Adrianne Phillips on The Military Millionaire Podcast

Episode 51 | Adrianne Phillips | Military Millionaire Podcast

Adrianne Phillips on The Military Millionaire Podcast

00:00 - 05:00


Wow, today's episode is insane.

What's up guys it’s Dave From military to millionaire. And I have a, I mean, this is even exciting. This is like a life changing episode today with Adrianne Phillips, who runs a couple businesses. But the one that we're going to talk specifically about today is the strategic alliance veteran integration, which is a nonprofit that essentially focuses on Hey, you want help getting out of the military reach out to us 12 months before, and we will help you with a customized plan and help you understand all of the benefits that are available to you to walk you through this process.

And this is an extremely confusing and muddled or muddled process that just veterans don't understand. And it's just not a simple thing to understand.

So this episode is huge. We're going to talk about VA ratings, we're going to talk about when you should file for VA ratings, we're going to talk about how to avoid transition drama. And just I mean, there's so much information in this episode that I just can't even begin to explain how important it is that you listen all the way through and share it with other veterans that are getting out because or even still in because this I mean, this can literally change your entire life after the military.

And trust me when I say having a smooth transition will be a very important aspect to you. Living a happy life after the military, right? We don't like to talk about it, but there are a lot of veterans struggling when they get out of the military.

So the more people that hear this and learn about this, the more we can help those who need the help.

That being said, This episode is awesome if this is your first time listening thanks for joining us. If not welcome back show notes are found at Now relax and enjoy the show.


You're listening to the military millionaire podcast, a show about real estate investing for the working class. Stay tuned as we explore ways to help you improve your finances, build wealth through real estate and become a person that is worth knowing.


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Hey, what's up everybody is Dave here from military to millionaire. And I'm here with Adrianne Phillips who was in the Air Force. And now she is a business owner of two, maybe more but two businesses that we've talked about Travelers Q and Savvy which is the Strategic Alliance Veteran Integration and those are big words. So if you notice, I'm looking down over there.

And we're going to talk about transition stuff. So all of the stuff that I'm going to be looking forward to here soon as I get out of the military, and all of the stuff that none of us know anything about as we go to transition out of the military. So we're going to clear some of the mud there. But uh, Adrianne, thank you for joining us and tell us a little bit about yourself.


Alright, thank you, David, for having me. I'm super excited to be here and to talk to everybody in your network about transition, which is certainly an important point.

So a little bit about me, as you mentioned, I did serve in the Air Force. I was in security forces. So I was a police officer for those who don't know, and I did everything that I was supposed to when it came to transition.

05:00 - 10:00


I started my process about six months prior, I did the taps briefing, you know, did everything on the checklist, had the right resume, had the right suit on. And unfortunately, I still did not get the brochure transition that I was promised so to speak. It was definitely a struggle for me just trying to figure out what I wanted to do, what benefits were available to me and just trying to make sense of all of the different aspects that really were kind of being thrown at us.

Um, you know, taps is a very great program. It's super informative, but it's a lot of information in a very consolidated timeframe. And so for me, it was just a bit overwhelming, and I struggled just trying to get employment, I was on the brink of homelessness at one point. And so it was definitely an unexpected process to go through. And it was certainly a far cry from, you know, being a police officer serving my country.

So the lesson was well learned. And I ended up getting my first opportunity about six months later with a nonprofit organization called American veterans. And that's what ultimately kicked off my career in the veteran services arena, which I've now spent about the last 13 years, focusing specifically on federal benefits and compensation pension through VA.


That's intense. And, you know, it's, it's interesting to hear, it's cool to hear that you went through, you know, rough spat, rough patch, and then turn around. And now you've basically dedicated the last half of your life to try to help other people avoid that, which is, I think, really cool. I guess, transition, as crummy as that was, I think it was a great segue into what you do now. Because a lot of people I think, get into that space. Well, maybe not enough people get into that space, but it's a very misunderstood time in veterans' lives. And so to have somebody who's been through the bad side, because I think for me, right, as I start talking to people about this, I feel like I get some advice from people who oftentimes weren't even in the military.

I mean, they may have been a spouse, but you know, there's a lot of people I talked to on base that have no idea, you know, they talked about it, they see it, but they were never in the transition point. So it's cool that that was it. Okay, cool, is the wrong word. But, you know, for me, it's nice to be able to talk to somebody who's been there, as opposed to someone who just has seen it.


And you know, one of the things that I always say is that transition isn't a box that you check mark, and you say, All right, I'm officially transitioned out now, you know, it's done. Um, transition is a process. It's a journey. And it's an evolution of who you are as an individual, really redefining your purpose and trying to find your place in the civilian sector after you've gotten out.

And when you're able to at least keep some level of connection with the community, it's great, because that camaraderie is still there, you know, you have your fellow colleagues that understand that background that understand that military mentality, that know how to be disciplined and execute on certain things, the civilian sector can feel like a bit of the wild, wild west, it's a lot of endless opportunities, which is great in theory, but for an individual that's coming from a very structured environment, where you're told what to wear, what to do, when to do it, how to do it. And then you're just kind of spit out and said, Alright, here's all of the stuff that you can do.

