Changes are coming to the Transition Assistance Program

DOD TAP program seal with six department of government seals

The Transition Assistance Program will replace the Veteran's Opportunity to Work Act on Oct. 1, 2019. The new program for transitioning military members will now consist of four components instead of three.


Changes to the Transition Assistance Program process are scheduled to begin Oct. 1 that will replace the Veteran’s Opportunity to Work Act requirements with new TAP requirements.

The new program for transitioning military members will now consist of four components instead of three.

“Service members will still have contact with us multiple times throughout their transition, but the timeline for transition begins much sooner,” said Aimee Salter, TAP manager. “Although there are additional requirements, the TAP process is more tailored to the members’ post-military goals.”

The new TAP process will identify a pathway for transitioning service members. Each member will be required to complete various workshops based on his or her level of preparedness and post-military goals, such as going to school, finding another job, or starting their own business.

The first component is the initial counseling that must be completed no later than 365 days prior to the service member’s official separation or retirement date. Members will be required to hand-carry paperwork and forms mandated by law for this session. These sessions are designed to bring awareness of the resources available and help identify the member’s transition pathway.

The second component is the pre-separation briefing. This briefing must also be accomplished no later than 365 days prior to the member’s official date of separation or retirement. This timeline is much sooner than the 90-day Veteran’s Opportunity to Work Act requirement and allows service members more time to research and use all off the resources available to them.

The third component are specialized TAP workshops. These include the required VA Benefits and Service briefing, a Department of Labor employment workshop and the Department of Defense day briefing that covers finances, resiliency and a Military Occupational Code crosswalk to identify skills and career goals. Members may also be required to attend additional two-day tracks depending on their selected path.

The fourth component is the capstone, a one-on-one appointment with a transition counselor who verifies the member has completed all career readiness standards and is ready to retire or separate from the military.

“I encourage service members to make the most of TAP,” Salter said. “This is their benefit - there is a lot of information and a lot of resources available to aide in a successful transition.”

The TAP began in 1991 and President Obama signed the Veteran’s Opportunity to Work Act in 2011 making TAP mandatory for all separating and retiring service members.

Components from 2011 will still be in effect until Oct. 1. Those currently in the program will be able to complete the TAP program as it is while members starting the program after Oct. 1 will follow the new TAP process.

For additional information about the program, you can contact Aimee Salter at (402) 294-4329.