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Military & Veterans Benefits Support

This section focuses on key areas for Sailors who have or are thinking about retiring or moving to Reserve status. These include annual retirement points, applying for retired pay, ID cards, TriCare medical benefits and the VA. In addition, we have information for family members on funeral services and the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan. If you don’t see the answer to your question email Military & Veterans support team and include the topic of your question in the subject line. 

  • When you know you’re going to retire most of you will complete the “change to manual password” option  with DS LOGON because your CAC cards must be exchanged for either grey-area or retired ID cards. This is very important because this manual logon will be needed for access to Tricare, VA benefits, and MANY OTHER DoD and non-DoD Benefits websites! 

    Here is the link for an Army retired pay calculator that asks you to log on using your DS Logon or visit  https://myaccess.dmdc.osd.mil/identitymanagement/authenticate.do?execution=e1s1

  • Q: How do I access my Annual Retirement Point Record/Annual Statement of Service History (ARPR/ ASOSH)?
    A: If you are a non-drilling IRR member, a Reservist who will be eligible for retired pay at age 60 (gray area) or a member on the Retired List (receiving pay) and do not possess a Common Access Card (CAC), the nearest Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) may be able to assist you. The Navy Personnel Command Service Center (1-866-827-5672) can provide a verbal Reserve point total.

    Q: How can I estimate my retirement pay?
    A: Retirement benefits can only be calculated with surety by PERS. Once you receive a letter saying you are eligible to retire, then you you can ask them to approximate your benefits.Use a retirement pay calculator to find an approximation.

    Reserve service is “converted” to active service by dividing retirement points by 360.

    For example, 7200 points divided by 360 = 20 years of active duty service,  2.5% x 20 years = 50%.

    Read more about reserve retirement on the OSD website

  • Q: How do I submit an application for retired pay benefits?
    A: Complete the DD Form 108, an application for Retired Pay Benefits; NAVPERS 1800/13, a questionnaire for applicants for retired pay; DFAS-CL Form 1059, a direct deposit authorization; and the IRS Form W-4, the employee’s withholding allowance certificate. These forms must be completed in duplicate. Mail all forms with original signatures to:

    Commander Navy Personnel Command (PERS-921E)
    5720 Integrity Drive
    Millington, TN 38055

    Q: Are there any helpful hints when completing DD Form 108?
    A: Yes, a few items to keep your eye out for:

    • Item 3 – the earliest date retired pay may commence is your 60th birthday or the day after completion of 20 years of qualifying service, whichever is later unless early retirement is authorized under NDAA 2008.
    • Item 8 – indicate current assignment, if any. If retired or discharged, indicate date of transfer to the Retired Reserve, discharge or separation.
    • Items 9 – 17 – detailed completion of these items is not required. However, if these are not completed, you must write, across the corresponding spaces, a statement to the effect that “You will accept records of service as maintained by the Department of Navy.” Use of such a statement does NOT preclude your right to have records corrected, if necessary.
    • If you are transferring to the retired pay status from a drilling status, current policy requires endorsements from your chain of command.
    • Complete processing of an application normally takes several months. Please include your social security number on all correspondence. If you have a change of address or phone number before your effective pay date, report the information to PERS-012 at the address above or call 1-866-827-5672 immediately

    Q: How do I verify my retirement date if I have two conflicting papers?
    A: Use the document that allows you to qualify for the earliest receipt of your retired pay before your 60th birthday as reference. If qualified, you will eventually receive pay as early as you earned

    Q: How can I manage my retired pay?
    A: The most convenient way to manage your retirement pay account is through myPay, an online account management system. When you transfer from active duty to retired pay status, all the preferences from your active duty myPay account will be transferred to your new retired pay myPay account. Here is the login access webpage to register and sign up for myPay.

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  • Q: Do I need to get a new “retired” ID card?
    A: Yes. Your initial retired ID card is issued with an expiration date of your 65th birthday. You must then get your last retired ID card, which will be issued for the duration.

