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Arrington Legislation to Improve Transition Assistance Program (TAP) Passes House VA Committee

Earlier this week, legislation Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) introduced to improve the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), which helps servicemembers transition from active duty service to civilian life, passed the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “Our government spends billions of dollars preparing citizens to be warriors on the battlefield but invests only a fraction of that helping those same soldiers transition back to civilian life. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, and investing in an effective and seamless transition from active duty to civilian life is not only the right thing to do, but also it can prevent much of the pain, problems and cost associated with our servicemen who struggle in the process,” said Arrington. “My friend Bill Mulder was a true American hero and highly decorated combat veteran whose life may have been saved by a more comprehensive and effective transition assistance program. Like many of our troops, Bill's greatest fight wasn't on the battlefield, it was the struggle that often ensues from the mental, emotional and physical wear and tear of military service. While we made good progress last Congress, more work still needs to be done to prepare our veterans for the transition back into civilian life just as we equipped them for their military careers. “That is why I am pleased the VA Committee passed this critical legislation named in Bill’s honor, and I look forward to the full House taking it up in short order. This bill is another important step towards reducing the struggles of unemployment, homelessness and suicide when those who have worn the uniform return home. We owe it to Bill and to all ‘who have borne the battle’ to do all we can to ensure a successful transition to civilian life, and I’m confident this legislation does just that.Background: • Created in 1991, the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is a joint program administered by the Departments of Defense (DoD), Labor (DoL), and Veterans Affairs (VA) intended to assist servicemembers who are leaving the military have a successful transition to civilian life by providing them with guidance regarding financial literacy, job placement and VA benefits. • This legislation would improve the TAP program by reauthorizing a pilot program to provide TAP curriculum to servicemembers at off-base locations. It would also authorize a five-year pilot program to provide matching grant funds to community providers who offer wraparound services to veterans who have recently transitioned out of the military. • Additionally, the bill would require an independent assessment of TAP as well as a longitudinal study on the long-term outcomes for veterans who attend TAP. • Read the bill here.