And you know, the military never asks you like, Alright, what are your hopes and dreams? Right? What do you want to be when you grow up? That's just not a conversation that we have. And so it's important to really start having that conversation, not only with yourself, but with your friends with your family, anybody that's a support system to you have that conversation early, because it is going to be a process, I can tell you even now, I still consider myself transitioning, you know, I don't think that there's again, ever like an endpoint to say, Alright, we're done. And I can tell you that being in this sector, as long as I had, the average veteran honestly doesn't even start really asking questions about their benefits until they've been out maybe more than five years.

So again, you know, I always tell people don't you know, beat yourself up or anything, there is no specific timeline, so to speak, you just have to really listen to where you're at. And be true to yourself, you know, and be okay with exploring. There's a lot that's out there. So you have to kind of test the waters and figure out what works for you.


Yeah, I can definitely see that I know, as we're discussing before we recorded, you know, I mean, I'm one of those stubborn guys who there were injuries back in 2010. That, you know, now in 2018-19. A largely in portion to my spouse saying, hey, you do this, and you shouldn't do that, like, Oh, no, I'm fine. No, you, you should probably go talk to somebody like, Oh, yeah, and hey, lo and behold, I have a hearing right now.

You know, so I think I'm still in and I'm that stubborn. So I can definitely see that five years down the road. I'd be like, Oh, you know, hey, I should probably look into some of this stuff.

10:00 - 15:00



And then let's be honest, I mean, as that trends we're not really accustomed to asking for help, right? There's a certain persona and bravado that comes along with, you know, wearing the uniform, which is great. There's that sense of pride. But we need help every now and again. And that's okay. That's why these things exist. That's why there's resources. That's why there's organizations and people that are out there to help support us. And so we should absolutely take full advantage of all that, because that's why it's intended for that, it's there for us to be able to utilize.

And it all starts with just the conversation, even if it's with a fellow colleague, you know, that hopefully can provide some quality information and not kind of send you on a goose chase. But you know, organizations such as ours are really here to help support and guide that process.


And I know I have a couple different questions for you. But real quick, if we can segue, I would like to ask we didn't even I didn't even ask this piece yet. Can you explain your two businesses the run because I know we've talked about your organization, but if you could give a little background on it before we go forward, I think that would be beneficial.



So I'm Traveler's Q. I established that back in 2011. I was actually booking travel just for friends and family. And I had a colleague of mine say, you know, that's an actual business, like, you can make money off of that. And I'm like, oh, wow, there's the concept. Let's try to give that a whirl.

And so very similar to the transition process, you know, getting out, it was super confusing, a lot of scattered information, I was given, you know, 100 different answers to the same question. And so at that point, I said, Okay, if I can ever figure out this business thing and actually be successful, I want to utilize it for good, I want to be able to reinvest back into the veteran community.

So Travelers Q specifically focuses on travel management for businesses. So we work with nonprofits, we work with small businesses, entrepreneurs, event planners, and ultimately, what we do is that we support events and corporate travel.

And so it was really the start and launch of Travelers Q, which gave me the confidence and even the resources to be able to launch SAVI. SAVI was established about two and a half years ago, I spent seven months just in strategy and development. Because after starting Travelers Q and really knowing that there's so many intricacies of business and everything from accounting, to marketing, to web design, there's just so many things that you just don't know about until you're kind of in it. And so I knew that I wanted to do SAVI, right, I didn't want to have to go through that whole entire process again, and, you know, be scrambling to try to put things together, I wanted to have a solid plan, I wanted to be able to know who was going to be the support system, from a leadership standpoint, who was going to be contributed. And so after I felt confident in what we had established in terms of our main objective, our mission, who was going to be involved, then we actually formalized SAVI into an organization and we are a nonprofit based out of the state of California. We do serve nationwide.

And really, the main reason why SAVI was established was because the necessity of spending as long as I have in this arena, one of the fundamental things that I've realized is that it's not an issue of access. As veterans, we have more than enough access to a plethora of resources.

There's about 600,000 different resources between federal, state and local levels. And there's over 46,000 nonprofits that are currently serving the veteran community that does not include government agencies. And that does not include any state or county agencies. So there's a lot that's out there.

So if we know that that's not the problem, then what is? Education, relevancy customization, nobody makes the stuff relevant to our specific needs. And so that's really where SAVI comes in. We have a 12 month program that focuses on educating veterans on their basic federal entitlements. So that means VA and DOD for retirees. And then we take all of those wonderful and amazing resources, and all of those wonderful and amazing nonprofits, and we customize it to make it relevant to the individual's needs. And we are engaging actively through the transition process so that all of our veterans have a transition coach that they work with, that's really helping guide, answer questions, and making sure that there's a basic understanding of what it's supposed to be done and how it's ultimately relevant to the timeframe in which you are from transition.

So all of our individuals, all of our program participants are within one year of separation or retirement to one year post separation retirement. So they are actively in the transition process and getting out and reintegrating into the civilian sector.


Trying to figure out how to eliminate nasty words from the vocabulary and correct without yelling.



And we focus on four primary categories and that's education, employment, entrepreneurship and retirement.

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So contingent on what the primary, once you get out is ultimately how we start to kind of break down these resources. And make sure that there's an understanding of how it can ultimately help you achieve whatever objective it is that you have.

And it's at no cost, I absolutely have to mention that.

We are, we don't charge that much for any of the programs or education that we offer. And so that's really a part of my commitment to give back. I've been very fortunate to have an amazing group of individuals that are supporting us internally. And they're all very, very passionate about serving that. So I'm very, very lucky to have them with me.


