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July 25, 2022

Mil Spouse Podcast Spotlight: Life After The Uniform with Erin

Mil Spouse Podcast Spotlight: Life After The Uniform with Erin

Wrapping up our mil spouse podcast series, today I am talking to Erin who is the host of the Life After The Uniform podcast. Erin isn't a mil spouse, but is active reserves and I thought the topic of transitioning out of the military is a HUGE milestone and change, and I think Erin's podcast is a wealth of information!

Erin shares her top issues she has seen or heard from military members when they are transitioning out, like VA benefits and medical, GI bill benefits and how you incur a 3 year service commitment when you transfer them to your spouse or kids!

We talk about getting your finances in order and being prepared for the change in pay and instability that can come with job hunting when transferring to the private sector.

I hope you find lots of value from this episode and from Erin's podcast. Please email me and let me know if you want me to dive deeper into anything we talked about today!

To listen to Erins podcast:
Life After The Uniform

Connect with Erin on IG

I so appreciate you listening to the show!

If you wouldn’t mind leaving a rating and review I would really appreciate it!!

To get in touch with Alison with questions or potential topics or guests please email


Follow us on IG @themilspousepodcast
 And please check out our brand spanking new website! www.themilspousepodcast.com


Life After The Uniform Podcast

[00:00:00] Alison: This is actually our last mill spouse podcast spotlight, and we are talking to Erin. Who's actually not a mill spouse.

[00:00:07] Not a mill spouse, but you are active reserves. You have a, you have an interesting military story. You're in the military. I'm just gonna say you're in the military because you are pretty much and you have been for a lot of your career, so we're gonna, yeah. We'll get into all of that stuff. so Erin's podcast is called life after the uniform and I wanted to have her come on the show one, because we met in the, we both started our podcast at the same time.

[00:00:30] So we met in that space, which is kind of. And then, the other part of it is I feel like as I've been following your show and some of the topics that you've talked about and things like that. And I think that there's a lot of things that we don't think about as military spouses that, you know, because you're part of a partnership, right?

[00:00:46] When your spouse is getting out, it's a big change for you too. So there's information for everybody, but I feel like there's a lot of stuff. You just don't think about actually, we were just talking before we hit record about some of the things that you just don't think about as you're on your way out.

[00:00:59] So we're kind of gonna get into that stuff too. So Aaron, welcome to the show. I'm happy to have you here. And, let's just kind of jump in with your relationship to the military. 

[00:01:10] Erin: Okay, well, thank you for having me on you were actually one of my very first interviews when I started my podcast. So yeah, I'm happy now that I can come on your podcast.

[00:01:19] Yeah. Uh, but I am, what's called an Ima in the air force. So an Ima is very similar to a. Reservist, we are individual mobility augmentees and essentially what that means is when you are reservist, you're attached to a reserve unit and I have done that. but as an Imma, you are attached to an active duty unit and you support that active duty unit.

[00:01:44] Mm-hmm . So rather than going one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year, you basically work when the active duty unit needs you. On top of that, I actually work on active duty orders. With that active duty unit. So I work for the exercise science unit at a Randolph air force base in Texas, in my position.

[00:02:04] And this is true for most reservists. This may sound familiar. If you know, are reservist, it's called the 10 95 rule. Basically you can work three years on active duty. Then you do have to take a year off it resets the clock, and then you can go back on active duty. So I live in. DC, Maryland, Virginia area.

[00:02:22] It's very common here. We have the Pentagon, we have multiple military bases. So there is a lot of that that happens in this area. And, so if you were outside the area, maybe it's something new to you. but that is my current position. My military career started all the way back in the mid nineties. I was only in one year I separated due to pregnancy.

[00:02:44] Then I had. 13 year gap where I didn't do anything military related and then reenlisted in 2010. I reenlisted into the reserves then later on became an Ima. And that's kind of the path from the mid nineties all the way to 2022. Goodness. Yeah. It's been a long, you know, it's, it's interesting. I don't feel bad until I think about my friends that I had that like retired in 2016 or 2017, like in.

