Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program
At this point you should have received, or are about to receive, the results of your Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). The items listed below are some vital information to help you make the transition as smooth as possible. Remember, you are not alone in this. The AFW2 team is here to help you make the transition and walk you through what you will need to be successful.
If you have been receiving ongoing behavioral health care, you may want to check out the in-Transition Program, which can help you while you are transitioning. The program provides support to service members who recently received or are receiving behavioral health care and are separating from active duty or otherwise are transitioning care to the DVA or TRICARE network. Also, Reserve component service members being activated who recently received or are receiving behavioral health care and must transition DVA care to an MTF or TRICARE network. This is a free, Department of Defense program, and is set up to coach, empower and connect service members during medical transitions. Bottom line, they can help if you are running into any road blocks while you are transiting. Review the in-Transition Fact Sheet.
While you are preparing for transition, the Empowerment in Transition team is here to help. In addition to services located at your local Airman & Family Readiness Center, our team is here to provide support with resume writing and preparation, interviewing skills and overall job search assistance. Additionally, remember one of the best websites to utilize for federal employment worldwide is:
https://www.usajobs.gov/. Below are some additional resources you may utilize if you have elected to seek employment after you transition from the military. Review the
Employment Fact Sheet.
Resources to Help Employers Make Connections with Veterans
E2I/OWF Regional Coordinators
OPERATION WARFIGHTER Application – Air Force
Operation Warfighter Fact Sheet
Schedule A Federal Hiring Authority Template
Schedule A Federal Hiring Fact Sheet
Each state has a state employment assistance agency; separatees or retirees can contact their respective state Veteran’s Service Organizations for more information. Also visit the
Empowerment in Transition web page for more information.
If you are interested in pursuing education after you transition not only can you utilize your Post 9-11 but the VA has a great program called the Vocational Rehabilitation Educational Program that may benefit you. Below are some additional resources; review the Education Fact Sheet.
Post 9-11 Educational Benefits
Understand that you financial status will fluctuate over the next 90-120 days after you are medically retired from the Air Force. Remember, your AF Retirement Pay file will be created NLT 30 days AFTER YOUR DOS. So, you will go a minimum of 30 days without being paid from the Air Force. Please prepare now and start saving to help you get through the minimum 30 DAY PAY GAP. Shortly after, you will start to receive your monthly Air Force Ret Pay and then approximately 90 days after your DOS you will start to receive your VA Disability Compensation.
If you have 20 years of service and a disability rating of 50 percent or higher you receive both entitlements (Air Force Ret Pay and VA Disability Compensation). If you do not have 20 years of service or do not have a disability rating of 50 percent of higher then you will not receive both entitlements (Air Force Ret Pay and VA Disability Compensation). You will receive whichever entitlement is the largest and the other entitlement will be partially or completely offset (you will not receive). Please read more about Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) on the
DFAS website. Remember your VA Pay IS NOT TAXED and Air Force Ret Pay which is COMBAT RELATED is NOT TAXED. If your AF Ret Pay is NON COMBAT RELATED then it will be taxed.
To view the current VA Pay Charts for your applicable Disability Rating and dependent status. Additionally you can use the other attached documents for DFAS Contact info in regards to your AF Retired Pay account.
Ensure your MyPay account is updated and accurate with contact info and backing information. Your MyPay account will be converted to an electronic retirement account statement (ERAS) account. This is basically the retired version of a LES.
Additionally you should receive your last active duty check within 10 days of retirement.
If this does not happen please contact your local finance office to ensure you receive it.
If you are ANG or Reserve and already receiving VA compensation then you need to let your Non-Medical Care Manager know as soon as possible so we notify DFAS and ensure you do not incur a debt for receiving dual payment when not authorized.
Failure to do this could result in you incurring a large debt that will have to be repaid to DFAS.
One of biggest issues/concerns our transitioning service members sometimes have is trying to figure out what their finances will look like once they get out. Sometimes they are very surprised how their current life style can be dramatically altered as result in income changes once they leave the military. To assist you so you have a rough idea of you immediate financial future, we have created a
Simple Monthly Budget spreadsheet. Simply apply your future monthly incomes and expenses and the spreadsheet will calculate your projected surplus/deficit.
