success program at the 2013 Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Florida. At the time, some 250 higher learning institutions signed up for the program, which was drafted with the help of more than one hundred experts, “to review approaches that could be scaled and replicated to foster Veterans’ success on campus and via distance learning.”

The planning phase of this program also included input from non-profit organizations, veterans service organizations, and veterans who had recently completed college programs. Over time, more than two thousand institutions of higher learning have signed up for this voluntary agreement.

Establishing this program wasn’t just a symbolic effort between the DoE, DoD, and the VA; it is also seen by many as a way to protect valuable military benefits such as the Post 9/11 GI Bill and make sure those benefits aren’t wasted on education that does not live up to its marketing hype.

And with good reason; since the start of the Post 9/11 GI Bill program in 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs has paid more than $30 billion in GI Bill funds; according to the VA official site, nearly a million service members, Veterans, and their families have used this important military education benefit.

The Eight Keys To Veterans’ Success

The official list created by the federal government includes the following eight precepts that member institutions volunteer to abide by. It should be noted that agreeing to these principles is not considered compliance with the Department of Defense Memorandum Of Understanding all colleges must agree to in order to receive federal education funds such as GI Bill payments.

The eight keys are as follows, as presented by the DoE official site:

  • Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion.
  • Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.
  • Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
  • Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space for them (even if limited in size).
  • Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
  • Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
  • Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.
  • Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.

But Wait, There’s More

Schools who sign up to agree to implement the Eight Keys To Veterans’ Success are also encouraged by the VA and the DoE to agree to a second agreement called the Principles Of Excellence Program. This is another collaborative effort between the Department of Education and the DoD/VA.

According to the official site, the Principles of Excellence are guidelines “for educational institutions receiving funding from the VA.”

The Principles of Excellence guidelines include the following:

  • Accommodate Service members and Reservists absent due to service requirements.
  • Provide students with a personalized form covering the total cost of an education program.
  • Provide educational plans for all military and Veteran education beneficiaries.
  • Designate a point of contact to provide academic and financial advice.
  • Ensure accreditation of all new programs prior to enrolling students.
  • Align institutional refund policies with those under Title IV, which governs the administration of federal student financial aid programs.
  • End fraudulent and aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentations.

How to Hire Veterans

What are the best ways to hire veterans? Much depends on the nature of your business, whether you are seeking a certain type of status associated by veteran-operated businesses, and how many new hires you wish to bring on.

Hiring a veteran brings with it associated benefits in some cases. The IRS official site has a page dedicated to the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), which provides tax breaks for employers who hire from certain classes of the work force including those who draw SSI, long-term family assistance recipients, and veterans.

Hiring veterans also means the need for fully codified employer policies about how the company will manage an employee’s military duty commitments for Guard, Reserve, or even active duty hires.

Knowing Where To Look

There are many places you can look for veterans to hire as full-time, part-time, commission, or contractors; state and local agencies have job placement and career development programs you can partner with.

Employers should consider participating in job fairs near military bases, Guard and Reserve unit headquarters, or even at college campuses with a strong ROTC presence. But knowing where to look for suitable job candidates is only half the battle.

The best way to hire veterans includes making a fully informed choice when choosing to bring one on board; you should know what your rights and responsibilities are as an employer ahead of your hiring decision.

Fortunately, there is excellent advice from a number of government agencies that can help. The Department of Labor, and even the government’s hiring portal, all have helpful information for hiring managers and supervisors.

How To Hire A Veteran: The Department Of Labor (DOL)

The Department of Labor official site has a section dedicated to the hiring of veterans and associated programs and policies. DOL veteran programs include:

  • Military Spouses
  • Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program
  • Jobs for Veterans State Grants
  • Stand Down
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
  • Federal Contractor Reporting / VETS-4212
  • HIRE Vets Medallion Program
  • Veterans’ Preference
  • Women Veterans

These programs are aimed at employers, event organizers, licensing agencies, etc. They are not designed as placement options for individual job seekers, but as resources for those who hire, train, etc.

In many cases the programs above may target certain portions of the veteran population; employers who need resources to hire homeless veterans, those who need guidance or assistance with federal contracting procedures or in properly helping job seekers apply veteran preference, etc.

DOL also provides direct advice for those who want to hire veterans; there are employment representatives in each state and a general contact e-mail address for those who need to speak to a DOL rep about hiring vets.

Hiring Vets: Advice From The Department of Veterans Affairs

The VA has created a Veterans Employment Toolkit designed to help those who wish to employ vets. The toolkit includes information on government subsidies that can be used to offset the salary of a new hire, assistive and adaptive technology, how to interpret a veteran’s “non-pay work experience,” and information on VA incentives that may be offered to certain companies for hiring qualified veterans.

The VA toolkit also includes information about Department of Labor programs that incorporate online training and other resources for those who want to hire from America’s ever-growing pool of military members and vets.

The VA Veteran Employer Toolkit is featured prominently in the VA Vocational Rehab & Employment official site. There is another portion of the VA official site titled Veterans Opportunity to Work that features a section aimed specifically at employers.

The VA requests owners and supervisors who want to learn more about participating in the program to contact the VA directly at Call 1-800-827-1000 or the nearest VA regional office and ask for the VR&E Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor or Employment Coordinator. You can also visit the VA VR&E employer webpage .

Employer Support Of The Guard And Reserve (ESGR)

At the beginning of this article we mentioned employer obligations for members of the Guard and Reserve. ESGR is a government program designed to help employers understand and meet their legal commitment to employees who serve. Knowing your responsibilities to your Guard and Reserve employees is crucial to staying in legal compliance with federal law.

It is also key to maintaining a good-faith relationship with your Guard and Reserve hires. As with ADA law, not knowing your legal responsibilities in this area is a huge liability. State law may also play a role in your obligations to Guard and Reserve troops; know before you hire.


Public Law 115-31, also known as the Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans Act of 2017 (HIRE Vets Act), required the establishment of a program which “recognizes employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans.”