[00:03:17] They've done their 20 years and I'm like, gosh, I'm not gonna retire until 2030. Like I'm not eligible to retire until 2030. . Yeah. So that's where I start feeling like, oh gosh, this is, I have a long haul ahead of me, even though I have a lot of years behind me as well. 

[00:03:30] Alison: Right. Yeah. And so you got out to have your family, so is that, I, I think that it's something I've been hearing about recently, it was when I did my interview with the spouse angle podcast and they were talking about a show that they had done, with results from a study. And they sh and it was saying that a lot of mil, and I don't know what the percentage was. but they had the data for that of, military families that are getting out for family planning purposes.

[00:03:57] Mm-hmm because it's just, it's it's there's well, if you. If you have fertility issues, Tricare doesn't cover any of that stuff. Right. And a lot of private insurances do. and then just the op tempo for a lot of people is not conducive to having a family. So there's a lot of people that are separating because of, of family planning stuff.

[00:04:14] So it sounds like that was kind of your, your space, like that time to, you know, to, to have your family to be a mom. And the military is not always, not always an easy place to be that, to do that. 

[00:04:26] Erin: Right. Yeah, and I mean, I would, there's a lot of good things that the military can do for you. if you do have a family, there is some safety there.

[00:04:37] You basically, you have your medical, your dental, you can live on base housing if need be, you know, you're getting a paycheck on the first and the 15th, so it can be good for you. It just depends on your specific situation. As far as like people getting. I, I hear that a lot, especially if, if it's mill to mill mm-hmm that can be very, very difficult mill to mill mm-hmm or like you said, like maybe your, your priorities just change, you know, you were career focused and now you're having a family and then your focus changes.

[00:05:10] So very, I mean, I, I can definitely see why people would get out, but I can also see why people would stay in, especially like right now in this economy and the uncertainty of a lot of things that are happening right now, where the military can offer that safety net. And if, if you are in and you're happy where you, the career path that you're on, I can see you can balance it as well.

[00:05:30] It's difficult. That's not to say it's not difficult on the civilian side as well. Cause I did that as well, even though I, I left the military, it still worked. So I still had to do some juggling. Now I didn't have to PCs. I didn't have to deploy. I mean, there was obviously differences there, but there was still some balance that had to take place.

[00:05:47] Alison: Yeah, for sure. You're in a unique spot in that you're the, the Ima and kind of like the active reserve part. so what made you want to start your podcast? 

[00:06:00] Erin: So my podcast life after the uniform started because of questions that I would get from people that I knew that were retiring, especially in, like I said, 2000 16, 17, 18, like those times I really, my podcast thought.

[00:06:15] Came to me in 2020. and then I launched, January of this year, 2022. So it was a little bit of a thinking process, but I knew something had to be done because these military members, friends of mine were spending 20 years in the military and then thinking they're just going to retire. And most of them were retiring late thirties, maybe early forties, mid forties, and thinking they're just gonna go do another job.

[00:06:39] And it's never that easy. So they were running into issues as far. Things to do with retirement, disability, resume writing, finding jobs, not knowing where to live, and, and the list will just financial situations, things like that. A lot of the reason behind my podcast was to answer the question, this, I wish I would've known this, or what should I have known before I retire before I hit that button?

[00:07:05] because maybe you're looking at retirement through rose colored glasses and thinking I'm just gonna retire and start this new phase of my life. But it's not like you open one door or close one door and walk through another one. Mm-hmm that's generally not how it happens. So that was where the, podcast was birthed.

[00:07:23] Alison: Yeah. So in that process, so what, what are, what are those big, like hot button issues that you have seen? And, and as you've put out the shows that you have so far, are kind of those big issues that people maybe, you know, like you were saying that have those rose color glasses on that just don't think about.