Yeah, that's, I mean, that's super cool. Because like you said, the hardest thing. I mean, the first question that most veterans find themselves asking, you know, or servicemembers is, where do I start?

You know and so to have a place that can guide you through that, right, I mean, that's like everything we do in the military, there's a mentor, right, but like by the guy that I told you, before, we recorded this gentleman, I was talking to who's read an article title, you know, nine secrets or whatever. He was, like, why are they secrets? And I said the same thing you said, I was like, well, it's just the title to dry when and it's catchy, you know, I need to use that word more in my articles that I write.




But he brought up a valid point, he was like, you know, the problem with this is that everyone who's done this is gone. And everyone who's telling me what they think I should do, has heard it through different people throughout the last two or three decades.




Changed a million times, and no one really knows. And the people that I would ask, they're not here. That's true. It's like the one spot in the military where there isn't mentorship, there's just from the active duty side, right? It's just, oh, man, I know a guy who did that. Man, I hope I saw this phone number.



And, you know, it's like playing telephone, right? We talk to one another veterans talk to veterans all the time, which is great in theory, but it's horrible when you're perpetuating bad information.

And I don't think that anybody sets out to purposely do that. I just think that everybody's situation is unique. And this is why customization is so important. There's not a one size fits all. It's not like a blanket statement to say, all right, you're getting out. So this is everything that applies to you. It doesn't work that way, it has to really, we had to break down, we have to learn about each other. And we had to really figure out what's going to be relevant to that specific individual and what they're going through. Because again, everybody is different, disabilities impact our ability to process and understand things.

Even if you don't have disabilities. You know, there's one of our advisors uses this really cool term called transition trauma, which is really just kind of the the mentality of being stuck due to an overload of information, which is really the transition process, there's so much going on, outside of the fact that, hey, guess what, you're still in the military, you still your primary duty is still to serve. And so you have to be able to do that in conjunction with figuring out the rest of your life and what that's gonna look like. And that is no easy task.

Unless you have just spent a lot of time reading and appearing and about what post military life looks like, then really, you gotta start somewhere, like he said, you know, where do we start? What are the right questions to ask? And that's really the conversation that needs to be had.


Many people are spending that much time worrying about it. It feels like most people try to spend more time trying to talk me into being realistic than they do about my plan, which is fine.


We'll do right, because it's just easier. Like I don't want to have to deal with transition, let me just realize, I'll worry about that in the next four years, or in the next eight years, and push it off and push it off. And then all of a sudden it's time to retire. And now it's like Alright, now it's time to get serious about this.

I really feel like with the right education and catching people early, which is super important that we can really create a solid plan that can create success, having the right tools, having the right support, and really knowing again, what is the basics of this, because every veteran has basic requirements. And that's the thing that we need to really focus on. Because what you don't want to do is end up in a crisis situation, and then you're having to backtrack, trying to get that basic kind of eligibility established. Because you didn't do that when you first got out.


I just write myself a note for a date to make sure I reach out to you guys.


Oh, please do.


Like, a couple days before my year mark, so I can. Yeah, I've been lucky enough to have a couple guys that you know, are willing to sit down and talk as far as I mean, I didn't even know the options for looking at the reserves. I would have. I was sitting here hanging my decision on Okay, do I Yes. Do I stay at it? Yeah, yes. Do I retire until I sit down with I don't know if you know who Doug Nordmann is. He runs a website called the military guide and I was talking to him. He's like, well have you looked into reserves, here's what that looks like. I was like, Ah, that's perfect.

20:00 - 25:00


That’s all it takes that little, that little seed of information can literally change your entire life. And that's what that's what motivates me, that's what inspires me every day is that knowing that just taking that little bit of time to invest into somebody in give them the right information can make a complete world of difference to what their outcome is going to look like, once they get into the civilian sector.


Yeah, that's awesome.

Okay, so I had thought about asking you like, oh, man, okay, so if we had like, 12 months, what would that look like? But as you pointed out a couple times, that's super custom.

So I would be curious, I think instead, to kind of ask the number one topic everybody's always curious about, right is the disability, the rating process? And obviously, we can't get super in the weed.

And you know, and obviously, my problems are going to be way different than someone who is in the problems or whatever. But I would be curious to know, like, what are some things that you are there like, okay, these are the things you have to know, or, or timelines or, you know, basic overview of that process.



So the basics, when it comes to service connection, or disability compensation. Service connection is ultimately the process in which you actually get a condition related to the military. So that is a sensitive service connection.

Now, you do not have to be an amputee, you do not have to be, you know, completely disheveled and in pain every day in order to receive disability compensation. That's, I think, a really, really large misconception.

On top of that, whenever you file for your benefits, you are not taking away from anybody else. I feel like a lot of veterans, you know, we're very selfless, which is great and amazing. But we also have to be selfish in the fact that what you are entitled to, you deserve to file for, again, it's not a pot, you're filing for it, it's not taken away from anybody else. Those are your benefits, your entitlement, you should absolutely file for it. Because there are so many other ancillary benefits that are contingent on the basic service connection or disability compensation, that you are going to be missing out on a world of other things just because of, you know, a false pretense that you're taking away from somebody else's benefit.