Those who meet certain criteria established by the Act, “will receive a “HIRE Vets Medallion Award.” That may not sound like much to an outsider, but veterans who apply for jobs at companies that have earned this award may feel more confident about their potential employer knowing the company has been evaluated and praised under the award program.

It’s not the same as a DoD stamp of approval, but those who hire with the medallion award certainly have an advantage when trying to make an impression about the quality of the workplace.

The HIRE Vets Act awards are aimed at three different categories of employer: large, medium, and small businesses. “For each award, the employer must satisfy a set of criteria. Verification of these criteria includes a self-attestation by the applicant and a check for violations of veteran-related DOL labor laws by the U.S. Department of Labor” according to the official site.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

EEOC publishes a fact sheet for veterans titled, Understanding Your Employment Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A Guide for Veterans.

This fact sheet is aimed at the employee, but it is critical for all who hire vets to know these policies and understand what the new hire will expect from you, the employer, on a legal basis where ADA compliance and related issues are concerned.

Not all veterans have disabilities, but all who have them (military or not) are protected in the American workplace by ADA laws. As an employer, if you do not know your ADA responsibilities as well as employee rights, you set yourself up for major legal liability. Know before you hire.

Things To Ask Yourself When Hiring Veterans

Those who hire don’t always have military experience. When recruiting vets for your company, it’s important to remember that a military career requires skills far above and beyond the job title or even the job description. A new hire who held the rank of E4 or higher likely has been given management and leadership training, has functioned as a section head or an assistant department head, and may have other experience that is difficult to quantify on a resume but adds value to your company.

We all know the hiring process will involve interviews and a Q&A process of some kind, but what should an employer ask themselves before the interview?

  • Veterans often thrive on the same kind of structure they experienced in the military; they may not be used to the kind of ambiguity often experienced in the civilian hiring process. Have you established a way to help veterans understand the process of hiring once the resume has been submitted?
  • What are your most urgent needs for the company?
  • Are you asking about other job experience besides “direct experience” and the applicant’s education?
  • How will you make your veteran applicants more comfortable with your hiring/interviewing process? What would you do for someone if you knew you were the first civilian interviewer they had spoken with since leaving military service?
  • In your conversation with veterans, how will you try to understand and identify with their unique needs?

During the interview, it is very helpful for the interviewer to ask a veteran at the start to either avoid or explain military jargon that comes up in conversation. Don’t be too hard on a veteran for slipping back into acronym-speak; old habits are hard to break.

When your interviewee starts talking about “additional duties”, for example, that is a responsibility given to a military member that is not her main job, but is still expected as a member of the team.

An Army Public Affairs officer may be responsible for dealing with the press and for interacting with local leaders, but they are also tasked with conducting base tours for the public and escorting non-military VIP visitors to certain functions on post.

Was that the officer’s main duty? No, but it is significant enough to mention in an interview where relevant. That is the sort of nuance you can expect from your veteran resumes and interviews.

You can always ask for clarification in the interview. When it comes to additional duty (which is a subject that comes up frequently when a vet is asked what they did for a living while in uniform) always ask if the interviewee can quantify how much time was spent doing that duty (assuming it is relevant to the conversation).

You may be surprised at the breadth and depth of these extra tasks. A great example–the author of this article had an additional duty in his job as a reporter for Air Force Television News; he was the equipment inventory custodian for all the TV news cameras, microphones, and other broadcast gear.

The financial responsibility for this inventory? Valued at a million dollars, collectively. That is an additional duty worth mentioning in an interview if it’s relevant. Some additional duties are mundane, others require a great deal of attention.

A Hiring Guide for Military & Veterans

Many companies understand the value that veterans and military family members can bring to a workplace. Members of the military community have many qualities and skills that can benefit companies in a variety of industries.

What qualities can veterans and military family members bring to a company?

Companies that are interested in recruiting and hiring members of the military community can find employees in three categories:

  • Military spouses: spouses are often highly educated, but many need jobs that offer mobility and flexibility to allow them to continue their careers when their spouse’s job requires them to move.
  • Veterans: veterans have separated from the military and have education and/or professional experience and are seeking companies and organizations that can help them build on their existing training and skills.
  • Transitioning service members: service members who are transitioning are in the process of separating from the military and are looking to start their civilian career. These service members may be seeking assistance in their job search as they transition into the civilian workforce.

By hiring a member of the military community, a company can bring a great deal of value to their team. Some of the qualities these individuals contribute to a workplace include:

  • Ability to perform under pressure; veterans understand how to accomplish tasks on time and despite being under stress.
  • The ability to learn new concepts and skills, as well as transferable skills that have been proven in real-world situations.
  • Leadership skills, as well as skills in direction, motivation, inspiration, and delegation. Veterans understand leadership dynamics and how to lead many different types of people.
  • Teamwork and having a responsibility to coworkers, as well as the ability to be productive individually or as part of a team.
  • Diversity and inclusion; veterans can work alongside others regardless of their race, gender, ethnic background, economic status, or religion, and are able to cooperate with many different types of people.
  • Respecting procedures and having accountability.
  • Veterans are often knowledgeable about technical trends in business and industry and bring a global outlook and technological savvy to an employer.
  • Integrity, trustworthiness, and sincerity.
  • Resilience and the ability to overcome adversity.

Some additional qualities that veterans bring to an organization include:

  • An ability to learn new skills quickly
  • High rates of productivity
  • Higher retention rates after being hired
  • Loyalty to a company and to their coworkers

Veterans also offer a variety of “soft skills” that are valuable across many different industries.

These include:

  • Communication
  • Managerial skills
  • Problem solving

How can companies recruit veterans and military family members?