[00:07:40] Or so for one, one that I know of, is, and we talked about this beforehand as well, is the GI benefit. Right. So if you have your GI bill and you, as the military member, don't use your GI bill, you are eligible to pass it along to your spouse or your kids, which is a huge benefit. Right. But what a lot of people don't know is that when you select to transfer your benefit, they require a three year commit.

[00:08:08] Of service. So it doesn't, and, and when we were just talking about how ridiculous this is, but like, so for example, you've been in for 22 years and you're ready to retire and get out, and you want your kids to be able to use your GI bill. You still owe three more years. It doesn't matter. You've done 22.

[00:08:26] they want three from the time your paperwork hits their program. 

[00:08:31] Erin: to be able to, it is. And it's, it can be very frustrating. Mm-hmm especially if you're doing this while you,

[00:08:40] . And you're kind of checking things off your list. And one of the things is okay. Transfer GI bill. and then you realize that you've just incurred a three year service commitment because of that, that can be devastating so, yes, that is one of the things that you do wanna take care of in advance.

[00:08:56] One thing also on top of that is you only need to transfer a month. You can change your percentage transferred at any point, and that does not incur an additional service commitment. However, they do need to at least have that. And then you can do, you can switch that all around. So if you have multiple, if you have a spouse and children, or you just have multiple children or whatever that is, you can keep part of it yourself.

[00:09:22] just make sure you transfer at least a month. and, you know, incur that three year service commitment, and then you can change your percentages around however you want as needed. 

[00:09:31] Alison: Mm-hmm oh, that's good to know. But yeah, that's, I mean, but just like ahead of time, like you need to be, you can't be like going through your tax classes.

[00:09:37] Hey, we're getting out. Oh, by the way. right. Did you know? So are there any other kind, what are, so, so what are some of the, kind of the big issues that you've seen just from, like you were saying, your, your friends and colleagues that have transitioned out and then in the interviews that you did and the topics that you talked about on your show?

[00:09:53] What are some of the, kind of the big things that people should be aware of as they're transitioning out, 

[00:09:58] Erin: I'm going to say something that people probably have always said before, but hopefully it resonates anyway and it like, hopefully you really are listening. It is never too early. There it is just, it can be too late.

[00:10:10] Like you said, like with the GI bill, it can be too late unless you wanna do another three years, but it really is never too early to start that planning. So some of the things that you might wanna look at is if something's happened to you, medical. And you are thinking, oh, well that's gonna be a disability claim when I retire.

[00:10:28] You need to make sure not only is that documented, it needs to be dieted, something that is military or service connected. Yes. Documented. Yes. I've seen, and I hurt my ankle while. What was the diagnosis along with that, because that is gonna make it so much easier when you do complete your, disability claims that, that process.

[00:10:50] and you wanna claim everything you wanna that's something else. People sometimes think, well, I didn't deserve it. I, I didn't see combat. I didn't. Whatever their reason is they don't think that they deserve it. Well, not only do you deserve it, but your dependents deserve it as well. Like they, that income is you deserve it.

[00:11:08] Erin: You worked your 20 years. If there is something that a service connected that happened to you while you were in the military, you need to claim it and let. Let them decide you, you may appeal it, but let them decide. Don't if you don't claim it, you won't get it. They're not going to tell you something. so you need to claim it.

[00:11:28] The other thing is with the, the it's called benefits delivery at discharge. You need to start that as soon as you can. And I wanna say, and I. I've been on a hiatus from my podcast and I should have gone back and looked, but I think it's 180 days prior. You can start the BD process and you just go onto va.gov and you can start that process so that when you do retire, you can start receiving your, VA disability.

[00:11:52] Okay. You wanna be able to start receiving that payment as soon as possible. And if you complete the BD that benefits delivery at discharge, if you do that while you're still serving, you have a better likelihood of receiving your disability, payment when you retire. Mm-hmm on top of that as well is if there is something with your claim that you feel like was not.

