Separating from the service is a once-in-a-lifetime ordeal that can be difficult to navigate alone. Recognizing this, the VA will begin reaching out to veterans during the first year following their separation as they transition to civilian life.
The new Solid Start program will see the VA making the first contact with veterans within the first 90 days of their transition, ensuring they have access to their VA benefits and any resources they may need. It is anticipated that this proactive outreach program will benefit more than 200,000 transitioning service members annually.
On the Right Foot
This program will allow the VA to guide veterans through the next phase of their lives with the full knowledge of their benefits and the resources available to them through the VA and other sources. VA representatives initiate contact by phone and email, with the intent of holding a meaningful conversation about the veteran’s unique needs and preferences. Understanding each veteran need will help the representative offer the appropriate resources, rather than drown them in options.
After the initial contact, follow-up calls will occur that allow representatives to follow the veteran’s progress and ensure that additional resources are made available that are specific to the veteran’s ongoing and changing needs. In short, the goal is to give each veteran a solid start.
Forging a Friendship
While the veteran’s mission has come to an end, the mission of the VA is ongoing. As veterans focus on the future and the cultivation of civilian life, the VA will be there as a helping hand and a shoulder to lean on. Representatives will be trained and available to guide veterans through common situations, such as applying for home loans and healthcare, to more complex scenarios involving disability and more. Conversations will be documented and the lines of communication will remain open, allowing veterans to continue the personal care they receive in each phone call.
Forward to the Future
While Solid Start is aimed at the initial transition to civilian life, the VA serves as a lifeline for veterans for the rest of their lives. Many VA representatives are former service members themselves and the Solid Start program utilizes their firsthand expertise and experience to provide the best service possible to the veterans that need it most.
While many services are available to some, the most critical service of all is available to all veterans. All transitioning members, regardless of discharge status or service history, receive free mental health resources for up to a year. Suicide is a problem that disproportionately affects veterans, especially those in transition. If the VA calls, please pick up the line.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1; send a text to 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net. The representatives there provide free, confidential support and crisis intervention 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.