There are several steps that companies can take to recruit members of the military population:

  • Work to build the company’s brand in the military community as a military employer of choice.
  • Attend job fairs on military installations, or post job openings on military job boards.
  • Ask members of their existing workforce, especially those who have served in the military, if they have any contacts they could recommend for open positions within the company.
  • Utilize government initiatives such as FedsHireVets and to post job openings and recruit veteran applicants.
  • Use a skills translator to translate military job duties into civilian skills and ask veterans in your organization to help mentor new recruits.

How can hiring veterans help companies?

In addition to the qualities veterans bring as employees, companies can receive certain benefits as a result of hiring veterans. The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program provides several incentives to companies that employ veterans. These include:

  • Salary reimbursement: under the Special Employer Incentive, employers may be eligible to receive incentives for hiring veterans facing obstacles to employment, which include reimbursement of up to half the veteran’s salary for as long as six months.
  • Subsidies for salaries: the VR&E provides on-the-job training and subsidizes salaries for veterans so employers pay an apprentice-level wage. As the veteran gains experience, the employer pays a higher portion of their salary until the training program is complete, and the employer pays the veteran’s full salary.
  • Assistive technology: VR&E can provide workplace modifications, specialized tools, and equipment to allow veterans to perform their job duties.
  • Federal tax credits: under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, employers who hire veterans may be eligible to receive tax credits.

What are the benefits of hiring military spouses?

Military spouses face many barriers to employment and building a career due to their military lifestyle. These can include having to change jobs often due to frequent moves, and difficulties obtaining childcare when spouses are deployed. The current unemployment rate for military spouses is 24%, higher than the national average. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) was created to address these challenges and help spouses find employment. MSEP is part of the Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program, which helps connect military spouses and employers.

In addition to MSEP, SECO offers multiple resources to military spouses to help improve career and education opportunities, including:

  • Helping spouses identify their skills, interests, and goals through career exploration opportunities.
  • Training and education to help spouses identify licensing, credentialing, or academic requirements that will help them reach their career goals.
  • Employment networking and connections to help spouses find a rewarding career.
  • Employment readiness assistance to help spouses market their skills.

Military spouses have many valuable qualities that can help an organization, including:

  • The ability to handle pressure and stress: they must deal with spouse deployments, relocate often, learn about a new location, and develop new support networks frequently.
  • They are able to learn new skills quickly.
  • They take responsibility, are accountable, and are loyal employees.
  • They are patient, flexible, resilient, and able to adapt to new environments and cultures.
  • They have excellent communication skills, emotional intelligence, are able to handle logistics, and have many other abilities.

Career Help & Military Transition Assistance

Veterans returning to the workforce after military service face a variety of challenges. Translating military experience to a civilian resume is one of the most obvious of these, but even this is too easily taken for granted in terms of how easy it may or may not be to do so and what current trends in job hunting (and resume writing) might be at the time of separation from the U.S. military.

Fortunately there is help available for transitioning service members. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers career and employment help through a variety of programs including job counseling and transition advice, to support and training for self-employed veterans.

At the time of this writing, many of these services were previously linked with the government website called, but the pages of that website now redirect to the Department of Veterans Affairs official site, If you have previously researched your career counseling and transition assistance options, you may find your resources redirected to the VA.

CareerScope: A Helpful Tool To Use Before You Start Your Transition

Long before you accept your final military orders and begin outprocessing, you should review your job skills and think about how you want to transfer your abilities to the civilian workplace. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a helpful tool to start your transition out of a life in uniform and into civilian life.

This tool is known as CareerScope and is offered only to qualified military members and qualified family members. What makes you eligible to use CareerScope?

The VA official site states those allowed access to this tool include:

  • Dependents who qualify for VA education benefits
  • Veterans
  • Currently serving military members
  • Dependents who are already using VA education benefits

How CareerScope Can Help You

CareerScope is an assessment tool. The VA official site states that using CareerScope will provide the user with an assessment of how interests, aptitude, and experience can translate into job or learning opportunities.

Once the assessment is complete you are provided with recommendations about post-military careers, education, and training that may help pursue the career options discussed in the assessment.

CareerScope breaks things down into a dozen “interest areas” that include a set of “work activity statements” from these areas. The assessment covers general learning abilities, manual dexterity, verbal and numerical skills, and more.

Once the assessment is completed you can apply for VA Education And Career Counseling (see below).

Technical Requirements To Use CareerScope

Use of the VA CareerScope tool requires the user to create an account. New users may register on the VA official site so they can begin using the assessment tool.

Chapter 36 Educational And Career Counseling

Those leaving military service may need help finding ways to transition into a civilian career. Some military career fields translate directly into the civilian job market, but others may not be so easily matched with jobs in the private sector. VA Chapter 36 Educational and Career Counseling is a free program for veterans with any discharge other than Dishonorable, offering the following services:

  • Educational and career counseling to locate training programs or job opportunities
  • Counseling to help veterans choose new jobs
  • Academic and adjustment counseling

Eligibility For VA Educational And Career Counseling

The Department of Veterans Affairs official site publishes a list of those who are eligible for VA Educational and Career Counseling. They include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • Any veteran currently eligible for a VA education benefit
  • Transitioning service members with six months or less remaining before discharge from active duty
  • Veterans within one year after discharge from active duty
  • Any service member currently eligible for a VA education benefit
  • All other current VA education beneficiaries

Services offered by the VA include:

  • Benefits Coaching – learn how to make the most of your VA benefits and resources
  • Career Choice – VA counseling designed to help you understand civilian career options based on the user’s interests, experience, etc.
  • Personalized Support – Counseling and personalized support for both academic and military transition issues

How To Apply For VA Educational and Career Counseling

  • Log in to your eBenefits account
    Select “Apply”
  • Select “Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits”
  • Apply for Educational and Career Counseling
  • After your eligibility is confirmed you will receive an invitation to an orientation session at the VA Regional Office nearest you

How To Apply Without Access To eBenefits 

  • Print and complete VA Form 28-8832
  • Mail VA Form 28-8832 to the nearest VA Regional Office, addressed attention to Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
  • After your eligibility is confirmed you will receive an invitation to an orientation session at the VA Regional Office nearest you

The VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation And Employment Program (VR&E)

Veterans and currently serving military members with disabilities can find assistance from the VA under the Chapter 31 VR&E program. This is for those with service-connected disabilities that affects the ability to work. There are a group of five “tracks” designed to help, including:

  • Self-Employment Track – made to help veterans with a service-connected disability start and maintain a business, freelance career, etc.
  • Reemployment Track – created to help service members and veterans know their rights when returning to civilian employment after military service.
  • Rapid Access to Employment Track – made to assist veterans in finding jobs that match their military skills.
  • Independent Living Track – created to match veterans with resources to help them live “as independently as possible if you can’t return to work right away” according to the official site.
  • Employment Through Long-Term Services Track – This track is intended to help those eligible for vocational training to help you develop new job skills.