    Q: Why do I need to renew my ID card?
    A: You are required to get a new ID card at 65 so your information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) can be updated as your TriCare medical insurance will then shift to TriCare for Life (TFL) and will cover the expenses that are not covered by Medicare Part A and B.

    Q: When can a “gray area” Reserve member and spouse obtain their retired ID card?
    A: You may obtain your card no earlier than two weeks before your 60th birthday and have retirement orders. You can then be put in a retired status in DEERS and issued an ID card. If you go past your 60th birthday, you need to go to the nearest ID location where your record will be updated and you will be issued a new ID card.

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  • Q: When do retired Reservists become eligible for TriCare medical benefits?
    A: You must be 60 years old to apply for TriCare medical and dental programs, even if you qualify for early receipt of your retired reserve pay due to qualifying activity assignments. TriCare uses DEERS as reference data, so you must be registered in DEERS to be eligible for TriCare.

    Q: How do I confirm my eligibility and apply for TriCare Retired Reserve?
    A: You can confirm your eligibility online or by calling the DEERS Support Office (1-800-538-9552)

    Q: What is TriCare Retired Dental Program?
    A: It is a voluntary dental plan available to retired reserve members, their family members or dependents.

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  • Q: How do I apply for Veterans benefits?
    A: 
    Help in filing applications for benefits can be obtained through any Veterans Service Officer. You can receive assistance from Veterans Service Organizations or associations like the American Legion, VFW, etc. For general questions, call the VA’s toll free number, 1-800-827-1000.

    Q: What is the difference between VA disability compensation and VA pension?
    A:
     VA compensation and a VA pension are not the same thing. VA compensation is a benefit paid on the basis of the kind and severity of a disability that happened as a result of your active duty in military service. VA pension is a benefit paid on the basis of a disability that was not a result of active service in the military or because of age. Pension is also based on income. There are other criteria that may apply to deciding eligibility for VA pension.

    Q: How much does VA pay in compensation?
    A: 
    Benefits vary depending on the type of disability and percent of disability rating. For 30% or more disability, an additional amount is added for each dependent. Additional amounts are also paid for severe disabilities such as the loss of use of a limb or an organ.

    Q: How does the VA determine the level of compensation payable?
    A: 
    Disability compensation is a monthly benefit paid to veterans because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. The VA evaluates each service-related condition in 10% increments. For some conditions, the maximum level of compensation is 100%. However, for most conditions, the maximum level of compensation is less than 100%.

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  • Q: How do I obtain a burial flag?
    A: 
    The VA provides an American flag to cover the casket of a veteran discharged under any condition except dishonorable. This includes retired guard and reserve members who are entitled to, or are collecting, military retirement benefits.

    Q: Does the VA provide headstones and grave markers?
    A: 
    The VA provides, at no cost to the family, a government headstone or marker for the graves of all veterans in national cemeteries, state veterans’ cemeteries and private cemeteries worldwide. The VA may furnish an appropriate headstone or marker for the graves of eligible veterans buried in private cemeteries whose deaths occurred on or after Sept. 11, 2001, regardless of whether the grave is already marked with a nongovernmental marker.

    Q: How much financial aid does the VA give for funeral services?
    A: 
    The VA will pay an allowance of up to $600–up to $300 for burial expenses and up to $300 toward a plot–for non-service related deaths. For service-connected deaths, the VA also pays a burial allowance of up to $2,000 for deaths on or after Sept. 11, 2001, and up to $1,500 for deaths before that date. If a veteran whose death is service-connected is buried in a VA national cemetery, some or all of the cost of transporting the deceased may be reimbursed.

    Q: Can I be buried in a national cemetery?
    A: 
    Military retirees, including National Guard and reserve retirees, may be buried in any of the 120 cemeteries operated by the VA if space is available, as well as those operated by the National Park Service. Also eligible are veterans who served on active duty and received discharges other than dishonorable, as well as guard and reserve members who served for 20 creditable years or more and were eligible for retired pay.