So when we look at what qualifies for service connection, it really comes down to three primary things. First and foremost, it has to be a chronic medical disability, it cannot be an acute disability, meaning that it only happened one time, and then it was resolved. It can't be like a laboratory finding like high cholesterol, it has to be a chronic medical disability. And the way that that's granted is either it was caused, incurred or aggravated by military service caused pretty self explanatory, you had an event or something happened that ultimately caused you to have a disability.

Incurred simply means that you were diagnosed, why you were in or the symptoms started, why you were in, even if there's no clear connection to how the military caused it, so to speak, as long as you were diagnosed, or at least a root cause and symptoms started while you were in service. And it doesn't have to be active duty, you can be Guard or Reserve, then you can still get that service connected.

And then lastly, aggravation. That simply means that you came into the military with a disability, one of the most common ones are flat feet. If the military approved you to come in, there's something called presumption of soundness meaning that you are presumed sound and fit for duty in order to enter the military.

So your baseline is pretty much going to be zero, right? We start out with, you know, you are coming in saying that you are fit for duty presumption of soundness as established. And then if that disability aggravates beyond its normal progression, let's just say using flat feet again, you know, due to ruck marches, you know, maybe you're jumping out of Humvees, you're carrying heavy weight on your back, so your feet end up becoming a lot worse, because of all that trauma, that right there would qualify for service connection as well, because due to the exposure and your duties in the military, that condition has now been exacerbated beyond its normal point of progression.

And of course, there's some other ways to get service connected as well. There's secondary conditions, presumptive conditions, I won't get too much into that because those are some of the finer details. And I certainly recommend that you get a representative and advocate that can help you through that process to review your records and really help you understand what disabilities you have that may qualify for service connection.

So the bottom line is report everything. The minute that you know that you are getting out all of that drink water and press on goes out the window. Your primary responsibility is to make sure that you are taken care of once you get out, complain, complain, complain, complain, even if it's the day before you separate as long as it's recorded in your service medical records, then it can always be connected to the military.

Even if you don't have a diagnosis. It can be maybe symptoms of something that has been irking you for a while. You don't know what it's due to report it, make sure that it's documented.

25:00 - 30:00


If it's not in writing, it doesn't exist. And so it's so important to make sure that you have everything accounted for in your service treatment records. So that if it does, in fact, develop into something more serious later, you have a point of reference that you can still get service connected for.


That’s cool. Yeah.

And that's, I mean, that's huge. You're breeding off these and I'm like, Okay, so this one would fit that description that would fit. Yeah.

And it's, it's interesting, and I would assume, so I'm going to ask, I know, we're gonna get specific, but when you say presumptive is that things like the, like the burn pit registry, where it's like, you might not have cancer now, but because you're on like, for me, I was around this fire in Afghanistan called the smooth fire where essentially, the entire supply section on base went up in smoke, and I was in a dozer trying to put out, you know, no respirator, and it's like every chemical known the base was burning in my face, as though it's in my medical record, like, hey, if he gets cancer, because of breathing all this crap in, you know, whatever, so that would be like a presumptive or it hasn't happened.


That just simply means that based on certain exposures, or based on a theater for that you may have served in the VA can presume that at some point in time, you may develop x, y, and z.

Now, that is an absence of having any documented treatment, complaints or diagnosis in service, you can still qualify for presumptive conditions, even though there's no record of it in the military, the record or the event that it is connected to is the exposure. And so a very perfect example would be ALS, ALS is a presumptive condition for all veterans, regardless of exposure, regardless of theater of war. So if you were to develop ALS, at any point in your life, post military, that would be a condition that you could file for.

And again, there's a whole list of them based on Agent Orange exposure based on Gulf War based sunburn pits, based on radiation. There's a whole list of conditions that may potentially qualify for the presumption status, depending again, on what your exposure was.



Let's let's, I mean, again, no one hopes that any of that happens, but that's cool to know that there's stuff like that out there that it's not, it's nice to know that it's not something I have to be like, Okay, I have cancer now. You know, I can later on.

So, you know people ask, like, at what time should you start? So there's this fear in the military, right? That if you start bringing things up, it will. It's not going to look, I mean, for me right now, I've been broken for like seven months, not because I brought something out, but because I actually had an injury.

You know, and it's kind of, it's not necessarily frowned upon, right? They understand. But there's a stigma for me or for veterans where it's like, Well, okay, even though everyone understands, I feel like this is, you know, I don't like being the broken guy or whatever.

But at what point do you think you said, when you know you're getting out, you should start documenting and complaining and stuff. But is that something that they're like you should just be doing all the way through your service? Is that a total misconception? Or should you? Is it acceptable to just bombard medical six months prior to your termination?


Oh, it's absolutely acceptable. I mean, there is no stipulation on how many times or at what point you report, you don't get penalised for reporting the day before you get out.

You know, as long as it's reported and documented. And when it comes to filing for benefits, there is a very specific time period that I want to make everybody aware of. There's a program called the BDD program or benefits delivery at discharge, that pretty much gives you expedited processing.

The earliest point that you can file for benefits while you're still in active duty Guard or Reserve is 180 days pre separation, you have to have your ETS date in order to be able to file for it. So 180 days to 90 days pre separation is the timeframe for the benefits delivery at discharge program.

This does not mean that you cannot file outside of it, you can file for benefits at any point in time, as long as it doesn't exceed the 180 days pre separation. You can file for benefits at any time. However, the BDD program will give you an expedited processing average time frame for a decision to be rendered after the military going through BDD is about three months versus for somebody that files while they're still in maybe outside of that timeframe. It's about six months.