Eligibility Requirements For VA Chapter 31 VR&E Benefits

Veterans may be eligible for VR&E benefits and services if all of the following apply:

  • The veteran did not receive a dishonorable discharge, and;
  • Has a service-connected disability rating of at least 10% from VA, and;
  • Applies for VR&E services.

There is a basic maximum eligibility time frame of 12 years from the day the veteran receives her date of separation from military service OR the date of receipt of the first VA disability rating.

Chapter 31 VR&E Benefits For Those Still Serving In The Military

Qualifying active duty service members may be eligible for VR&E benefits when the following conditions apply:

  • The service member has a 20% or higher pre-discharge disability rating (also known as a “memorandum rating”) and is departing military service soon OR;
  • The service member is participating in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) process OR;
  • The service member is waiting for a military discharge due to a medical condition resulting from a condition that occurred in the line of duty.

Basic Services Available Through The VA Chapter 31 VR&E Program

  • Resume development
  • Evaluations to determine your job abilities, skills, and interests
  • Vocational counseling
  • Rehabilitation planning for employment services
  • Job training, apprenticeships, and non-paid work experiences
  • Training/learning at a college, vocational, technical, or business school
  • Counseling
  • Medical referrals
  • Independent living services for those unable to work due to disabilities
  • Case management

Applying For VA Chapter 31 VR&E Benefits

 At the time of this writing, the Department of Veterans Affairs accepts Chapter 31 applications through the eBenefits portal. Those who do not have eBenefits accounts will need to create them or contact the nearest VA office to get assistance.

Servicemembers should know that it is not required to wait until final outprocessing and discharge to apply for VR&E benefits. You can fill out VA Form 28-0588, VA Vocational Rehabilitation – Getting Ahead After You Get Out and submit it to the Department of Veterans affairs. Eligibility in such cases is possible if one of the following is true:

  • The veteran expects an other than dishonorable discharge and has a VA memorandum rating of 20% or more OR;
  • The applicant is in the process of being reviewed by a Physical Evaluation Board OR;
  • The veteran is in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES).

After a veteran or service member has applied, the VA will arrange a meeting with a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor to determine whether there is a current or potential employment handicap and discuss eligibility for VR&E benefits and services.

The VA official site says, “You have an employment handicap if your service-connected disability limits your ability to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment (a job that doesn’t make your disability worse, is stable, and matches your abilities, aptitudes, and interests).”

The Department of Veterans Affairs will make what they call an “entitlement decision” and begin working with the veteran to develop a rehabilitation plan and schedule the use of services, etc.

Contact the nearest VA office in your area to learn more about Chapter 31 VR&E benefits and how they apply to you.

Reserve Activation, National Guard & Tricare

If you’re a National Guard or Reserve member moving into an activated status for more than 30 days, you qualify for Tricare under the same programs as all active-duty troops. That coverage lasts the length of your activated service.

How do activated Guard and Reserve members enroll in Tricare or shift their Tricare coverage from the Tricare Reserve Select plan to the active-duty plans? Here are the details.

How Activated Guard and Reserve Members Enroll in Tricare

When your Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Title 32 or Title 10 orders of 30 or more days are updated in the Pentagon’s personnel system, known as the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), you are automatically enrolled in the Tricare Prime plan.

That plan allows you to receive primary and specialty care with no out-of-pocket costs, but does require referrals if you need to see anyone other than your primary care provider. If you live within about 45 minutes of a military treatment facility, it could also mean that you’re required to be treated on base. That could be a big change if you already have medical care in your community that you know and like.

A second plan option, known as Tricare Select, allows you to be seen off base at a civilian doctor of your choice, and does not require referrals for specialty care. However, you will be required to pay cost shares, with a $1,000 cap each year. How much you pay for visits depends on when your service member first joined the military and whether your doctor is in-network.

Since your enrollment defaults to Tricare Prime, if you want to instead use the Tricare Select plan, you’ll need to call your regional contractor.

How Activated Guard and Reserve Members Move from Tricare Reserve Select

When your orders of 30 or more days are updated in DEERS, your Tricare enrollment will automatically switch from Tricare Reserve Select, a plan for which you pay a monthly premium, to Tricare Prime, which carries no out-of-pocket costs for those who get referrals and see in-network doctors. Like those using Tricare for the first time, if you want to switch to Tricare Select, you’ll need to contact your regional contractor.

How Tricare Costs Differ Between Tricare Reserve Select and Active-Duty Tricare

Tricare Reserve Select is a premium-based plan, and costs about $220 a month for a family. Once activated, the service member’s care is provided on base at no cost, while the family is instead covered by one of the active-duty family Tricare plans. Unlike Tricare Reserve Select, those plans do not have a monthly premium fee.

Tricare Reserve Select carries deductibles and cost shares set by federal law, tied to a schedule known as “Group B,” regardless of when the service member joined.

Activated families can choose to use Tricare Prime, which carries no fees so long as users follow referral rules, or Tricare Select, which comes with out-of-pocket fees at many visits, just like Tricare Reserve Select.