Below are some additional resources:
DFAS Phone numbers
Wounded Warrior Pay Support
Electronic Retiree Account Statement
Once you receive your medical retirement orders ensure you send a copy to your AFW2 Lead Coordinator. Also, you need to ensure your local Military Personnel Section (MPS) is aware so they can load your virtual out-processing checklist. On your out-processing checklist you will need to verify your DD Form 214 Worksheet for accuracy. It is very important that this source document is as accurate as possible as you will earn specific entitlements and benefits based off its contents (especially with the VA).
Please review the resources below which provide detailed instructions on how to access your DD Form 214 Worksheet in vMPF and complete the review. It also provides instructions on how to access your completed DD Form 214 on your Date of Separation. Also, review the DD Form 214 Fact Sheet.
DD Form 214 myPers PSD Guide
DD 214 Website
NOTE: If you are ANG or Reserve you will only receive a DD Form 214 if you are on active orders. If you are not on active orders you will receive an NGB Form 22.
Both forms are completed by HQ ARPC. If for some reason you need to access your DD Form 214 Part 4 and you can no longer access it electronically you can use the attached form letter basically explaining that the Part 2 if sufficient for establishment of entitlements, benefits, and employment:
DD 214 Service Copy Memo
Attached is valuable information on TRICARE that will apply to you and your family members after you retire.
You will need to ensure you contact your Regional TRICARE Advisor no later than the 20th day of your projected retirement month and ensure your TRICARE region is updated as necessary and make your election for TRICARE Standard or Prime. Also ensure you review the costs associated with either election and ensure your payment plan is updated accordingly to prevent lapse in TRICARE Medical Coverage. Below is the TRICARE enrollment link. It provides information on the coverage available in your area and the online enrollment application process. The site also provides the contact information for your region if you have questions.
In addition to updating your TRICARE coverage, you need to ensure you obtain your
BLUE RETIRED ID Card no later than the 20th day of your retirement month. You can obtain your new RET ID card at any local MPS DEERS/RAPIDS locations. Go to
https://rapids-appointments.dmdc.osd.mil/ to search for the closest DEERS/RAPIDs station to your location and set up an appointment online. You will also need to ensure your dependents also receive new ID cards as appropriate. Ensuring DEERS is updated in a timely manner will facilitate your identification and tracking when you are making your TRICARE updates also. You will need to take two forms of ID with you to your appointment and a copy of your retirement orders.
For additional TRICARE assistance, you can also contact the Warrior Navigation and Assistance Program (WNAP),
https://www.humanamilitary.com/beneficary/plans-and-programs/wnap/. Their contact info is:
1-888-446-9627 Monday-Friday 730 am to 430 pm CST; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This program was specifically developed to help warriors and their families through the military and VA's health care systems, connect them with community resources, non-medical services, and civilian health care in order to return them to productive lives.
TRICARE Choices at a Glance
Ensure you obtain a complete copy of your medical and mental health records for your own personal file copy. You will need these documents later on when you are applying for benefits/entitlements with the VA and/or applying for Combat Related Special Compensation.
Contact your medical support team and ensure you request a 90-day supply of meds that will last you until you are registered with the VA once you have relocated and can obtain necessary medications. Remember you cannot register with the VA until you receive your DD Form 214. You will receive your DD Form 214 on your medical retirement date in vMPF.
Ensure you complete your required Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) briefing with your local SBP counselor who is normally located within your A&FRC. You will have to complete a
DD Form 2656 and forward a copy to your Non-Medical Care Manager. They will in turn forward a copy of your DD Form 2656 and medical retirement orders to DFAS to ensure your military retirement pay file is created in a timely fashion. Failure to complete your required SBP Briefing can result in your AF retirement pay file being created incorrectly or even delayed.
If you elect SBP coverage you can have your premiums deducted from your monthly VA disability compensation by visiting
Important for retiring Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Personnel: This group of individuals must receive their SBP brief from an active-duty SBP counselor, normally accomplished at an active-duty installation. Failure to do so could result in serious pay issues, to include not being paid or collecting a debt for being paid incorrectly. Talk to your AFW2 NMCM for additional information and insight.
If you do not qualify under the VA Caregiver Program you may want to check out the VA Aid & Attendance Program at http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp.
This is another VA Program for Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to pension.