Now, this is certainly not a quote for timeframes. Please don't you know, hold me to that. And obviously depends on the complexity of your case, how many disabilities you're filing for, when you're able to get your examination and all of those types of things.

So that's just an average. So there's certainly a benefit to being able to file within that time frame, again, 90 to 180 days, it will just give you priority processing.

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So if you are going to file, certainly I would recommend that you at least have the majority of What you're filing for documented, but certainly do not get out of the military without accounting for everything that you're filing for.

The VA will request your original service treatment records, meaning a complete record, not just into the point that you filed. It's not like they say, okay, he or she filed for benefits. So we're no longer going to review what happened afterwards, they have to pull your complete records. So again, as long as it's documented somewhere before you get out, and that's really the fundamental thing that you need to focus on.



That's good to know. And the nice thing with that is now I know, you hear all these horror stories about how long VA claims take, but now I know, okay, well, it's on me, if I do it in that 90 day window, then I should be taken care of very quickly. And if I don't, and I'm sitting around complaining about how long my benefits took.


Now, another thing I wanted to know when it comes to compensation is that anytime that you file a claim, between 180 days pre separation, and one year post separation, it will be retroactively back data to the day after you separated, whether it takes the VA three months or three years to make a decision, it does not matter. It will be retroactively backdated to the day after you separate it only if the claim is received, again, either through the BDD program, or within 100 or excuse me, one year post separation, that is a timeframe.

So there's no money loss. You obviously, if you file it outside of BDD, or even after you get out, you may have to wait a little bit longer. But from a financial standpoint, you will still get the full benefit all the way retroactively to the day after you separate it.




And the tax free payment.


Oh, okay.


That doesn't hurt.


Yeah, no, that's awesome. Although I would still prefer to start receiving that sooner rather than I mean, the lump sum is great, right? But not all of us make wise decisions with a lump sum says the guy who bought a Harley after deployment.

But yeah, I've gotten smarter about it, but I would probably still buy a toy. Although my toy might be a house now, I don't know. We'll see.

Maybe I'll be mature enough to make the right decision if I ever have that problem. Okay, so that's, I mean, that's awesome. That's a lot of stuff that I didn't know, I was gonna ask. And I know this can be a super quick answer. But that secret article I read, they touched on the phrase buddy letters, and I know you call it I think lay letters or something.


Lay statements.


Lay statements!

Is that? I mean, I had never even heard of that before. Is that something they made up to sound catchy, or I mean, is that something that holds weight is that useful?



So really, lay statements become relevant in absence of other documentation. So lay statements are really just personal testimonies from friends, family caregivers, any individual that ultimately witnessed you experiencing certain symptoms, please keep in mind that these individuals are not qualified to diagnose unless they just happen to be a physician, or you know, otherwise, if they're a medical professional. But normally, friends and family are just going to have, you know, the ability to report symptoms, what they actually witnessed, they're not intended to actually diagnose it with anything.

So again, an absence of you documented anything, a perfect example would be like sleep apnea, a lot of people don't even realize that they have sleep apnea, because there's some of the symptoms can be just mistaken for stress, like, you know, lack of sleep, waking up tired, snoring in the middle of the night, those are sometimes things that we often think of as normal.

And so let's just say that you never complained about sleep issues, but you ultimately get diagnosed with sleep apnea. Well, again, in absence of you having anything reported while you were in, you can get a lay testimony from a spouse from a friend from a family member that says yes, in fact, I heard this individual snoring, I heard them maybe gasping for air in the middle of the night, whatever it is, those are the types of things that they can report in a lay statement.


Okay, so it's more used. It's more for if I failed to report something, I was trying to retroactively get it into my record as opposed to so that's, that's good, because I either I misread it, or it was misinterpreted in the article, I thought it was more for, you know, like, if I'm trying to say, Okay, well, the reason for my hearing aid is because I drove over a bomb. And we never touched on that. So I'm going to get my buddy who is in the truck to write about the experience, but it sounds like that's fine, as long as I tell them before I get out.

So this is more for if I forgot to tell them. I'm like, oh, man, I forgot that I am deaf in one year, shoot and my wife can say like, you know, yeah, he can't hear me if I'm on the side or whatever.


And believe me when it comes to evidence, listen, it is really good to have your claim well supported. So I'm certainly not discouraging lay testimony. I think that anything that's going to help support your claim is important to submit for consideration. But outside of that, if you do have symptoms if you do have a diagnosis while you're in really the only thing that you need is a one time report, especially if it's diagnosis if it's a chronic medical disability, all you need is one diagnosis one time, and that's sufficient as long as it's a chronic condition.

35:00 - 40:00


Now, if it's a disability that you got diagnosed with 15 years ago, and then never reported it again, that may not qualify, because then it looks like an acute episode, right? It's something that you haven't experienced anything else for the last 15 years. And now you're trying to file for service connection.

So I think that it's important to make sure that the evidence is relevant, and that it's as recent as possible when you got out to make sure that it's still an active condition.


Awesome. Yeah, that's super cool.

Okay, so I, there were these two acronyms that you said before we got on, and I was gonna write them down. And I just realized it made sense for me to so they were the CR, CRSC, and the CRDP. And I have no idea what those mean. I remember they both had combat in them. And that's about as far as I got.