How much activated families on Tricare Select pay, however, depends on when the service member originally joined. If that date was before Jan. 1, 2018, the fees are tied to a schedule known as “Group A.” If they joined after that date, the fees are tied to the same schedule as Tricare Reserve Select, “Group B.” That means that, depending on original join-up date, your out-of-pocket fees on Tricare Select may be the same as they were on Tricare Reserve Select.

Out-of-Pocket Costs Don’t Reset When You Switch

When you switch plans due to activation or any change in status, such as retirement, your out-of-pocket fees don’t reset. That means if you already paid $600 toward your annual out-of-pocket max, known as the catastrophic cap, while on Tricare Reserve Select, you won’t reset to $0 paid when you’re switched to an active-duty family plan.

Your Premium Will Be Refunded

If you already paid your Tricare Reserve Select monthly premium, the money will be repaid by check at a prorated amount from the date of your active-duty orders. You can call your regional contractor to confirm that the reimbursement check has been processed.

Changing Back to Tricare Reserve Select

If you were active for 30 or more days for a contingency operation, typically an overseas deployment in support of the wars, you will receive 180 days of active-duty family Tricare through Tricare Select or Prime after your orders end.

If you are moving back to regular drilling Guard or Reserve status, you can shift back to Tricare Reserve Select as your activation time ends. You’ll owe the typical Tricare Reserve Select premium payment, and it must be turned in by mail with a Reserve Component Health Coverage Request Form (DD Form 2896-1) postmarked no later than 60 days after the loss of your active-duty coverage.

Military Family: How to Deal With Deployment

Preparing for military family deployment can seem like an uphill battle.

For one, your Family Readiness team (be it an officer, group or other) has probably handed you a to-do list that is several pages long.

Add in the fact that there’s the inevitable family you’re going to have to find time to see , preparations made around the house and normal family life to lead.

Forget normal life. Deployment changes everything. And it’ll start happening well before that deployment even starts. The Military Powers That Be divide deployment into three phases: pre-deployment, deployment and re-integration. This is called the Deployment Cycle and, while stress and exhaustion may be true for the cycle in full, you’ll find particular stressors in play for each cycle.

Pre-Deployment Logistics

During this phase, you’ll be doing everything you can to get your family ready for the realities of deployment and the potentialities. Here’s a checklist that will help. At the top of your list will be legal, financial and emotional preparation.

Legally, you’ll want to get everything that may be necessary taken care of: powers of attorney and wills, particularly, and anything else your unit recommends.

While wills can feel morbid, powers of attorney might not seem necessary — and both may entail discussion that you or your spouse may not be eager to have. Talk to your service member about what kinds of powers of attorney you should have while he is gone. Should anything go wrong, including you losing your military ID or needing to break a lease, you won’t be able to take care of the issue without one.

You will need to make financial preparations too. Between hazard pay, combat pay, flight pay, or any of the other additional pays that come with deployment, plus the non-taxable income, your bank account will look drastically different for a while — and it’s important you don’t blow it all on a fancy new Mustang.

Prepare the Family

Helping your family get ready for a deployment is easier when you take the advice of other spouses who have done it.

Children going through a deployment experience many of the same emotions as their grown counterparts, but have at their fingertips fewer of the resources to combat those problems. Learn how you can help them prepare for the separation as easily as possible and, while you’re at it, learn how you can expect the rest of your family to take deployment too.

Prepare Yourself

This one could also be called “steel yourself,” because two things are universal about deployments: (1) No deployment experience is the same; but (2) It’s going to require a lot from you, no matter what.

Combat deployments come with an unshakable shadow and stress every infantry spouse can explain with a single look. But non-combat deployments can also be very stressful. The gist: Stress, no matter what.

Before your partner deploys, make sure you find several healthy stress-relievers to help get you through. They will likely be your go-to when times get rough.


To state the obvious: Deployment changes everything. The problem is you really don’t understand how until you’re in it, and even after you’ve done one, you can’t count on the next deployment being the same.

Learn how you can prepare for the impact it will have on your marriage and your family and prepare for the effect an unexpected extension might have.

Take the time to prepare some family rituals in advance that you can do during deployment.

Get involved with your Family Readiness Group.

You may even want to consider moving home while your spouse is gone. If that’s something you’re thinking about, make sure you weigh all the options in advance.

If you’re new to the military, you’re probably shaking your head in confusion. Who’s Uncle Murphy? If you’re not new, you already know: Murphy’s Law goes into effect the minute your spouse leaves. The car will break. The newly replaced air conditioner will suddenly need to be completely replaced again. The roof will collapse. And you will lose your keys.

Maybe none of those things will happen to you (we hope), but Murphy’s Law is there all the same — and it’s something you at least get to laugh about. The good news is this: Deployment may be a heavier time in your life, but it will definitely add in some hilarity. We promise.

In fact, even though none of us likes deployment, we all cherish the feeling of how wonderful it is to have your spouse return after such a long time away. Take the hard moments in stride. And celebrate the return with all you’ve got.


Your spouse is back! Hooray! The world is wonderful, your family is whole, and you are breathing for the first time in months. Congratulations! Now, welcome to (another) hard part.

Reintegration is great, but it brings with it its own challenges.

When you’ve been apart for months at a time, both of you inevitably grow and change — and reintegration is all about growing back to each other. While it happens, you can expect some ups and down. Somefights, some passion, and the road back to shared household duties.

No matter how much we wish it did, reintegration doesn’t happen immediately. But the more you prepare for it and the rest of deployment, the easier it will all be.

Transitioning from Military to Civilian Life

Transitioning military can find general information and advice about transitioning from military life back to life among civilians. When transitioning, there are a number of things to prepare for, places veterans can look to for support, and even help finding jobs. The information below is meant to inform transitioning military and spouses about the most important steps to take and resources available when preparing for life as a civilian.