Please review the attached VA Caregiver Program Brochure and application if you believe you may meet their program criteria. You can get more information on this program at: http://www.caregiver.va.gov/. You will need to apply for the VA Caregiver Program about 30-45 days prior to your established DOS (when it is established). This application will need to go through the VA for approval and processing. Below are some additional resources you may utilize if you have elected to seek employment after you transition from the military. Review the VA Caregiver fact sheet at: http://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil/About/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/1563721/va-caregiver-program/
Caregiver Resource Directory
VA Form 10-10CG Caregiver Application
Another valuable entitlement/benefit you can apply for is unemployment in your home state. Please go to the unemployment website at: http://fileunemployment.org/unemployment-benefits-comparison-by-state and select your state you are residing in to apply for unemployment compensation and benefits. You will have to provide a copy of your DD Form 214. Each state has specific rules and requirements you must meet, each state is not the same.
If you currently have Servicemen Group Life Insurance (SGLI) you can request to transfer it to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). You must apply within one year and 120 days from discharge. However, Veterans who submit their application within 240 days of discharge do not need to submit evidence of good health. Veterans who apply after the 240-day period must submit evidence of good health. If you have medical conditions that may make you uninsurable, you should protect yourself and apply within 240 days from separation because there is no health review during this period. You can apply for VGLI online or by mail. Please review the attachment below which is the application for VGLI and rates. To apply for VGLI online, go to: http://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/apply-for-VGLI.asp.
Application Instructions for Veterans’ Group Life Insurance
Also remember if you are recognized with a 100 percent VA Disability Rating you may want to check out the SGLI Disability Extension Program which provides free coverage for up to two years from your date of discharge. The SGLI Disability Extension is available to Veterans who are totally disabled and had SGLI coverage at the time of discharge. To be considered totally disabled, you must have a disability that prevents you from being gainfully employed OR have one of the following conditions, regardless of employment status:
A. Permanent loss of use of any of the following: both hands, one foot and one eye, both eyes, one hand and one foot, both feet, one hand and one eye
B. Total loss of hearing in both ears
C. Organic loss of speech (lost ability to express oneself, both by voice and whisper, through normal organs for speech. Note: Being able to speak with an artificial appliance is still considered a loss of speech.)If you are recognized with a 100 percent VA Disability Rating you can apply for a special program
Also, there is another $10,000 policy you can get, called the Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance (S-DVI). You can find out information one by going to: http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/s-dvi.asp. S-DVI is a life insurance benefit for Veterans who have service-connected disabilities who are otherwise in good health. You can apply for a waiver of premiums by simply annotating at the top of the form: “REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF PREMIUMS". Mail the completed application (http://www.benefits.va.gov/INSURANCE/forms/29-4364.pdf) to this address:
VA Insurance Center (RH)
P.O. Box 7208
Philadelphia PA 19101
(This applies to all service members – not based off VA Disability Rating)
If the waiver of premiums goes into effect, you then become eligible for an additional $20K in insurance ($30K total), but the additional $20K is not free. Review additional resources below:
Tips for How to Apply for SGLI Disability Extension
Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Disability Extension Application & Instructions
Application for Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance
Also remember Family SGLI is a program that provides term life insurance coverage to the spouses and dependent children of service members insured under SGLI. The service member pays the premium for spousal coverage. Dependent children are insured at no cost. Go to: http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/fsgli.asp for more info on FSGLI.
Check out the following Veterans benefits by state website and VA Fact Sheets for veterans programs you may qualify for:
Attached is referenced info for your review in regards to applying for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC). If you believe you are eligible, you can formally apply and submit the DD Form 2860 and all supporting documents (EPRs, Decorations, MH Records, Medical Records) after you are out of the service, after your retirement pay has started and after you have started receiving your VA Pay (approximately 90 days Post DOS).