[00:12:14] taking care of appropriately, you can appeal that you don't necessarily need to take the first, no. As the. End all be all. Yeah. If you need to appeal it, appeal it. and there's a lot of resources on that. There's a lot of information. You can Google it. You can listen to past episodes of mine. I had an episode with someone named Steven Crane who is really, knowledgeable in this arena, but you can Google it.

[00:12:36] Erin: There's lots of Facebook groups. There's a huge community around the VA disability process, but mm-hmm , that would be one thing that I would mention that people just. Didn't know to do. The other thing is, is kind of going along with the GI bill too, is get your finances in order as well. You are going to be going through a huge life change probably more than, you know, so make sure your finances are on order.

[00:13:00] What is, what does your budget look like? And, you know, budget can be seen as a bad word. That's however you wanna do it. However, you look at your finance. Hmm, and be able to prepare, prepare for three to six months, maybe without a stream of income, you know, hopefully you can retire and then start a new position as, as soon as you want to, if that's what your plan is, but that may not be the case.

[00:13:22] And there are going to be so many people that are going to tell you, oh, you're, retirment retiring. I know about this position. I know about that position. Oh, I have a friend who works wherever they can. They can get you a job. Them saying that versus it actually happening, it falls through more times than I can tell you.

[00:13:40] Budget cuts happen. Positions go away. Reduction force happens on the civilian side. Just like it happens on the military side mm-hmm . So unless you have a contract saying that you have a start date, do not. Believe that that's going to happen if it does fantastic. But if it doesn't be prepared with your finances mm.

[00:13:58] And that goes for your spouse as well, make sure that it, the finances as a whole, I'll just say that the other part of that is there is a program called D O D skill bridge. And I think it is a fantastic program that a lot of people don't know about or don't take advantage of. And it's not guaranteed.

[00:14:14] You do have to apply for and be, approved by your command, but apply for it. It gives you the opportunity opportunity 180 days out from retirement to work for a civilian company agency and still get paid by the military. So it's a, win-win you get experience with a company. You get to see if that's the culture that you like, the company doesn't have to pay for you because the military is paying for you.

[00:14:40] It is just a really good way to kind of be able to still have the safety net of the military. but get to see the civilian, world as well, as far as the workplace goes. And I, I sent you a link. I don't know if you saw it, but, this is now opened up to military spouses as well, which is huge for them to be able to have this benefit.

[00:15:01] So look into programs like DOD skill bridge. I think that is something that's not talked about enough and maybe not taken advantage of enough. and then on top of that is realize like things are going to happen and it, it it's Murphy's law. If something can go wrong, it probably will. So the more prepared you can be, the easier, those little bumps in the row, those obstacles, they will, you'll be able to deal with those and being able to deal with them.

[00:15:27] The other thing that I've heard a lot. Sometimes there is a tendency to avoid addressing mental health while you are still serving or while your spouse is still serving. And because your, your fear of being let go from the military mm-hmm being med boarded out and they don't want that stigma also associated that can be associated with it.

[00:15:48] Mm-hmm . So then it comes down to when you're retiring and all of a sudden they want to start seeking mental health. Mental health health. And that can be triggering in a lot of ways for your relationship, cuz it's opening up a lot of things that maybe haven't been addressed for the past 20 years. so be prepared for that.

[00:16:07] That can be very, very difficult. So not only does the military member maybe seeking mental health, there might be some therapy, some couple therapy, some family therapy, some kind of counseling mm-hmm that needs to take place within that family unit. To help make that cause that's a huge change of life that you're gonna be going through.

[00:16:23] So making sure that you know that that's okay, it's okay to have those conversations, those tough conversations you're your whole life is about to change. Mm-hmm and then I think the last thing that I would mention is that we've said it before, like take the rose colored glasses. Like you have come to a huge part of your career where, and it's a huge accomplishment where you have done your 20 years or 20 plus years, and you're pushing that retirement button and there is a huge celebration, but take a minute to take those rose colored glasses off and realize that there's a lot of work that still has to be done to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.