Ok, returning to the civilian world is a little scarier than it sounds. But don’t worry! The best thing you can do for you and your family is to gather as much information as possible prior to actually transitioning out of the military. The “transition” period is usually during terminal leave, however, the actual transition can take a little longer than the short length of terminal leave. Here are some ways to get organized and to ensure the smoothest transition possible. The most important thing is simple: stay positive.

First, face the change.

Make a Plan: This is a given and you’ve probably heard it more than once. Try to start planning about a year out from your known end of service date, and be sure to incorporate terminal leave if that is the route you choose. If you know you want to go back to school, try to apply a year early so that you can start almost as soon as you’re out. Don’t be afraid to start applying to jobs – but before you do that, spend time on your resume and learn how to write a proper cover letter because these are the contemporary forms of “first impressions.”

You are here: You receive any combination of the following: base pay, BAH, BAS, COLA, FLPP, and maybe another specialized pay or two. You receive an annual uniform allowance. You have a stable job. You have health insurance. You have dental insurance. Plus a few more perks.

When transitioning: You will be in a little place called limbo: Mostly, you will be confronted with question, after question. Where will I live? What will I do? Should I go back to school? What about my family? And the list goes on…but don’t get overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time.

Save: If you haven’t been saving for your transition out of the military, start now, and here’s how. Although the military pays for your move, the costs are only covered for travel to your home of record and anything further will be out-of-pocket. Don’t let this discourage you from choosing a different state – you can plan for this. Also, the military will only pay for one car to be shipped (if need be). Keep this potential financial strain in mind as you may want to sell any additional vehicles or find an alternative way of shipping. The car will go to the port closest to your home of record and will need to retrieved from there. If you plan to send someone other than yourself to retrieve the POV (privately owned vehicle) then be sure to specify this person when you drop off the car for shipment. Also, the military will not pay to ship your pets.

When the movers come to pack your home goods: Be there, and pay attention. If you’ve already moved a few times, then you know this. These movers go fast so sometimes they miss an item or two in a bathroom cabinet, but sometimes they miss entire kitchen cabinets. It would be better to have an extra set of eyes or two to ensure that everything is getting packed.

There will be unexpected expenses: You will have to wait for your home goods. If you are shipping from overseas, you will have to wait longer. Try to pack things that you will need while waiting for your home goods to arrive. Certainly, you can’t just fold up your mattress into a suitcase, but consider stuffing a duffle with some pillows and blankets. Kitchen items will be packed away too, so you may have to buy a pan or two to make do until your items arrive, and it’s a good idea to keep important documents with you in case of emergencies.

Next: stay positive. Do not be afraid to reach out to your fellow colleagues who are also transitioning, or have already done so. Take the transitioning process one day at a time and stay active in whatever you have chosen to pursue. Try to keep your same workout routine if you can. Wake up in the morning, have your coffee, and get busy.

When job searching, set goals: Today, I will apply to 3 jobs. There are great resources to help find jobs for transitioning military, including Veteran-specific Re-Employment Resources,  transitioning job assistance programs offered by the military, and military friendly employers who want to help.

If you are applying to schools, set goals: This week I will research 3 schools. Look at the programs they offer, do any of them interest you? Look at their credibility and be sure they are regionally accredited.

If you are looking for homes, take it slow: Be sure you have researched the area, visited the area, and maybe even spoken with a few locals in passing. And definitely find out if you are eligible for a VA Home Loan if you are looking to buy.

If you are starting a business, be a go-getter.

Benefits of Being a Veteran

Being a veteran offers a lot more than you might think (just be sure you move to a military friendly state). The very day after your terminal leave ends, you are no longer a service member, but a veteran. Welcome, and thank you for your service. Although most military contracts, with a few exceptions, include the remaining 2-4 years of IRR (Individual Ready Reserve), all of your regular active service benefits end, and your veterans benefits begin. The IRR will require you to keep your information updated, such as address and phone number just in case the need arises to recall all troops back to service, but otherwise it does not pose too many obligations.

Resources During Transition

Utilize the resources offered to you during transition. Each branch of service, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, offers a variety of seminars and materials, some of which are mandatory and some that are not, to aid you in your transition. They offer resume and cover letter writing classes, interview preparations, career counseling, educational counseling, job search, etc. Take advantage of the resume and cover letter writing classes because civilians will not know what you mean when you say ETS, PCS, or any other military acronym.

Here are some things to look forward to:

Store discounts: Always ask if a store has a military discount, many businesses extend their discounts to veterans. Although the discount is not usually not more than 10%, it can still take a bit off the bill.

Life Insurance: Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is available to continue for most veterans and is much less expensive than other civilian options for Life Insurance. Many will receive information in the mail, or you can enroll online. Apply before during the first 120 days after your departure date to avoid extra unnecessary health questions. The process is similar to that of the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI).

Post 9/11 GI Bill®: Depending on the percentage of benefits you are eligible to receive, based on your years of service, you can use your Post 9/11 GI Bill, which not only covers school tuition, fees, and books, but it also provides Monthly Housing Allowance (MHA) based on the school’s zip code. Veterans can even receive MHA when enrolled full time for an online degree.

Disability: File claims for injuries received during your time in service, physical or psychological. These claims are assessed after a few visits to the doctor, and you are then notified of your eligibility.

Home Loan: This is a great benefit to have in your back pocket when you find yourself a civilian looking for a place to live. Before applying, be sure you are ready to be a homeowner. Research for schools in the area, job opportunities, accessibility, and even the weather. It’s easy to buy a home, but it’s not nearly as easy to sell one.

The VA does not offer small business loans, but it does recommend going through the Small Business Administration (SBA) if you are starting a business. Don’t forget you can also look to your military friendly banks for this kind of support, such as USAA and Navy Federal.

Veterans License Plates: Now this does not come with any special privileges per se, aside from the occasional parking spot dedicated to veterans in mall parking lots, but it may make you feel connected to your brothers and sisters in arms. You can also have a veterans indicator placed on your driver’s license.