    Q: Am I eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery?
    A: 
    All retirees and veterans honorably discharged before Oct. 1, 1949, with disabilities rated at 30% or more can be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Also eligible for burial in Arlington are members who die on active duty, retirees, Guard and reserve retirees upon reaching age 60, former prisoners of war and holders of the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star or Purple Heart.

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  • Q: What is the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP)?
    A: The plan allows people who have attained 20 qualifying years in the Reserve Components to leave the people they care about – beneficiaries – with the benefit of a monthly payment called an annuity.

    Q: When can you enroll in RCSBP?
    A: When you have completed the years of service required to qualify for retired pay through a nonregular retirement, you will be notified and may choose to participate in RCSBP. You have 90 days from your Notice of Eligibility (NOE) to choose one of the three options available. Any choice made within the 90 day period is permanent unless changed before the expiration of the 90 day period.

    Q: Am I required to enroll in RCSBP?
    A: No. However, if you are married or have a dependent child when you receive a notice for eligibility of retirement you will automatically be enrolled in RCSBP—unless you chose not to participate within the 90 days of the date of notification.

    Q: Who is eligible to be a beneficiary?
    A: You may choose coverage for a spouse, spouse and child, child only, former spouse, former spouse and child or someone you want to provide a level of financial security.

    Q: When will my beneficiary’s benefit payments begin?
    A: When you enroll you must decide when you want payments to begin. Your choices are retirement age, which is when the service member would have turned age 60 or date of death.

    Q: When will I be able to enroll in RCSBP?
    A: Usually within 180 days after attaining 20 qualifying years you will receive your NOE and a letter containing a Reserve Component SBP Election Certificate. You need to complete the form and send it to the address on the back of the form to enroll.

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  • Q: How is the military retirement system going to change?
    A: The military retirement system will changed as outlined in the current National Defense Authorization Act, to go into effect January 2018. Service members who joined after 2006 but before January 1, 2018 will have the choice whether to stay with the existing system or opt into the new “Blended Retirement System

    Q: How does the Thrift Savings Plan figure into the new system?
    A: Blended Retirement will enroll all Service members joining after January 2018 into the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), with automatic and matching Department of Defense (DoD) contributions. After completion of two years of service, the Service member is vested and that money belongs to them. If you leave, it goes with you.

    Q: How long will the DoD match my contributions?
    A: The DoD will contribute 1% of a Service member’s basic pay to their TSP after 60 days of entering service and will begin to match the Service member’s contributions (up to an additional 4% when a Service member contributes at least 5%) at the start of the third year of service. Both the DoD automatic 1% and the matching contributions continue through the end of the Service member’s 26th year of service.

    Q: What is the second part of the system, continuation pay?
    A: The Blended Retirement System also offers a new “continuation pay” – after 12 years of service, members will receive a cash payment if they opt to stay in for 4 more years. The payment will be two and half months of basic pay for the active component member and half a month’s basic pay for the reserve component member.

    Q: What about the third part, the annuity?
    A: The third part of the Blended Retirement System is a defined benefit or a monthly annuity, which is similar to the 20-year retirement system now in place. Members who retire will still get their monthly annuity pay, but at a reduced amount. The annuity’s formula is 2
    percent times years served times the “high three” or the average of the highest 36 months (three years) of basic pay received. The Blended Retirement System annuity is close to the current retirement formula, which uses 2 and a half percent as the multiplier.

    Q: If I’m in the new blended system and retire after 20 years, will I still get an annuity?
    A: 
    Yes, for those who retire after at least 20 years of service, the retirement remains predominantly a defined benefit in which you will get monthly retired pay. Instead of being calculated at 2.5% times the average of your highest 36 months of basic pay (or your last month of basic pay, if you are under the older, final pay system), your monthly retired pay will be calculated with a 2% multiplier.

Still have a question? If so, email our Military & Benefits Support Team and be sure to put the topic in the subject line for a faster response. Also, be sure to include your phone number in your email in case we need to call.

Disclaimer: The information provided in the Benefits Section is a guide and is not designed to take the place of advice from a financial, medical and legal expert. AUSN encourages you to consult financial, medical and legal experts before taking action.

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