[00:17:02] So I think. From what I've been told in my 19 episodes. And what I've been told from friends, questions that have been asked is to take care, get your finances in order, get some mental health and therapy counseling if needed within the family unit. Yeah. and really over plan over the more you do now, the easier it'll.

[00:17:24] Alison: Yeah. And that's interesting because, you know, you think that you're, and, and I'm just gonna say for, for me personally, because we've, we've been on this line of like, we're ready to get out ready. Like we've, done's been a long time. Yeah. And we're ready to be out. And just thinking about the transition.

[00:17:44] Like, I honestly. I mean, we've looked at the numbers, right? Like you gotta crunch the numbers of like, well, what is your pay actually gonna be? Right. Right. Because like, it's 

[00:17:54] Erin: because 

[00:17:54] Alison: if, if you take your paycheck right now, right. It's your paycheck, a lot of your paycheck is your bah. Right. Mm-hmm that is tax free.

[00:18:03] So that was something that we were talking about before we hit record as well. Right. so that's a big, that's a big part of it. Right. And so when you retire it. What is this like 60 to 80%, whatever range you land in based on your time and service and whatnot of your base pay. Right? Mm-hmm , that's the first number.

[00:18:23] it's not all the extra stuff after that. So you need to look at that and do that math, because it might be surprising to you what that number actually is. And then the other part that we were talking about are the tax ramifications of that, right? Because when you have a big portion of your check, every month is bah and it's not tax that just puts you in a different bracket.

[00:18:45] Like you're getting that money, but you're not having to pay for it. So now that your, your full paycheck is being taxed, it changes it. Right. So just being really knowledgeable on your numbers and, and, you know, I, I, I agree with you. I think there's a lot of people that are like, oh, budget, 

[00:19:00] Erin: blah, blah. But 

[00:19:01] Alison: at the end of the day, like, you need to know where your money's going.

[00:19:03] You need to know how much money do you need. Like, I gotta pay my mortgage and your cars and your blah, blah, blah, and kids that are getting ready to go off to school or whatever you need to know those numbers before you get out. So that you're not surprised. Right? cause like nobody wants that. Nobody wants that.

[00:19:19] Erin: And money. And I mean, if you're married, you already know this, whether you're military or not, it money can be a huge stressor in relationships. So think about all these things that are being thrown at you, as you are transitioning out of the military, you're leaving something that you've known maybe since you were 18, 19, 20, 20, 1 years old.

[00:19:37] This is all you've known in your adult life. You're leaving that you're leaving this organization that was telling you what to do, where to live, what to wear, you're leaving all of that. Mm-hmm . Then on top of that, your financial situation is changing maybe for the better. I don't know. Maybe you're like hallelujah.

[00:19:55] Now I can go make something on the civilian side. That's more, you know, using my skills and experience, but your financial situation is going to. The family dynamic just changes. It's just, we have such a huge part of our identity tied to the military, even as a military spouse. I'm sure. I mean, I don't wanna speak for you, but there's a certain part of your identity.

[00:20:15] That is a military spouse. Mm-hmm and so that's changing too. So you're changing so many different things. Control what you can control mm-hmm so if you can control your finances, that's a huge stressor. So if you can control. Get it under control so that you don't have to worry about that later. 

[00:20:34] Alison: Yeah. And I think that that.

[00:20:36] Another great tip that you said at the, at the front side is that you can start your paperwork. Cause, cause the VA disability is a big thing for a lot of people and that is not a quick 

[00:20:48] Erin: process and it is not a quick process at all. Especially 

[00:20:51] Alison: if you're given, you're given a percentage and it's not, you don't think that it's fair, then you have to go back and like it's a long drawn out thing.