VA Health Care: Enroll in your free health care. You can do this in person at your local VA Medical Center, or online at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Thanks to the recent Affordable Care Act, there is no need to enroll in additional health care coverage to meet the nation’s standards, and to declare health coverage when filing your taxes. Unfortunately, VA Health Care does not extend to dependents and is only valid for the veteran. If you do have dependents, look into your state’s health care as you are most likely eligible for medicaid due to your recent status of unemployment.

New Military Spouse 101

Joining the military community can be a daunting and foreign experience for individuals unfamiliar with the military life. You are not alone – and you certainly don’t have to navigate this strange new world on your own either. For new military families, the military jargon, customs and courtesies, high OPTEMPO (“operational tempo”), and the myriad of bureaucratic organizations to deal with can be incredibly overwhelming. Never be afraid to ask questions. There are so many experienced families who can guide and support you along the way. Here is some helpful advice that I routinely share with new members of our military community.

  • Familiarize yourself with your respective service’s customs and courtesies, as well as personal etiquette: There is nothing more embarrassing than committing a social faux pas at a military event, be it a formal, semi-formal, or casual event. No one ever wants to go down in unit history as that person. Ensure that you also dress appropriately for unit functions – when in doubt, ask an experienced spouse or the leadership for clearer guidance on attire. (Most event invitations will specify the dress code.) If you’re invited to a small function, a Thank You letter to the host/hostess will go a long way.


  • Understand the Leave and Earning Statement (LES): Upon first glance, the LES can be highly confusing with all of its acronyms. Learning how to decipher what everything means will ensure you can track pay allowances, benefits, debts, and allocated leave days. Consistent monitoring of the monthly LES can prevent pay issues. For official guidance on understanding the LES, go to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) site.


  • Use your family support group: Each service has its own support group with different names, but they all serve the same purpose in providing information, guidance, access to military post resources, and camaraderie. Their functions are most prominent during times of deployment and extended training when your service member is away from home, but they also serve the same purpose in a garrison environment. The Army has its Family Readiness Groups; Navy has its Ombudsman volunteer and Family Readiness Groups; Air Force has the Key Spouse Program; Marine Corps has the Family Readiness Program; and the Coast Guard has the Work-Life Program. Get to know the other senior spouses – they are a wealth of knowledge and experience and can guide you through the often baffling military system. Check with your readiness groups and on-post facilities to see if they offer introductory classes for new spouses. There are often courses both in a classroom or online that you can participate in to familiarize yourself with ranks, military jargon, military benefits and resources, and deployment preparation.


  • Ask questions in the absence of information: The most damaging thing that can harm a unit and its families is misinformation. In the absence of real information, never succumb to rumors and never make assumptions. If something sounds off or if you lack clarity, ask your Family Readiness Group Leader or the Chain of Command (if they have provided their contact information for that very purpose). Always go to an individual or representative who is authorized or has direct access to get the real information. Circulating or purely going off information within a rumor mill is counterproductive to the efforts of readiness groups and units which have the best intentions for the families under their care.


  • USAJOBS.GOV: Moving from post to post every couple of years can mean your own career sometimes takes a backseat. At USAJOBS  you can find federal jobs around your current duty station, as it is an incredible resource to becoming a federal employee. The Military Spouse Appointing Authority (Executive Order 13473) gives agencies the authority to hire military spouses without competition, but it doesn’t entitle spouses to a hiring opportunity over all other applicants. For more information, read “Special Hiring Authorities for Military Spouses and Family Members.”


  • Memorize your sponsor’s (service member’s) Social Security Number (SSN) and birthday: Commit this information to memory, as all Tricare benefits and any other official military services will always need the sponsor’s information before services are rendered. Just ensure you give this information out judiciously to legitimate organizations and trusted sources to prevent identity theft.


  • “Nothing is EVER set in stone!: This is a motto that I live and swear by from my experience as both a Soldier and as a spouse. This motto has made my life infinitely easier when I know and accept ahead of time that dates and situations will always change because the military works in time frames, not set days, making life unpredictablefor military families.  Having worked on operational level staffs, I’ve seen the hard work and planning that our service members’ leaders conduct on a daily basis. I’ve also seen the immense frustration when all the in-depth planning is nixed or drastically altered, requiring immediate attention in addressing the latest issue or timeline change at hand. There’s always someone higher up in the food chain with the authority to alter any given plan. In a perfect world, everything would be predictable and on a set schedule. However, as a new spouse, get used to arrivals, departures, training events, and even vacation leave moving either right or left on your calendar. The same goes for abrupt requirements that will require your service member to have to drop everything and disappear at a moment’s notice for a tasking or for a last-minute change in duties.

As a whole, welcome to the military community! It’s a fantastic adventure that your family will never forget. A grateful nation thanks you for your commitment and sacrifices. Get ready to meet amazing people, see different places, and HAVE FUN!

Military Retirement: What Benefits Are There?

Military retirement marks a point in transitioning that requires a bit more planning and preparation than other milestones. Luckily, the military is on your side and does its best to prepare military and families for that ultimate transition to civilian life: military retirement. After all, it has likely been at least 20 years since families of a career-driven service member lived in one location for more than three years.

While a few VA retirement benefits will overlap with common veteran’s benefits, retirees receive a few extra benefits that only 20 years time in service can grant.

First things first: don’t forget to apply for a veterans retirement ID card. Unlike veterans serving less than 20 years, who have limited options in obtaining a veterans ID card, retired military veterans can be eligible to receive a DD Form 2 ID card, which is blue in color. See the Military and Veteran ID cards page for more information.

Next are military retirement benefits. Detailed information about these VA benefits can be found at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Anything that requires a form for enrollment, such as VA Health Care and the GI Bill, can be found at eBenefits.

Veterans Discounts – Many businesses offer discounts that favor retirees. We’ve compiled lists of the most popular military and veterans discounts, which vary based on the business and the location.

