PHOTO BY: South Dakota Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Trobee
SD Guard Soldiers return home from Middle East

Army Staff Sgt. Keith Fitzgerald hugs his family in Huron, S.D., after returning from a 10-month deployment to the Middle East with the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 153rd Engineer Battalion, Sept. 30, 2017. Whether deployed or at home, service members and their families are eligible for the resources offered through Military OneSource.



Washington, DC – Military OneSource benefits expanded today to include veterans and families up to a full year after they leave active duty, the US Defense Department officials announced. Currently the benefit, which gives free non-medical mental health counseling, career help and life coaching, among other services, times-out six months after leaving active duty.

“Eligibility for Military OneSource benefits have been extended from the current 180 days to 365 days after separation or retirement from military service to ensure all service members and families have access to comprehensive support as they transition to civilian life,” the announcement read.

“Each person is unique, and so is each military-to-civilian transition,” said. A.T. Johnston, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, adding, “We want all of Military OneSource’s resources to be there when someone needs them — whether it is a day, a week or many months after their transition to civilian life.”

This change goes into effect immediately, in accordance with the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2019 that President Donald J. Trump signed today.

Military OneSource provides information, resources and support for active-duty, National Guard and reserve service members, their families and survivors. Provided at no cost, Military OneSource gives exclusive access to programs, tools, and benefits designed to help ensure service members and their families are mission-ready and able to thrive in both their military and post-military lives.

Wide Range of Services

As a DoD program, Military OneSource offers a wide range of services designed exclusively for the military community. Services include help with relocation, tax support, financial planning, and health and wellness coaching, as well as confidential non-medical counseling and specialty consultations for spouse employment, education, adoption, elder care, special needs and much more.

Milttary One Source

“Military OneSource is powered by people with extensive knowledge and training in meeting the needs of our military community, many of whom have also served or lived in military families,” explained Lee Kelley, program director of the Non-medical Counseling Program Office within military community and family policy. “We’re dedicated to providing expert, proven, and practical support and information to our service members and their families to help them achieve their goals and live their best military life.”

Military OneSource services are accessible 24/7, service members and family members can call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or go to the Military OneSource website. To explore additional benefits that may be available through the Department of Veterans Affairs, go to https://explore.va.gov/.

Bill Named After McCain

Earlier, President Donald J. Trump signed the $717 billion Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act at a ceremony at Fort Drum, New York. The act – named for Arizona Sen. John S. McCain – authorizes a 2.6 percent military pay raise and increases the active duty forces by 15,600 service members.

“With this new authorization, we will increase the size and strength of our military by adding thousands of new recruits to active duty, Reserve and National Guard units, including 4,000 new active duty soldiers,” Trump told members of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division and their families. “And we will replace aging tanks, aging planes and ships with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed. And hopefully, we’ll be so strong, we’ll never have to use it, but if we ever did, nobody has a chance.”

The 2019 Authorization Act does not fund the military. Rather, it authorizes the policies under which funding will be set by the appropriations committees and then voted on by Congress. That bill is still under consideration.

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