Only Mission-Essential Personnel Report, Tuesday, 15 December

From Ellsworth AFB, “Due to pending weather conditions, all non-mission-essential base operations are suspended on Dec. 15, 2015. Only mission-essential personnel will report to base at their designated time.”

The Airman & Family Readiness Center does not have mission essential personnel and so our office will be closed on Tuesday, 15 December.

For those that are currently attending the Transition Workshop, the workshop will not be held on Tuesday due to the closure. Report back the to the workshop on Wednesday at 0800 (if weather and base conditions permit you to do so). When the workshop resumes, you will be informed as how to make up Day 2 briefings.

The Right Start briefing for Tuesday, 15 December has been cancelled. Those of you that were scheduled for the briefing will be automatically rescheduled for Tuesday, 12 January 2016.

The Pre-Deployment briefing for Tuesday, 15 December has been cancelled. Those of you that were scheduled for the briefing can make it up on Wednesday, 16 December, at 1000 hours (weather and base conditions permitting) or on Friday, 18 December at 1430 hours. Both make-up briefings will be held at the Deployment Center in the auditorium.

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Looking for your DD Form 214 after separation/retirement?

DDfm214It used to be that after you retired or separated from the military, your DD Form 214 (which is the key to all your future veteran benefits) used to be mailed to you after your official retirement/separation date at an address you specified on your DD 214 worksheet.

Apparently this process changed back in late 2013, but has only now come to light. We received the following information from myPers – Total Resource Center as of 22 Oct 2014 after we asked for clarification on the process last week.

  1. In an effort to minimize costs and utilize existing technology, as of 1 December 2013, the hard copy DD Form 214 (copies 1 and 4) will no longer be mailed out to members. Since October 2010, separating or retiring individuals could electronically access and print their DD Form 214s. Eliminating the need of mailing paper copies reduces money spent on a redundant process.
  1. During separation and retirement processing, members will receive instructions on how to access, review and print their DD Form 214 as needed. Copies 1 and 4 are housed on the secure server in the vMPF for a period of 60 days past the official retirement/separation effective date.   After the 60 days, members are able to obtain copies from the eBenefits website, http://www.ebenefits.va.gov.
  2. Members with an approved retirement or separation should retrieve a USERID and password allowing access to the AFPC Secure application. This can be done while still on active-duty by using your CAC and either entering the AF Portal using the AFPC Secure link. Once at the site, utilize the “Update/Delete Password” tab to generate a new USERID/password. While on terminal leave, the member will be able to access the worksheet and be able to retrieve their DD Form 214 when completed.
  3. Those who are not able to use their CAC should contact the A1 Service Desk at 1-800-525-0102, (option “8”) or dial DSN 665-5004 and they will provide assistance in obtaining a USERID/password.

Air Force members should refer any questions about your DD Form 214 to AFPC.

Are you Separating or Retiring? READ THIS!

With the announcement of force management programs in December 2013 many Ellsworth Airmen may have received word that they may be eligible for one of the programs to leave the Air Force earlier than they had planned.

The service has made a conscious decision to announce these force management programs now in order to give Airmen as much time as possible to plan for their futures and make informed decisions.

This early notification will allow Airmen the time to complete the mandated Transition Program previously known as TAP. It is now called Transition GPS-Goals, Plans and Success, and is designed to help prepare separating and retiring members for life outside of the military. It includes a variety of seminars from dressing for success to financial independence. The program was recently redesigned and has added many mandated new steps to the process.

A couple of the changes were expanding requirements to include mandatory attendance at a five-day workshop, and completion of a capstone session to ensure the member is career ready. Below is a summary of the mandatory steps for separating/retiring:

  • Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing (Must be completed no later than 90 prior to separation/retirement; You must also bring proof of registration on eBenefits before coming to the briefing)
  • Transition GPS Workshop (Pre-Separation is required to be completed prior to attending a workshop)
  • Capstone Appointment (Can be completed after attending Transition GPS, but no earlier than 150 days prior to your date of separation/retirement)

Note: These steps need to be completed prior to starting terminal leave.

Separating Airmen can start the transition process 12 months prior to their anticipated date of separation while retiring Airmen can start the process 24 months out.

Optional training for higher education, entrepreneurial and vocational training is also available along with extensive one-on-one counseling to help Airmen develop a comprehensive individual transition.

You can read about more detailed information about what is required of a separating or retiring Airman on our Transition Assistance web page.

Visit our Transition Calendar for all the dates of Transition Briefings and Workshops for 2014 then give the Airman & Family Readiness Center a call at 385-4663 to schedule yourself for the next available briefing and workshop.

USAF Cutbacks Affect You and Increase Demand on Transition Services

Air Force Logo - Blue with white outline, no textOn Wednesday, December 11th, Air Force leaders  announced force management programs designed to reduce the force by thousands of Airmen over the next five years as a result of sequestration. They also announced that the Air Force will reduce the size of its civilian workforce by about 900 positions in addition to maintaining approximately 7,000 vacancies across the force to meet the demands of a constrained fiscal 2014 budget.

Fiscal 2014 force management initiatives for active duty members are in addition to the announcement made in July, stating the Air Force will implement several force management programs to meet budget reduction requirements.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE ACTIVE DUTY MEMBER?

