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 Post subject: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECRB
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:42 pm
Posts: 7
Served in: SGT, RAAOC, Veteran, Advocate
I would like to start a thread to provide information on transitioning from the defence force. I am interested to know how other have transitioned and how they view their transition. I would like this to be as non judgemental as possible so that as much information can be shared to make transitioning from Defence easier.

If these transition stories could be provided in the format below it would be good for future viewers to scan to the parts they believe are important (copy and past).

1. Subject --------------Type of discharge/ transition mode and overall rating positive/negative
2. Introduction ----------A brief paragraph about the situation that led to your to transition
3. Transition mode -------What was your transition mode
4. your desired outcome---Did you have a desired outcome when you started your transition or develop one during your transition (what was it)
5. ADF desired outcome---What do you believe was the ADFs desired outcome
6. References------------What administrative instructions and manuals did you investigate during your transition
7. Summary of transition---What happened during your transition - Brief summary of your transition in chronological order with key stakeholders
8. Key issues-------------What are the key issues you found affected your transition (positive and negative) and what would you recommend doing differently
9. Any additional points


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 Post subject: Re: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECR
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:42 pm
Posts: 7
Served in: SGT, RAAOC, Veteran, Advocate
1. Subject
Medical Discharge Transition Assistance

2. Introduction
I had completed 8 years of service in RAAOC. After getting a skin condition I began treatment not requiring down grade. Eventually the medication was not working and I needed stronger medication. At the time I had been working in the MECRB and had seen a number of files come across my desk with the same condition and my future medication. I believed it unethical for me to take another posting with my knowledge, position and my condition. I was downgraded to MEC J31 (rehab 12 months). The timeline for rehab and medical separation would have taken me over my posting (next to ALTC as a trainer). We had a baby on the way and having to relocate (possibly sell the house), train for ALTC and the possibility of being separated 12 1/2 months with another move did not appeal to us.

3. Transition mode
Medical Discharge - MEC J51

4. your desired outcome

Our desired outcome was to stay in our current location where we had our house, medical and family support. To transition into our family business as a training consultant.

5. ADF desired outcome

ADF wanted to provide me with the opportunity to stay on. I was given a MECJ51 and MECJ41 recommendation. The MECJ41 would have incurred a review period and a stall for career progression.

6. References

See current MECRB references online

7. Summary of transition

Remaining at the unit was not an option as DSCMA was moving and reserve position were currently taken. I had been down graded to MEC J31 (12 month rehab) in March. I had to initiate the MECRB process, so applied for a voluntary discharge (transfer to the active reserves) in April. Policy dictated that this should initiate a transfer medical (see key issues). As I was MEC J31 and under active rehab a MECRB determination needed to be made for transfer.
In May, as part of the CMECR a members health statement was raised - I put in my desired outcome to be medical discharged by 2013.
I request for my MECRB determination to be fast tracked to facilitate my separation.
The MECRB was conducted and I was offered MEC J42 or MECJ51. See link for MEC descriptions - http://clik.dva.gov.au/rehabilitation-l ... mec-system

MECRB determination, Separation Notice and Decision on Separation Notice were corresponded as per process and a discharge date requested to coincide with unit moving date. I Applied for one month of On the Job Experience as a trainer through CTAS. I had handed over my job so was not needed any more. I also needed to concentrate on my new role. I applied for liability with DVA.

My discharge came and went, our second was born, I started my new job and received a payout of my long service leave and annual leave. The job turned out to be short lived as the contract securing my employment was not fulfilled so I became an unemployed spouse and father of two children with a mortgage. Employers and recruiters provided me with thanks for my service, but I was too much of a risk for employment due to my experience not matching my certification (HR Coordinator without an HR degree). Also as the leave payout dwindled we could not afford daycare. This meant the kids were at home which made it an issue for spending the recommended 40hrs per week on applying for jobs. My DVA application was rejected and pended a VRB sitting. Upon sitting with the VRB I was advised to get an advocate (further delay of 12 months). At the next sitting liability was accepted but compensation was not approved as treatment had not been exhausted (still awaiting final needs assessment)

I conducted a quick situation analysis and decided on a new COA to get a degree to match my experience to education for my career aspirations. We were also able to get child care funding if I was a student. My wives bonus's were the cover for us to live off. But we were still running out of money. Had a few nights rocking in the foetal position so called VVCS for help. I was referred to the local RSL which provided us with benevolent funding assistance with my degree (books paid for and some bills). I got a causal job but after 6 months it threatened government funding family tax benefit A and B that paid for child care. The bonus scheme that we were living off had been changed to be spread out and thus fairer to other workers who missed out, but this meant my wife didn't get as much. The flow on was we ran out of the buffer money.
The RSL welfare put us onto the ADF Assistance Trust and as I had a service recognised illness/injury I was eligible for assistance. The ADFAT paid for the child care for 6 months so that I could finish my degree. I asked them to reevaluate this as I had started a part time job but was told they would still support us.
The part time job will become full time at the completion of my degree.

8. Key issues What are the key issues you found affected your transition (positive and negative) and what would you recommend doing differently

MECRB process
Medical officers did not know the administration process and if I had not researched the process properly (or been the MECRB supervisor) I would have been on rehab for a year unnecessarily, posted to a new unit with a MECRB determination looming.
Question - would have one more posting been more beneficial? - would have attained training certificate, possible completed the entire posting (3 years), would have had to sell the house.
This process was positive as I was aware of the entire process form the outset.

Working after receiving determination
I should have handed over my job and started a transition plan earlier. I should have had my career mapped for certification and completed gap training in my final 6 months making me competitive for employment.

DVA claim
I should have completed this when the injury occurred with an advocate. Thinking I was able to do the claim myself with a system more complex then the MECRB was absurd.