[00:20:59] So if that's something that you can start with it, how long ahead did you say you can do. 

[00:21:03] Erin: 180 days, I'm almost positive. It's 180 days. And, it, it's one of those things as well, that if you do not do that before you retire, you need to do that within your first year. So think of it as a tiered system. The fastest response and the best response you're going to get is while you're still serving.

[00:21:24] So that 180 days prior to your retirement, mm-hmm the next year is gonna be one year out. Mm-hmm the closer you are to that retirement. The easier the process goes after that year, you're basically. In that third tier with everybody who retired 5, 10, 15 years ago. So if you wait a year after you retire, yes, you can still get it done.

[00:21:45] It's just going to take you a lot longer and it's gonna be more difficult to show that something was service connected. So think about that. If you're still serving in the surface service and you are being, you have something that's documented and diagnosed. You're in the service. Pretty easy to do that.

[00:22:03] Right. One year out. It's still relatively easy to do that. You can still say that this is still service connected. two or more years out of retirement, it starts getting more and more difficult to say that that shoulder injury was service connected. Mm-hmm there are, you can definitely do it. You're gonna hear stories all day long.

[00:22:21] I'm not saying that you can't do it. I'm just say it becomes more and 

[00:22:23] Alison: more difficult. Yeah. And so, and I don't know if you can answer this, if this is outside of your expertise or not, I'm just gonna ask and then if you don't know them, we'll just edit it out and it's totally fine. Yeah, no problem. So, It, when you're talking about, service related injury, is it something so is, I'm just, I'm just trying to like compare, like for what people might understand of like workman's comp, right?

[00:22:45] Like it is something that happens on the job, but when you're in the military is a little bit different. Right? So like, if, so for example, like my husband hurt his shoulder when he was playing softball on the ship softball league. Right. So he had to go through a bunch of stuff. And that, that counts, that was, he was, he was in the military when that happened.

[00:23:06] It doesn't matter that it didn't happen while he was on the ship. It doesn't matter, like that's an injury that happened while it was service related. So that's a big difference that it's not just. Like related to your job, but it's while you're in the service. So like if you, you know, hurt yourself outside of, but you're still attached to the military, you can claim that benefit.

[00:23:23] Right. And then the benefit of, disability. I, I, I don't understand it a hundred percent. Is it extra money that you get? Or is it so it's extra money on top of your paycheck? Is it like, do they do it as like a percentage? Do they do like what, what I don't. Cause I don't know anything. I don't really understand 

[00:23:41] Erin: that at all.

[00:23:42] Oh goodness. Okay. So this version, if you have it, there's so much with this and I am not an expert. Yeah. However, what I will say is that there are many, many resources. But yes, it is an additional paycheck and they're taxed differently. Sometimes not taxed at all. There are benefits that go along with being a certain percentage rated disability.

[00:24:06] So in the state of Texas, if you are a hundred percent, rated disability, you do not pay property tax. So there's many states are like that in many states. I mean, there's anything from hunting and fishing licenses to the. License plate that you can get there's there there's so much on top of the additional pay that you get.

[00:24:29] There are other benefits associated with it. There's certain programs, educational programs, work programs, depending on the level of disability that you have. The other misconception that people have is that if you are a hundred percent. Rated disabled that you cannot work. And there are three different types of 100% rating.

[00:24:49] So this is the military for you, right? Right. Of course the VA for you, there's a hundred percent permanent and total, which means that you are a hundred percent, the VA is not going to take that away from you. You will always be a hundred percent, but you can still. You can still go out and get a job.

[00:25:07] There is a hundred percent, but it's, I, I wanna kind of call it like variable. They're saying you're a hundred percent right now, but we're going to reevaluate you to see if that changes. So people don't necessarily like that one because, because it's, it's somewhat variable. You could go back in for a reevaluation.