PLAN AHEAD! Air Force leaders made the decision to announce the overall strategic plan now so that Airmen have the necessary time to consider all their career options.

The Transition Assistance Program has been redesigned into a comprehensive, mandatory program through the efforts of an interagency team from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administration.

The redesigned TAP, known as Transition Goals Plans Success, or Transition GPS, changes the current program from a discontinuous set of activities into a cohesive modular, outcome based program that provides opportunities and aids a successful transition into a “career ready” civilian. Transition GPS bolsters and standardizes the transition services that service members receive prior to separating from the military to make them employment ready as well as being prepared to enter into higher education, attend career technical training, or start their own business.

Basically, with a few exceptions, the Transition Process has become mandatory for Active Duty members. These mandatory portions include the Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing, Transition GPS Workshop, and a Capstone Appointment to be completed before you final out-process the base.

If you are separating, you can start the process as early as 12 months before your planned separation. Retirees can start 24 months prior. If you are notified that you may be separated involuntarily (MEB, administrative, or judicial), you need to schedule a Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing ASAP.

The Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing, in which you complete a DD Form 2648, does NOT lock you into separating if you change your mind or the MEB/Admin/Judicial process does not go through. However, you will not be allowed to attend a Transition GPS Workshop until it has been completed. If you do not meet the mandatory parts or the Transition Process, you may not be able to utilize permissive TDY or terminal leave until your process has been completed.

Visit our Transition Assistance page for more information on the process. You can also look at our Transition Briefing/Workshop Calendar for future dates of transition activities.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE CIVILIAN WORKFORCE?

We have been through this before and unless you have worked as a civilian for less than a year you know how frustrating the process and lack of information was.

PLAN AHEAD! Prepare your finances and employability

  • Start by taking a look at your budget and tight things up. Start saving for whatever may come (layoffs, furlough days, etc.) that will affect your income.
  • Update your resume. If you will try to fit into another federal position, start working on your resume in USAJobs. If you are looking to move to the private sector, dust off or begin writing the civilian resume now. Visit or employment assistance website (Jobs4ellsworth.com) for help with resume writing.

Your Airman & Family Readiness Center is Now Open

AFRClogoThe civilians at your Airman & Family Readiness Center were recalled from the shutdown furlough. However, due to the recent weather events, not all of us are back today, but will be soon.

As we get back to work, please be patient with us as we get caught up on work. With that in mind, until Friday, October 11th, our office hours will be open for walk-ins from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Starting on Tuesday, October 15th our hours will return to normal.

  • We were supposed to be having a Transition Assistance Program workshop this week. It had to be canceled due to the furlough. At this time we do not have any information or a plan worked out as to when those due to attend this week will be rescheduled.
  • Our Basic Saving & Investing workshop scheduled for Thursday, October 10th was also canceled due to the furlough. It will not be rescheduled.
  • Our next Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 15th. (Please note that Monday, October 14th is a Federal Holiday)
  • You are still encouraged to call our office to register for all briefings/workshops and appointments.
  • For all those separating and retiring, it is your responsibility to ensure you complete the congressionally mandated pre-separation counseling briefing no less that 90 days prior to your date of separation/retirement. Additionally the Transition Assistance Program workshop (now call Transition GPS) is also now mandatory. PLAN AHEAD!
  • Retirees, you also have the additional task of completing a Survivor Benefit Plan one on one briefing before you retire. Again, PLAN AHEAD!
  • We will be holding the Heart Link Spouse Orientation on Monday, October 21st. The schedule of events will be changed and we will get information about that out as soon as we have it finalized. Since we provide lunch, it is important to register if you plan on attending. Please call 385-4663 to register no later than Wednesday, October 16th.

We appreciate your patience during our absence.

Officials Improve Process for Transition to Civilian Life

Source: http://www.defense.gov//News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=118290

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 – Officials from the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments participated in a panel discussion here Oct. 19 about efforts to prepare service members for the transition to civilian life.

Danny Pummill, director of VA/DOD liaison for Veterans Affairs, and Susan S. Kelly, director of DOD’s Transition to Veterans Program Office, explained the new Transition Assistance Program during the 10th annual Military Reporters and Editors Conference.

“This isn’t your death-by-PowerPoint TAP from the 1990s,” Pummill said, referring to a side-intensive one-day seminar for transitioning service members in days gone by. “[The new TAP] is well planned and thought out.

Read the full article on the DoD’s web site by going to: http://www.defense.gov//News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=118290

Keep checking back to our web site for more information about the new Transition Assistance Program which will begin here at Ellsworth AFB in November 2012.

Warning about potential VRAP scam

Please be  aware of a potential scam targeting veterans who have either signed up or have  been approved for VRAP!

A  veteran has reported receiving a call  from someone named “James” who  congratulated him on his VRAP approval. He advised him that he knew the exact amount he was approved  for and that the $8500 would be directly deposited into his account within 45  minutes of him giving his banking account number and routing number and paying $205 for the service  fee.

This person is not affiliated with  the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  VA will never call you and ask for private  information over the phone.  If you do  receive a call like this, please contact the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/index.shtml