Situational awareness
I should have used IMAP to plan my separation. Had I put the time and effort into researching my post transition as much as I had been aware of the actual transition I may have been more aware of our requirements, actual job prospects and had realistic with employment choices.

Ex-service assistance
Ex service organisations do not advertise their services well. Had I known where to get assistance earlier I would have had an intervention for a resupply earlier. Their assistance has been amazing.

Network
When the unit moved and service members posted I had no support network. I also thought I had an actual network. But as everyone in my network was in Defence I found I was alone with no connections to any outside organisations.

9. Nil further comments


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 Post subject: Re: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECR
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:06 pm
Posts: 2995
Location: Melbourne
Served in: RAR, RVR
Welcome to the site mate. Sounds like you're a wealth of knowledge and judging by your writing style still green to the core. [:D

Good to see you using the available resources to push through a rough patch. All the best for the future.

This area of the board is usually advertisements and sales pitches. Wouldn't be suprised if your story moves.


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 Post subject: Re: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECR
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 4:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 08, 2004 8:10 pm
Posts: 18004
Location: Loading the shot
Served in: 8/9RAR & 6RAR
Sounds like you had a few wins in there along the way. Did VVCS, the RSL or your advocate steer you through that, or a case of stumbling across them as you went?


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 Post subject: Re: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECR
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:42 pm
Posts: 7
Served in: SGT, RAAOC, Veteran, Advocate
Digrar, thanks for your comments. I never paid much attention during my clerical days on military planning, but devoured the information of the MECRB. During the first four months after separation a UK Major with a large health organisation asked if I could prepare a training package on Effects Based Operations (Winning hearts and minds). I did a lot of research on the processes and found ours was very similar. There were ex defence members in really large organisations trying to get their organisations to be somewhat structured and strategically aiming for the same goal.

I started to see our training in more industries and that we did have transferrable skills, they were just hidden behind the stereotype of what the Service personnel is through the movie projector not what we truly are. As an administrator I have seen that we are given joining instructions and orders in the format of SMEAC from enlistment. Developmental Psychology and neuroscience has proven that neural shedding still occurs until you are 25. So a young impressionable digger is having neural pathways strengthened during their first two-three postings. Each time they go on an activity they are provided information in SMEAC format and afterwards they are provided information in the form of a Post Activity Report.

That has no effect on your while your in Defence but what is the effect when you get out. As an advocate and after studying psychology I see the similarities between anxiety, depression and PTSD. They have fit in the same category. What if our method of providing information in a structured environment is causing our personal to flip out when they get out. A simple task without the scaffolding of provided information in a logical format creating anxiety. This could easily spiral to co-morbid depression. An easy solution is to call it PTSD if you were privy to an incident. But I have seen diggers with no reason for depression or anxiety who have substance dependency. Their lives spiralling out of control. Of course there are places for support but what is the route cause. I would like to believe it is the sudden removal of service personal from a highly supportive organisation that has assisted in creating a neural scaffold for finding information in a military format.

So my green to the core writing has been done deliberately to harness that scaffolding. It does make it easier to read though.


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 Post subject: Re: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECR
PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:42 pm
Posts: 7
Served in: SGT, RAAOC, Veteran, Advocate
digrar wrote:
Sounds like you had a few wins in there along the way. Did VVCS, the RSL or your advocate steer you through that, or a case of stumbling across them as you went?


The process was one of stumbling and leading.
I first had a moment of assuming a rocking foetal position. I was studying psychology and there was a number of topics that were hitting a note with me. I have later learned that this is a common occurrence for psych and medical students to think they have the symptoms they are studying. Either way I had no idea of what to do or who to turn to I just needed help then and there. Being RAAOC I was never in a unit that was heavy on providing information on psych support or post separation support at all. I am not sure that it is like for combat trades and being informed of VVCS etc. I noticed a sign for psych support that was eligible for medicare coverage with a doctors review. I did a psych screen and was given a referral. I searched the net for a psych that was in the area, had availability (they are in demand) and called to hear a very chivy sounding woman. Not what I needed. I searched for military psychs and VVCS came up. So I called and was put onto them. They gave me the RSL's number and I called them and had an advocate call me back and they pushed me to see the welfare officer. It was the welfare officer that put me on to ADF assistance trust.

The important point was that at no stage did I attack any of these people and I provided them with all of the information regarding my current situation. At every turn I found people and organisations that were set up to help veterans (all service types) and they wanted to help no questions asked. All I had to do was fill out the applications that once again recorded my situation. My saving grace was that I had scanned all of my pers and med files and kept my filing up to date. so the forms were easy. I have met blokes with families that have not applied for assistance and are yelling broke but don't fill out the forms because it is too hard. I refer to my other post that I believe we (predominately OR's) are neurologically scaffolded to find a 40 page instruction to research our task.

Probably a big spiel but the more information we share the better.


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 Post subject: Re: Transitioning from Defence - Voluntary, involuntary MECR
PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:50 am
Posts: 17
I agree that members should put in a DVA claim when they have a condition diagnosed – don’t wait until discharge. It could take years for conditions to be accepted by DVA. If you feel overwhelmed with the DVA claims call Defence Care to be allocated an advocate.

Also, as soon as you get your notice of termination register to do a 2 day transition course by VVCS called “Stepping Out” – it counts as being at your place of duty.

All ex serving members are eligible for DVA funded treatment for anxiety, depression, and PTSD (and a number of physical conditions). You don’t have to wait for these conditions to be accepted by DVA.

If you’ve been deployed in war like conditions or have a white card for mental health conditions - you can access psychological support through VVCS free of charge once you’re out.

I encourage everyone to have a few counselling sessions when they get discharged. A good psych will be able to tweak a few cognitions (thoughts) and / or behaviours to help make your transition a bit smoother.


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