These are benefits that are specific for retirees only they are DOD benefits, they are not VA benefits. And so CRSC or combat related special compensation, ultimately is something that you can apply for if you're again, if you're a retiree, you do have to be in receipt of retiree pay, you have to have at least a 10% evaluation through VA. And then you also have to choose your retirement pay over your VA pay in order to receive this.

Now this specific benefit is something that you have to apply for, there is an application that needs to be submitted to the Department of Defense, it is submitted to your specific branch of service in order to qualify for that benefit. So it's just an additional pay for any disability that was a direct result of combat.

Concurrent retirement disability pay simply states that in order for you to be in receipt of both your retirement pay, as well as your VA disability pay, you have to have at least a 15% or 50, sorry, percent rating or greater to receive both. If you have less than that, then you would have to make a decision which of the two benefits from a financial standpoint that you want to receive.

Now, it does not negate any ancillary benefits that you may qualify for. So in other words, if you were to get 30% rating, and you were to opt in to receive your retired pay, as opposed to your VA pay, anything else that you would qualify for, like your VA home loan fee waiver, I don't know voc rehab, and medical care, those things are still in place, they are not taken away. It's just Who are you actually receiving a check from.

Now, concurrent retirement disability pay, if it's 50% or greater, is not something that you have to apply for, it is automatically instated, again, still a DOD benefit. Both of them are specifically again, for retirees. And there's a lot of great information out there about, you know, some of the other intricacies and qualifications that are based on that. But those are the only two benefits that are again, specific for retirees and does not apply to other vets.



Okay, so this, this one might be totally off the wall. And I don't know if there's an answer, but I thought of it while you mentioned that.

But I'm curious, because this is probably the biggest misnomer that I hear people talk about. I can't. I can't imagine that is true, right. But you mentioned the percentage for disability. And I know that if we were to get into how that whole system works. But I'm curious, is there? Really my question is just Is there a specific place where someone could say, Oh, well, I have this problem. So it should rate x percentage, or is that totally custom for the entire season?


Oh, absolutely not.

So there's a nice little beautiful thing called the rating schedule. This is an actual regulatory, you know, aspect that the VA ultimately says this is a specific criteria that you need to have in order to qualify for XYZ percentage.

This is not any VA adjudicator saying, Okay, let me look at David's case, I think he deserves this percent. That is not the way that it works. Everything is based on the specific criteria that the reschedule has outlined. The rating schedule or 38 CFR Part Four is public information that anybody can access at any time. And it has a list of all of the disabilities that ultimately be, you know, service connects, there are some disabilities that may not be listed. So it may have to be analogous, meaning that they find the closest thing to it that would represent it and then that's the criteria that they use, but every single disability has specific criteria.

And so, in order to qualify for a certain evaluation, you have to have that specific criteria. That criteria is normally derived from your VA examination, or a disability benefits questionnaire, which is the exact same form that is used at the VA examination that is ultimately a LCS starting point. And a huge indicator of how the evaluation is determined. But of course, all of the evidence in your record will be considered to ultimately render that final evaluation.

40:00 - 45:00


I'm glad I asked that, because that's at least cool. If there's an actual, something that that I could go look at, because I always hear people say like, oh, man, that's 30% easy and I’m like Dude you're a marine too you have no idea what you're talking about. So it'll be interesting to be able to say, Oh, you know, actually, I wonder what, you know, for something that, you know, is like, for example, for me, right? The hearing aid thing, there is no like, Oh, well, no, we don't think you have a hearing problem, really, because you gave me this so. So I could, you know, it'd be cool to be able to look and say, Oh, that's kind of what whatever, so that.


And keep in mind that service connection and compensation are kind of two separate entities. So you can get service connected, and it may not be at a percentage that actually qualifies for compensation, which is 0%, anything 10% or less is going to be no compensation. But you are still entitled to health care for that condition. And you can still absolutely be seen at any VA medical facility.

So it's important to at least get the service connection established, you can always file for an increase, if you feel like the condition has gotten worse. But again, keep in mind, and this will all be in your rating decision. When the rating decision is finalized, and you get a copy of it, it will explain exactly how they met the decision that they did, and how the evaluation was ultimately determined what criteria is required to meet the next higher evaluation. That is something that's mandatory by the Department of Veterans Affairs, it's called duty to assist. It is the obligation of the VA to notify you again, what criteria was used to meet your current evaluation and what criteria would need to be met in order to get a higher evaluation.

But at any point in time, you can always look this up again. 38 CFR Part Four is where all the disability evaluation criteria is listed.


That’s cool.

Alright, so we could obviously talk about disability stuff all day, right? Because that's what everybody is always curious about is the money, right? Or the, you know, for some people, like for me that, you know, okay, just get over that 10%. So there's no funding fee on the VA loan. But.


It adds up



And, and I mean, you know, I, I feel like the word you earned it is wrong, because it's not like I earned their problem. But, I mean, that's the reality, right? You deserved it.

So what else? We'll we'll kind of we don't, you know, I know, we don't have all night, but and we'll talk and we still got advocacy and compensation that we wanted to touch on.

But I was curious, you know, in the grand scheme of that 12 months leading up, is there anything else that you think is like a must know that you would you would want to touch on before it for things to do, I mean, obviously, you've got the taps or trs program and the VA stuff, but anything else in that time period that you think is just like a, I don't know, like, must talk about?


From a compensation standpoint, or just in general?