GI Bill – Education benefits are available for eligible veterans, or for their family members should they choose to transfer benefits. More information on the GI Bill can be found on our Veterans Education Page. Most likely, if you are a retired military veteran, you will receive 100% of your GI Bill benefits. This can be an opening step to your civilian career post military.

Retirement Pay – Military retirement pay is dependent on the number of years served and when the service member enlisted. A breakdown of how military retirement pay is calculated can be found at “Understanding Military Retirement Pay.” This also includes a breakdown of retirement COLA and CBS/Redux. Military retirement pay can be managed on the DFAS website.

Disability – All disability is calculated on a per case basis. Disability claims must be submitted to the VA and processed; one claim per separate injury.

VA Health Care – Enrollment can be done online or in person at a local VA Medical Center, at which time eligibility is determined. This health care is only coverage for the veteran. Additional health insurance would be necessary for dependents.

VA Dental Care – Although dental care through the VA is limited, it is available to veterans with a service-connected dental disability. A single visit is also available through for veterans within 180 days of discharge if a full dental examination was not conducted prior to discharge.

VA Home Loan – The VA Home Loan is not only available to veterans, but to their surviving spouses as well. Active duty service members may also be eligible for this loan, which may be something to consider when approaching retirement.

Veterans Group Life Insurance – The VGLI is just one type of life insurance available to retired veterans. The VA also offers Service-Disabled Veteran Insurance, or S-DVI, as well as Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance, which aids in the settling of a mortgage in the event of death. There is also Financial Aid Counseling for beneficiaries as well as assistance in online will preparation.

For more information on veterans benefits available to you, visit the websites of the city, county, and state you reside in. These should have information on state and local benefits offered to veterans and retirees who live in those areas.

Transition: 5 Mistakes You Want to Avoid

Transition: It’s harder and easier than you think. At least that’s what I’m beginning to see six months after our transition out of the Marine Corps.

And while there was a lot I did right, there was a lot I did wrong, too.

So I sat down with my husband and his buddies for a Transition After Action Report to hash out the five things you shouldn’t do that don’t make anything better.

1. Don’t act like you’re finally bring sprung from jail.

When we found out we were leaving active duty, my first thought may have been one of fear, but my second thought was something like a happy dance on steroids.

I even blurted out, within seconds of learning that we were out and my husband’s career dreams were dashed, “On the upside, we don’t have to live in this pit anymore!”

Except I used much more colorful language. Obviously, this was not my finest wife moment.

While we all know the reality — that getting to move someplace you actually want to go and can build your own, non-order-related dreams about is a lovely idea — pointing this out right away isn’t always the most sensitive approach.

In fact, in doing so, I succeeded in not only hurting my husband’s already sore feelings, but my reaction made him think I wasn’t happy with the life he had worked so hard to provide for so long.

Not only was he now potentially letting us down by facing unemployment, but he’d also failed at giving us a happy life.

That was not what I intended. That was totally what I did.

Instead, let the news sink in for a while before you vocalize where else you can go. Even if you’re overjoyed that your local pub might not double as a strip joint, let things settle down and then reframe the conversation to suit your new life.

Think about where you both want to live next. Think about the places where you can both build your careers. Take the time to dream and be excited about it — without making it worse.

2. Don’t play the “fear” track on endless repeat.

“OMG what are we going to do!” is not the most supportive refrain during a time of transition.

Apparently, I said it all the time for about six months.


The future looked pretty terrifying with unemployment on the horizon. But repeating negative statements like this is never constructive.

Save your anxiety for talks with your friends and your mom, but do not repeat your very grounded, honest and reasonable fear like a broken record to your service member.

3. Don’t point out that civilian jobs aren’t known for their job security.

Every job Bill looked at made me nervous. Have they downsized lately? Didn’t they just do layoffs? Is it always last-hired, first-fired?

He would tell me about a new job lead, and I’d lob another question at him. Every time, these questions boiled down to: “Honey, there’s no job security there. You know they can fire you, right? Like, at any time? On any Tuesday? Ever?”

I was the opposite of helpful on this count. So while honesty is always the best policy, sometimes full disclosure isn’t the best approach.

You don’t need to state the obvious. Instead, you need to relax. Getting fired is a potential reality every day in the civilian marketplace. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Even if it just did, there’s no reason to think it will again soon. Give your spouse your faith, and the benefit of the doubt.

4. Don’t pretend it’s all OK.

“It’s going to be fine,” was a fairly constant mantra of mine (with the added “even if we are living in my mom’s attic,” which was a real possibility for a while there).

Bill finally looked at me one day and said, through clenched teeth, that it might not be OK, and I need to acknowledge that. Touché, husband. Touché.

He adds: “This is really hard, and pretending it isn’t happening is good for no one. Accept it, work with it, and figure it out. If you’re not doing any work to make it that way, don’t say it’s going to be OK. But you have to do something. Don’t just say it’s fine if you’re not contributing to fixing the problem.”

Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to help. No matter where you are in your transition, start with these five steps.

A little elbow grease can go a long way, especially where your family is concerned. This is why we hashtag all our transition content with #familyreadiness on social media. Because while this is all hard and new and difficult, it’s all also about the future safety of your family.

And the lessons you’ve learned and mastered as a military spouse will pull you through it — particularly when you have family readiness in mind.

5. Don’t forget how hard this is — even if you’re leaving by choice.

This is one we heard again and again from friends. It doesn’t matter if you’re leaving because you have to, because you’re told to, or because you want to: Leaving is leaving, and leaving is hard.

Transition isn’t just about leaving a job, it’s about leaving a whole lifestyle, and with that, your spouse is leaving behind the nominative modifier that has defined his life for the last however many years.

Be sensitive to this. Of course, he or she will always be a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, but when they’re suddenly not that thing every day actively, it will feel different, and it will take some getting used to.

If your partner is anything like the ones we know, that may make him more moody or distant than usual. So know: It’s not you, it’s this. He’s redefining himself. It’s not easy. Don’t fight over it. Like anything else in life that is particularly hard, this too shall pass.