This bill would build on the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which established at least three pathways for servicemembers receiving TAP counseling. These pathways are “designed based on service members’ risk level,” said Eric Mee, the communications director for Levin.
Currently, the pathways are determined by a number of factors, including rank, term of service, disability, health, educational and employment history, and more.
Levin’s bill, introduced last Thursday, aims to help counselors better determine risk of not having a successful transition through a set of additional factors. These new factors include:
- Child care requirements of the member (including whether a dependent of the member is enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program).
- The employment status of other adults in the household.
- The location of the duty station of the member (including whether the member was separated from family while on duty).
- The effects of operating tempo and personnel tempo on the member and their household.
- Whether the member is an Indian or urban Indian, as those terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (Public Law 94–437; 25 U.S.C. 1603).
Levin said these changes are vital to guarantee that TAP adequately serves every service member.
“One of my top priorities is ensuring that service members have all of the support they need to start a new career when they leave the service, and the Transition Assistance Program is fundamental to that effort,” said Levin in a press release.
“These resources are also critical as we work to address veteran suicide, which can often be driven by economic distress. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure these much-needed fixes are made as soon as possible.”