Hust, uh.

I mean, in general,


I would say that, you know, be okay with not knowing what you're going to do and be okay with exploring things. You know, there's a lot of great apprenticeship programs, there's the career Skill Bridge Program, there's a lot of different opportunities that are available to you, while you're still in the military, again, Active Duty Guard or Reserve, that you can start kind of dipping your toes in and figuring out what the civilian marketplace has to offer, before you even make a decision.

So I highly encourage people to diversify their skills and portfolio, you know, learn as much as you can about as many things that are transferable as possible, like marketing skills, writing skills, and negotiation skills. These are all things that you can apply to many different industries. And there's so many different platforms now that allow you to tap into content libraries that have all of these different skills and certifications that you can have.

You know, even from a technology standpoint, all of the major companies are obviously very excited to have veterans learn technology skills, because there's a lot of opportunities in the technology marketplace, despite not having any background and experience in that arena. So I would always say is, do your research, be okay with exploring, and it's okay, if you don't know, you know, try it out anyways, as long as it's not going to take you outside of your primary duties or not cause a burden to your process, then it's okay to explore these things.

Again, there's so many different avenues that provide free resources and training for you to really get a level of experience or exposure to some of these different opportunities and different career fields that you could potentially go into.

Even from a business perspective. You know, a lot of people want to start a business when they get out. There's certainly a lot of educational opportunities for you to just learn brass tacks business, and all of the different components that come along with that.

45:00 - 50:00


I'm glad you mentioned the skill Bridge Program. That's something that I plan to have. I mean, you know, assuming that my command is just cool enough to sign off on me doing it, I have an opportunity already on the table to try to utilize that when I get closer to IAS and I really want to use that program, I think that's a super underutilized. For those of you who don't know, it's essentially a six month internship with a company or a certification or whatever, where you're still active duty, you're still getting paid. And you have an opportunity to go essentially just work for free, but you're getting paid by the military to go and learn a skill and oftentimes, the certification and it can lead to hiring, or it can lead you saying I don't want to do this, but hey, it's a cool skill I learned.


And we actually have a really great partnership with a company called Gen M. If you guys go to\savvy, and I'll spell that out. That's just g n, the letter M, as in, backslash Sierra, alpha Victor, India, it's a again, it's a marketing apprenticeship program, it is five to 10 hours a week for three months, it is all remote. So it does not distract from your primary duty, they give you free education and training. And then you get to work with a real world employer that is interested in hiring veterans specifically.

And so again, just another option from an intern slash apprenticeship standpoint, that gives you real world experience. And it gives you a skill that's highly transferable into many different aspects of business, employment, again, the more that you can add your roster of skills more marketable that you're going to be period.

I know a lot of people go after their PMP, or their project management certification. And you know, project management and again, a very diverse skill set that a lot of people can apply for. And that can be, you know, integrated in so many different career fields. And so these are the types of things that you just have to be aware of, and really do a little bit of research to see what's available. Because these programs, again, are at no cost to you. They're amazing and valuable, and can definitely give you some insight as to what you might want to do next before you actually get out.


Yeah, that's a cool one, I'm gonna look that up. I mean, I've kind of dabbled a little bit in the marketing realm, as I started all this stuff. I kind of laughed as you're like marketing, sales, you know, writing and I was like, Man, I've kind of taught all my all those things to myself, but I don't really know the first thing about marketing, I just blast up a Red Cross social media and call it marketing. But that would be I mean.


There's so many different aspects of marketing.


Oh yea.


Right, you know, paid advertisements, and SEO and content. I mean, the list just goes on and on and on forever. So that was one of the aspects again of business that I had to really learn. And I can tell you, everybody that is starting a business, you have a basic understanding of these things.

Because if you don't, I assure you, there are plenty of people out there willing to take advantage of you, and charge you a million dollars a month to, you know, do whatever social engagement and do all this. And marketing can be sometimes hard to quantify in terms of ROI. So it's really important that you have a basic understanding of all business components, not just marketing, when it comes to accounting, when it comes to IT. When it comes to design, basic understanding, you don't have to be an expert, but know enough so that nobody can take advantage of you to charge you ridiculous amounts of money for something that you may not need.


I mean, yeah, SEO for one is just ridiculously expensive. I mean, you need SEO, but man, that stuff's not cheap if you try to do someone in the States.

So anyway, alright, so we could go down the rabbit trail of all my failures in the marketing realm.

But I know we briefly touched on it, but I wanted to, you know, talk about the word compensation, because I think there was a very valuable piece in there that we alluded to, but you know, the fact that we people don't pay for your services, advice, other services out there, and I'd love to hear you talk on that.



Again, there's so many free resources out there that are extremely valuable. And I think that a lot of people end up getting frustrated with the process. And so they kind of want to push the easy button. And sometimes the easy button translates into them taking out their wallets.

There are very, very few instances in which I feel like a veteran should have to pay for any of these support services. And believe me when I tell you there are enough organizations out there that can absolutely supplement that at no cost that you. It should definitely be a red flag if you know there's a price tag attached to something that relates to transition support.

You know, there are qualified organizations that are accredited to represent you through the VA claims process. Third Party organizations that are all nonprofits, they do not charge a giant to do what they do. Um, like I said, SAVI, we do not get involved in representation, but we focus specifically on the educational piece.

