How do you make your transition as successful as possible? Taking the initiative is key!
When leaving the military, you need to assume responsibility for all aspects of your life, from accommodation to your healthcare, finances and family.
It is critical that you have organised the following prior to your discharge:
Finding alternative accommodation should be your top priority as there is a high likelihood you will be expected to vacate a Defence property on or before your date of discharge. By organising your housing as early as possible, you will also alleviate a lot of stress when you discharge.
Some things to consider when looking for housing include:
What city/state do I want to live in?
Is the area affordable to live in?
Do I know anyone in the area?
Are the services I want to use accessible (e.g. gyms, schools, public transport)
Is it a safe/low crime area?
Do I have a support network nearby in the event of an emergency?
Is the location close to work opportunities?
You should also consider whether you will be prepared to relocate for employment opportunities. For example, Vertical Scope Group and the WPA program primarily operate in Canberra, ACT. When looking for accommodation, speaking to a local real estate agent can give you great insights into the neighbourhood and whether an area is suitable for you.
The ADF provide a suite of free medical care for you while you are serving. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in the civilian life. Before leaving the ADF, it is a great idea to find a civilian General Practitioner, Dentist and Physiotherapist/Osteo to help manage your regular healthcare once you have successfully transitioned. Speaking to your friends and family can be a great way to find suitable healthcare professionals. It is also advised that you investigate getting Ambulance cover as Medicare will not cover any emergency transport.
You should also have every injury recorded on your medical record to clearly document which injuries (if any) have been attributed to your time in Defence as this can assist you as you get older. It is also recommended that you get an electronic and hardcopy of your medical record for future reference. You should also ensure that you have registered for a Medicare Card through the Department of Human Services. Medicare subsidies can assist you with covering any Doctor, Specialist and hospital costs post discharge.
Prior to leaving Defence, it is important that you consider organising private health insurance which will meet your healthcare needs. There are a variety of providers such as Defence Heath who offer competitive rates and benefits to veterans. Always consider a health insurance providers waiting periods, terms and conditions regarding pre-existing conditions and the cost of any optional extras they provide.
Be Aware of Medical Fees and Charges
While you are full time in the ADF, you are exempt from the Medicare Level Surcharge (MLS). When discharging, you need to be aware that all civilians pay a 2% MLS charge to help fund Medicare. This MLS charge is managed through your tax return. Other healthcare charges include a penalty for anyone over 30 years old who does not have private hospital cover.
Your mental health is one of, if not the most important element of your healthcare. The transition process can be very daunting and stressful as it can be a significant lifestyle shock when moving into civilian life. Speaking to your GP about any feelings of anxiety is an important step to managing your mental health along with contacting organisations like Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) and the Health hot line for ADF members (1800 467 425). You can also reach out to the WPA team, friends and family for advice during the transition process and consider joining veterans associations or clubs to maintain some connection with Defence.
Defence is a physical environment. Therefore, it is recommended that you continue to maintain regular physical fitness activities after transitioning out of the ADF. This can include anything from hiking, running, gym or martial arts. By keeping active, you help prevent further injuries and assist with the transition mindset.
Check out useful resources like Engage for a comprehensive list of financial, legal, healthcare, housing and family support services - engage.forcenet.gov.au
Finances & Superannuation
Your financial situation is critically important and you should try to have a reserve supply of funds to pay for any unforeseen expenses which may arise. Some common costs of transitioning successfully include paying for the certifications needed to obtain your desired job, obtaining professional CV and employment advice, and maintaining your lifestyle while you are in the process of obtaining civilian employment. It is critical that you take your time to be comfortable with any financial decisions that you make.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) can assist you with specific financial resources and advice, and it is recommended that you visit the Money Smart government platform (https://moneysmart.gov.au/). The ADF Financial Services Consumer Centre also provides great financial advice guides on how to manage your money, investment options, budgeting, reducing debt and deciding whether you need professional financial advice (https://adfconsumer.gov.au/your-money-guides/getting-financial-advice/).
Superannuation is another key aspect of your transition which you will need to carefully manage. Depending on whether you are transitioning into a corporate or government role, you may need to create a new superannuation account. This is because certain Commonwealth Superannuation Schemes such as the Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme (MSBS) are restricted funds which only allow Defence and Defence associated organsiations to contribute to them. If you are seeking to transition into a non-government role, you will need to find a new superannuation fund when you move into the corporate sector.
The below table provides a high level overview of the different superannuation fund types available to assist you in identifying one which meets your needs. Industry Super Funds are the most common type you will come across.
Need for advice
Simple, Low cost
More choice, Higher cost
Greater control, More cost effective for larger balances
Thank you to our WorkPath Australia participants for your help in the creation of this article. If you have any tips to assist veterans in making their transition as seamless as possible, please let us know!
If you need advice planning your transition and are interested in a ICT or Cyber career, contact us today.
Visit the WorkPath Australia Employment Program website to learn more about transitioning into your post-service career.
Vertical Scope Group are proud to have partnered with Transformed, Australia’s leading Registered Training Organisation to help veterans seamlessly transition from the military. Transformed specialise in delivering nationally recognised, world-class training and offer veterans tailored study plans so that they can professionally upskill while still in uniform.
To learn more about how they can help you plan your civilian career please visit their website: www.transformed.com.au