A successful transition from Service to civilian life depends to a large extent on effective planning and taking action to meet your career and lifestyle goals. This enables you to manage the separation on your terms. Generally speaking, the earlier the start the easier is the decision to go, or to stay, and the more prepared you are for the transition to the civilian workforce.
What To Do Now
Whatever your time in uniform, now is the time to consider your future, in terms of making the best of your Service career, laying out a plan for eventual separation, and generally planning for the future.
It’s understandable that Defence personnel just starting out in their careers, don’t want to think about the mundane planning for the future, which seems so far off. Who wants to think about superannuation, home ownership, financial planning and supplementary training when there’s good times to be had.
People who commit some of their time and resources to prepare even a loose plan for the future benefit from time: time to watch investments grow; time to acquire valuable education, training and skills; time for family; and time to consider the next career move.
3-4 Years Prior to Discharge
Apply for a Transition Seminar. Tri-Service transition seminars that consolidate information and advice on various aspects of transition are conducted in all capital cities and in other centres. Details are available from your Unit Resettlement Officer.
DFRDB/MSBS/ADF Super. Write to ComSuper for advice on specific entitlements. You will be entitled to superannuation benefits from your respective military superannuation fund.
1-4 Years Prior to Discharge
Training. Use the Defence Assisted Study Scheme (DASS) to undertake training that may help you obtain qualifications necessary for your post-discharge employment. All ADF members serving on full time continuous service are eligible to apply for assistance, which provides sponsorship for short vocational, education and training courses undertaken in preparation for re-entry into civilian life.
12 Months to Go
Career Transition Assistance. Find out from your Resettlement Officer about eligibility for benefits under the Career Transition Assistance Scheme. The CTAS is a tiered benefit based on completed years of service. The scheme assists with employment opportunities after you leave the ADF.
Apply for a second Transition Seminar. Areas covered include advice on: job seeking techniques and employment prospects; self employment; transition to the civilian work place/life style; benefits available, e.g. superannuation, housing, loans, compensation, veteran’s entitlements; and management of personal affairs, eg investment, taxation, wills.
6 Months to Go
Write to ComSuper or ADF Super requesting confirmation of entitlements.
Previous Service. Ensure that any relevant previous service has been recognised for LSL purposes.
Apply for Discharge. Application for Resignation, Discharge or Transfer to the Reserves should be processed through your relevant Career Management Agency via your supervisor. You should apply for discharge/ resignation allowing at least three calendar months’ effective service before your intended discharge date.
Long Service Leave. If you wish to take LSL before your discharge, your application should be forwarded six months before the desired date of commencement. Eligibility for LSL accrues at the rate of three months for the first 10 years and 0.3 months for each year over 10 years. LSL may either be taken during service on full or half pay in which case tax is payable as for normal income.
Health Insurance. Before you leave the ADF you should consider carefully your health insurance needs. Changes to private health insurance, namely Lifetime Health Cover, have significant implications for members separating from the ADF. On ceasing full-time service, you have two years or until you reach the age of 31, to join a health fund without detriment.
3 Months to Discharge
Removal. Arrange an interview with the relevant removals staff.
Pay in Lieu of Long Service Leave. Your Unit Pay Centre will assist you to make an application for pay in lieu of LSL. Check with your future employer to ascertain whether it is possible to transfer LSL credits to your new employment.
Medical and dental examination. Arrange an appointment for final medical and dental examinations. You will need to organise treatment, where necessary, to be carried out.
Health insurance and ambulance. Reconsider your health insurance situation and make the necessary arrangements with DefenceHealth/ NHBS, private insurance health schemes and/or ambulance funds.
Tradesman Certificate. Ensure your Record of Training has been accredited by the appropriate authority.
Will. Ensure you have made arrangements to collect your will and/or make a new will.
Close to discharge date
Housing. Tenants of Defence homes are expected to vacate their quarter on discharge or retirement, but an extension may be approved under certain circumstances. Seek approval for an extension from your Service Housing Authority in advance of discharge.
Housing Loan. You should establish your eligibility for a DSH Loan/Defence Home Owner Loan; Bank/Building Society Loan; and Home Purchase or Sale Expenses Allowance.
Repatriation and Compensation. If you are injured, or develop an illness linked to your service in the ADF, you may be eligible for compensation. The Military Compensation Scheme (MCS) provides members with compensation and rehabilitation cover. The Military Compensation and Rehabilitation Service website (www.dva.gov.au/adf/mcrs/) allows you to assess your eligibility.
Note: This timeline and schedule is not exhaustive, nor it is authoritative. It is a guide as to the type of considerations and actions required. Members are strongly urged to seek advice from respective Service authorities when planning for future separation from the Defence Forces.