50:00 - 55:54


Again, we do not charge a cent for anything that we do. So you never have to worry about getting you know a bill or anything at the end of the month, same thing applies to anything that we refer our veterans too, we always refer to free resources, because we want to encourage the use of these, you know, wonderful and amazing things that are out there for us to be able to take advantage of 600,000. That's not a made up number, no 46,000 plus nonprofits, that's not a made up number, these organizations are out there to serve you, please take advantage of it.

And again, if there is a price tag attached to it, just make sure you ask first, because there may potentially be a resource out there of equal or greater value to you that you do not have to spend a dime for.

So again, just you know, please make sure that there's plenty of things out there that aren't going to cost you money. So let's take advantage of things that don't. And when it comes to aiding and supporting the transition process, there's a lot that's available.


Yeah. And that ties into, you know, basically, like half the premise for this whole website is that expenses are usually the problem. People always say we don't make enough money, but it's usually the expenses that kill you. So if you can get a service for free, don't just because it costs money does not necessarily make it better.


No, it does not.

Anyways, and again, sometimes it doesn't make your process any easier either. No, sometimes you're paying for services, and there's still a lot that you have to do in order to get that service, and you're paying for it.

So you know, there are people in the community that are advocates and are super passionate. And especially in the veteran community, there are a lot of veterans that are serving, because we like to be around, you know, our colleagues, we like to be around our peers, and we speak the language, we understand the process. And so it's important to be able to ask these questions and engage. And you know, don't be afraid to reach out. Because, you know, there's, again, there's quality, quality, quality resources that are out there that can certainly help meet whatever objective it is that you're looking for, whether it's in business, and employment, education, retirement, you know, these are all of the aspects that we really focus on and make sure that we connect to some of these lean organizations that are providing that. And they serve nationwide, too, as we do so, depending on where you're at, you know, there may be an organization that's specific to your region, or it may be an organization that's nationwide. Either way, you can still get access to it.


Awesome. Awesome. Voice correct.

Okay, so, man, that's just awesome. So I guess, really, at this point, it's probably about time to wrap it up. Otherwise, we'll be on the phone all night. But is there anything you'd like to add any parting advice or big ideas before we wrap this all up?


I definitely encourage you guys. If you know of anybody that's getting out or you yourself are getting out, reach out to us, you can reach us at www.Savivets that's plural. So\veterans, you can sign up to join our Resource Network. Or if you know somebody that's getting out, you can definitely refer to us, we highly encourage referrals, we will get back to everybody that submits a referral within 48 business hours, we will absolutely notify you that that contact has been made so that you know that we've at least establish a baseline with them. And the way that you can refer again,

So very easy. Again, it's always live, it's always available. And we would certainly love to connect with anybody. Even if you're two years out three years out, if you're thinking about transition, let's talk about it. We cannot officially put you into our program until your one year pre separation. But that does not mean that we can't have a conversation. So I highly encourage anybody thinking about transitioning, considering it. Maybe trying to start planning for it. Let's have a chat. I'm more than happy to connect with anybody. And we've not denied any veterans, even if you've been out for 5,10,15 years. If you have a question, contact us, I assure you that we will help guide you and make sure that you get connected to the right support.


Well, that is phenomenal.

My next question would have been where can people get a hold of you and thoroughly answered that I will link to all of that below in the show notes for those you watching or listening. And thank you very much. I mean, I learned a ton. You know, a lot of times I ask questions throughout this podcast. It's like things that I already have a decent idea about because it's real estate related, but yeah, I had no idea what I was doing here. So this is awesome.


And just one other mention if you don't mind, if up on Facebook Savi vets is our kind of home screen name. We have resource webinars every month.

So we provide really great information, whether it deals with transition, whether it deals with specific benefits and resources. We've done some really incredible webinars already and had some amazing hosts on there. So I definitely encourage you guys, if you go to that website,\veterans and you connect to our Resource Network, you will absolutely be notified of all of our upcoming resource webinars. So we'd like to put out quality information all the time and really make sure that you guys are aware of what's available to you.

So check us out on Facebook, give us a call, shoot us an email info at And we're definitely more than happy to help. And, you know, again, if there's any way that I can provide that assistance or anybody within our network can, and we want to make sure that we're supporting our vets the best as possible.



Thank you very much for joining us this evening, Adrianne, this has been phenomenal.


It's been awesome. Thank you so much for your time. And, you know, again, I look forward to helping everybody as they're getting ready to transition out.


Awesome. Have a great night.


Thank you. You too.


Thank you for listening to another episode about my journey From military to millionaire. If you liked it, be sure to visit to subscribe to future podcasts. While you're there, we'd love for you to rate the show. Give us a review on iTunes. Now get out there and take action.

Episode: 51

Adrianne Phillips

Adrianne Phillips is an Air Force Veteran, business owner, and non-profit leader!

After transitioning from the military Adrianne hit some rough patches. She eventually started the business “Travelers Q” and has grown that large enough to support her non-profit organization “Strategic Alliance Veteran Integration (SAVI)” which is dedicated to helping service members navigate their benefits while transitioning out of the military.

This organization primarily targets service members in their last year of service, in order to render them free, customized support for utilizing the benefits afforded to them while exiting the military. I will be using this platform when I exit the military!

the resource she recommends is:

His big idea/parting advice is:

Don’t pay for services that you can receive for free!

If you want to reach out to SAVI they are on Facebook here:






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