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VA study finds Transition Assistance Program worthwhile

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released today, results of the first long-term study aimed at determining the effectiveness of the VA Transition Assistance Program (TAP) — and its impact on Veterans in their civilian life.

The 2019 Post-Separation Transition Assistance Program Assessment (PSTAP) Outcome Study Report, and appendices, commissioned by the Veterans Benefits Administration, outlines the results from the first year of a multi-year study.

Designed to assess what drives Veteran satisfaction in TAP, the study identifies how best to improve Veteran experience and the delivery of benefits and services — ultimately improving their long-term outcomes across various aspects of their lives.

“Service members transitioning to civilian life have served our country well,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It is important for VA to know what our Veterans want and need to make this transition successful. This study provides invaluable feedback we can use to make the TAP program even more beneficial.”

Cross-sectional surveys were created to get feedback in response to the research. It looks at service member transition in three groups: Veterans separated for six months, those separated for one year and those separated for three years. The survey uses data from these groups to obtain feedback annually, while tracking transition outcome success of those who opt-in to the longer-term study.

2019 survey results revealed:

  • The majority of Veterans found TAP courses beneficial.
  • The TAP VA benefits briefings received an 85% positive rating and were deemed most useful by respondents.
  • Most respondents (67%) said they adjusted well to civilian life after separation, are making progress toward their post-military goals and generally employed in full-time, permanent positions.
  • Many Veterans (70%) felt the transition was challenging with an array of causes, including nostalgia for the camaraderie and teamwork they experienced in the military.

The study and surveys were developed and conducted in coordination with the TAP interagency group, led by VA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor.

Approximately 200,000 service members transition from the military each year. TAP provides information, resources and tools to service members and their loved ones to help prepare for the move from military to civilian life.

Service members begin TAP no later than one year prior to separation or up to two years prior to retiring. The VA portion of TAP features an in depth briefing and available one-on-one assistance by benefits advisors who help transitioning service members understand the benefits and services earned.

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