[00:25:24] They're like, ah, you're actually 80%. Then there is a hundred percent. Oh goodness. And I can't remember there's another acronym like T I U D something like that. Total. I cannot remember, but it is a hundred percent and you cannot work. And the, the VA will not give this to you, give this reading to you unless you ask for it.

[00:25:47] And the reason that people ask for it is because they really cannot work and they need access to other. Programs such as social security benefits or other just, programs that are out there, but the VA is not going to just say, and I think it's T I U D I I'm sorry if that's incorrect, but basically they're saying that you are a hundred percent disabled, that is not going to change and you cannot work.

[00:26:10] Therefore you now have access to these other benefits. 

[00:26:14] Alison: I gotcha. So it just opens up a different avenue of you for what you can can ask for and help for. 

[00:26:19] Erin: Okay. Gotcha. Right, right. Mostly social security. Gotcha. Okay. 

[00:26:23] so this is just a little, caveat side story. mm-hmm is that. If you or your spouse is getting ready to transition out.

[00:26:34] Alison: And for whatever reason, they are dragging their feet on the medical side of it. Like it's because it's a lot to go through. Right? You, lots of questions and lots of looking at things and like, do you know, do you really wanna, like, you know, in some people. In some people's medical files, there might be stuff in there that they really don't wanna rehash or right.

[00:26:57] Mm-hmm, , it's something that's really important. And it's something like you were saying previously. you really need to do while you're still active duty, because then you don't have the, is service related, you know, issue part of that. Right. So, I have a friend whose, husband was transitioning out and he put off the medical stuff.

[00:27:22] He's like, I'll just, I'll take care of it later. Like, let's just get out. Let's get, let's get situated where we're gonna go. Do all these things and like, and I'll take care of it later. And he was killed in a car accident. Oh, gracious. And it left behind his wife and his eight year old daughter who, and he had a lot of medical issues while he was in the service.

[00:27:42] So that is now money that his cuz if, even if he you're killed. That's your, your family still gets that benefit. Mm-hmm so that's a benefit now that his family doesn't have access to because he didn't do that before he got out. So that's just a, that's just a, I want you to think about that. If you are the spouse of, of someone that's transitioning out.

[00:28:04] Encourage them as uncomfortable as it might be to, you know, go through all the medical stuff, do it and do it. do it as soon as you can, because you just like, you know, so many things in life, you never know what's gonna happen. Mm-hmm and that's a, a benefit that it can help your family. It not, you know, your family as much as it can help you.

[00:28:26] Right. If something happens down the line, 

[00:28:28] Erin: And absolutely. And I know we're spending a lot of time on dis the disability claims process, but that is one of the biggest, area that people have questions about. And the other thing that I will add to that is some people just don't wanna do it while they're still in, because they feel like they're taking time away from their job.

[00:28:45] They feel bad. like, you know, and maybe where they work. It's not a good environment and people are, oh, you're going to another medical appointment. You're you're medical again. Mm-hmm yes, I am. Yes, I am. I have another medical appointment. They cannot deny you your medical appointment. So it's one of those things I think.

[00:29:02] And I've heard this from people where they just felt bad. Taking care of themselves. Mm-hmm and it's not only, like you just said, it's not only about taking care of themselves in the long run, in the big picture it's taking care of your family as well. So one last thing I'll add to that as well is, document.

[00:29:19] And as much as you can diagnose, have it diagnosed and your paperwork, but document everything. Because even if you get a rating of 0%, that's still a win because what happens. People will say, oh, well I only get 0% why they even rate me because they're showing that it's service connected, but that it's not something that is hindering you at this point, but it may.

[00:29:43] So if you go in for that reevaluation, say you had something with your shoulder. I don't, it's just an example. You had something for your shoulder. It was 0% rated. and then that gets worse. Well, then that percentage can change, but you have to have it documented in your VA disability claim, even if it's at 0%.

[00:30:01] So get everything, whatever happened. Have a narrative to go along with it. How was that service connected? 