Eligibility criteria is:
1. As a direct result of Armed Conflict
2. While engaged in hazardous service
3. In the performance of duty under conditions simulating war, or
4. Through instrumentality of WAR
Documents required to submit when applying are:
DD Form 2860, DD Form 214, AF Ret Orders, VA Final Disability Rating Letter, AF Form 356
MH Records (only portions that refer and document the COMBAT exposure)
NOT THE ENTIRE RECORD
Medical Records (only portions that refer to and document the COMBAT exposure)
Reference the additional resources below:
Combat-Related Special Compensation website
Compensation and Benefits Handbook
DD Form 2860
Combat-Related Special Compensation reference sheet
Recovering Airmen Mentorship Program (RAMP). RAMP promotes healing and growth for wounded warriors by connecting them with fellow wounded warriors who are further along in the recovery process. It has been said, “no one would understand what I am going through unless they themselves went through the same injury, illness or has faced the challenges that I am know facing”. We agree, that’s why the RAMP program was created. Reference the additional resources below:
RAMP Mentoree Application
If you are placed on the Temporary Disabled Retirement List (TDRL) you will need to ensure you keep in close contact with the AF TDRL office to schedule your medical review after you get out of the service. Whatever medical condition you were medically retired for will determine what medical review you are required to complete and when. Keep their office updated on your current cell phone, email, mailing address etc. You can email their office directly at email@example.com.
If you have been placed on TDRL, your journey through the Air Force Disability Evaluation System is not complete. You have been temporarily retired because the Air Force has an obligation to ensure you continue to receive proper medical treatment/services for your unfitting condition(s) and that these conditions are stable before they make a final determination on your permanent retirement or discharge. This is why it is extremely important that you continue attending your VA or TRICARE affiliated medical appointments and that you respond immediately to any attempts by the Air Force TDRL office or our team to contact you.
It cannot be over-emphasized to keep in close contact with the Air Force’s TDRL office. This office will ensure you have a scheduled medical review after you get out of the service. Whatever medical condition you were medically retired for will determine what medical review you are required to complete and when.
If your VA re-evaluation is later than 6 months after being removed from active duty and your TDRL condition is listed in your new VA rating summary letter, let the TDRL office know by emailing them at the above address. The TDRL office could potentially use that reevaluation to make a final decision which could shorten your time on the TDRL.
As a commitment by Air Force senior leaders and AFW2 for your service, we will have a dedicated team whose sole mission is to ensure your TDRL process goes smoothly. Sometime after you have been retired for at least 6 months, your AFW2 case will be transferred to a Transition Counselor who works for the Temporary Retired Airmen’s Care (TRAC) team. Once your TRAC Transition Counselor makes contact with you, they will conduct an assessment to determine if you, your spouse or caregiver have any needs with which we can assist you. In this case a Transition Counselor will be available to you throughout the entire TDRL process.
If removed from TDRL and placed on PDRL, email with the following information to request your AF Chief of Staff “Certificate of Retirement”, Commander in Chief “Certificate of Appreciation”, and if applicable, the AF Chief of Staff “Spouse Certificate of Appreciation”:
FIRST, MI, LAST
RETIREMENT DATE (DATE REMOVED FROM TDRL…NOT FROM ACTIVE DUTY)
SPOUSE’S FIRST, MI, LAST (WE DO VERIFY DEERS)
Airmen cannot request a retirement/discharge certificate until removed from TDRL because Airmen do not accrue active duty time while on TDRL, they will not receive additional DD Form 214. Check out some of the Frequently Asked Questions surrounding TDRL.
Ensure you set up your eBenefits account online at: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/homepage. eBenefits is a great asset to use while you are transitioning. Some of the services provided:
Free Premium Account
Secure environment where you can safely access your personal information and perform self-service tasks
Monitor VA Claims
Personalized dashboard to suit preferences
Access the National Resource Directory to find links to resource based on subjects of interest
The NRD is all-in-one resource website that connects wounded warriors, veterans, and their families to programs and services that support them. It provides access to services and resources at the national, state, and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Visitors can find information on a variety of topics that supply an abundance of vetted resources. See it in action by visiting: https://nrd.gov/
Once you are either permanently retired or separated, you will receive an invitation to AFW2’S Airman for Life (A4L) Program. A4L is a new AFW2 initiative that provides AFW2 enrolled veterans in PDRL or separated status (not TDRL) an opportunity to join a closed social media platform where they can obtain referral resources, specialized information, be inspired, and communicate with one another or RCPMs who monitor the site. AFW2’s hope is that this social media platform will further continue to connect wounded, ill & injured Airmen veterans with each other and their AFW2 family. Learn more about the program by visiting the Airman for Life web page.
Anyone can refer an Airman into the AFW2 program; download the worksheet by clicking the button below and submit the finalized form via email.