[00:30:09] Alison: Yeah, that's a, that's a good point. 

[00:30:11] Erin: I could just do a whole podcast about those because it's such a huge part. What hap it seems it comes to light more when people are leaving them OB obviously to be a disability process, but also just the mental health as aspect.

[00:30:24] There are so many huge, huge changes that are happening as you transition out. A lot of that has to do with identity. some of that has to do with obviously like undiagnosed, issues that were maybe underlying, that are coming to the forefront. Once you start transitioning out. But some of it's just because it's, there's a huge change going on in your life.

[00:30:42] Alison: Yeah, for sure. Oh my goodness. Okay, Erin. Well, I really appreciate your time. I appreciate you being here and talking about all this stuff with us. We haven't talked about this on the show at all. Oh wow. And I know that most people on most people that listen to this are, were active duty, right? So it's like.

[00:30:59] I don't, you aren't really thinking about it, but you might pie in the sky with those rose colored glasses on be thinking about in my retirement. Right? When we, we get outta, we're not gonna be told what to 

[00:31:08] Erin: do anymore. We can do whatever we can live wherever 

[00:31:10] Alison: we want, but there's a lot of like, really like brass, tack stuff that you have gotta think about and that you need lead time to think about beforehand as well.

[00:31:18] just to make sure you got all your little duckies in a. Where you get out and that you are truly ready because you're right. There's a lot of, you know, oh, I, I there's this job. And so, and so talked about this and this, but like until you have it, and then that's another thing too. like just throwing that in there real quick, but we had a friend, and he was getting out and they were, moving down to Florida, which is where we were at the time.

[00:31:39] Alison: And he. Was getting a job with a contractor, but they wouldn't let him, they wouldn't give them a mortgage until he had a contract with. Right. They wouldn't just take his, his mil, like, Hey, I'm getting out. Like I, they, until he had that. So that's something to think about too, if you're doing like a big transition as you get out and you're relocating and things like that, that's, you know, that's something that pops up for them is like, oh, well you, until you have another job, We're not gonna give you a mortgage, you know, you can't just because, because when you, so I guess in their specific situation is a lot of times you go on terminal leave at the end, right?

[00:32:14] Like you are right. Using up all of your stuff. And so you're not actually a hard, hard off at that point, but you have that time. So this is, Hey, this is my, this is my safety bubble of these couple of months that I have of term relief before. And so we're gonna go. Situated, except for your terminal leave.

[00:32:30] You haven't retired yet. That doesn't count you're in this weird transition spot. You know, the mortgage, company's not gonna give you, give you a mortgage mm-hmm if you're you're in that weird transition. So that's just, there's just, there's a lot of moving parts to think about. so I appreciate your time.

[00:32:43] I appreciate you being here. And then, so Erin's. podcast is life after the uniform it's available and all the things I'll make sure that it's linked in the show notes. Mm-hmm . And you talk about all of the different topics from VA benefits to the, to, GI bill. I, that I listened to that episode.

[00:32:59] There's so many little caveats. Holy cow, that 

[00:33:01] Erin: that's. I worked. There's so many different chapters. It's like, it's like your book of VA education. Seriously. Yeah. And one thing that I'll say is I talk to experts, so I know enough to get me in trouble, I guess is what they'll say. I know a little bit about a lot of things.

[00:33:15] but so I talk about the experts that know a lot about one specific thing. So the episodes that I have, they really are experts in. Field. So, I just get to ask the questions. They get to give all the details. Yeah, for sure. 

[00:33:28] Alison: Yeah. Cuz that's, and, and that's one of the things that I've said on the show before too, is like, I've got a lot of experience, but I don't know all the answers, so let's go find the people that have the answers.

[00:33:36] Right. And really find out what the, what the, what the answer is. So. All right, Aaron, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate you being here. 

[00:33:42] Erin: Yeah. Thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.