Understanding Guard and Reserve Points – How to Earn Points, and How they Affect Your Retirement

Members of the Guard and Reserves earn Retirement Points for their service. These Retirement Points are used to determine your "Good Years" of service to qualify for retirement benefits.
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Members of the Reserve Component (the National Guard and Reserves) have a different pay and retirement system than Active Duty servicemembers. The Reserve retirement system is set up with the same principles as the Active Duty system, but instead of calculating the retirement based on years of service, it is calculated using Retirement Points.

Understanding how Retirement Points are earned is essential to understanding when you will be eligible for retirement and how to calculate the value of a Reserve pension.

The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of how points are earned and how they are used to calculate your retirement.

Understanding Guard and Reserve Points – How to Earn Points, and How they Affect Your Retirement

Qualifying for a Military Retirement

Before we jump into Points, we need to look at retirement – because the only time Points really matter is when they are used to calculate a “Good Year” of service that counts toward retirement or when they are used to calculate a retirement pension.

In general, servicemembers need a minimum of 20 qualifying years of service to be eligible to retire. Some exceptions exist, such as those who receive a medical retirement or those who are eligible for retirement under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA). But for this article, we will refer to 20 years as the standard.

Active duty retirees must have 20 years of active duty service to qualify for retirement. This is often referred to as TAFMS time, or Total Active Federal Military Service. An active duty pension starts immediately upon retirement.

Members of the National Guard or Reserves also need 20 Good Years* of service – this can be any combination of qualified service in the National Guard, Reserves, or Active Duty. A Reserve pension generally doesn’t begin until age 60 unless the servicemember qualifies for early retirement based on their active duty time or activations.

*Defining a Good Year in the Guard/Reserves:

A “Good Year” in the Guard or Reserves means the servicemember earned a minimum of 50 Points. Service of less than 50 Points in a given year will not be a Good Year. The Points still count toward retirement, but the servicemember doesn’t get credit for a Good Year.

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Earning Annual Participation Points

Annual Participation Points - Guard and Reserves

National Guard and Reserve members earn 15 Points each year they participate in the Guard or Reserves. This includes service in the Regular Reserves or the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).

The Regular Reserves come to mind when most people think of the Guard or Reserves. This is the “One Weekend a Month, Two Weeks a Year” you probably heard your recruiter or retention officer mention when you joined the military or were out-processing. (Note: While “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” is the common refrain, many members of the Reserve Corps serve many more days than the minimum or serve under a different schedule).

The IRR is the Reserve organization many servicemembers must join when they leave active duty. Almost all initial military contracts are 8-year contracts. If you joined active duty on a 4-year contract, you most likely had 4 years of required duty in the IRR.

For many servicemembers, joining the IRR doesn’t come with any additional duty requirements – the military simply keeps your information on file if they need to do a recall or mobilization. Recalls aren’t common, but they do happen from time to time (for example, it happened to some people in the Post-9/11 era). That said, most people in the IRR never get called back to active duty. However, since they are on the Individual Ready Reserve manning roster, they earn 15 Participation Points per year, even if they don’t do anything else.

Earning Additional Points through Service

Guard and Reserve members earn additional Points through their annual participation. Participation is broken down into Active Service and Inactive Service. Examples of the types of service include:

  • Active Service – Active Duty (AD), Active Duty for Training (ADT), and Annual Training (AT)
  • Inactive Duty Service – Inactive Duty Training (Paid and Non-Paid), membership, and Non-residential correspondence courses.

Active Service

Members on Active Service are paid active duty rates and benefits and earn one Point for each calendar day they serve in one of these categories. Additional retirement Points cannot be awarded for other activities while in active duty status.

Active Service includes Active Duty (AD), Active Duty for Training (ADT), and Annual Training (AT). AD and ADT days are self-explanatory. This is when the Reserve member is called to active duty, including mobilizing, deploying, training, etc. AT days are the annual two-week training requirement, or the “two weeks a year.” Servicemembers earn one Retirement Point per day while in these statuses.

Inactive Duty Service

Members on Inactive Duty Service can be in a paid or unpaid status, depending on their type of service. The number of Points they earn can also vary depending on the type of service they are performing.

Common Inactive Service Duty includes the weekend Drills, performing in the Honor Guard for Funeral Honors Duty, completing correspondence courses, and other statuses. Drills are a paid status. Serving in the Honor Guard is often an unpaid duty.

Correspondence courses may be paid or unpaid, depending on the course and the availability of unit funds. Correspondence courses also earn the member varying Points, depending on the completed course. Military correspondence courses are normally worth one Point for every three hours of course credit.

Drill Periods

Each Drill Weekend consists of 4 Drill Periods. There is a morning Drill and an afternoon Drill for each day on the weekend, each 4 hours long. Members receive an equivalent of 1 day’s pay for each Drill (Based on 1/30th of the monthly base pay for their pay grade and time in service). They also earn 1 Point per Drill (not to exceed 2 Points per calendar day). So a typical Drill weekend is worth four days of pay and 4 Retirement Points.

Points Breakdown:

  • 1 Point for each day on Active Service (AD, ADT, and AT)
  • 1 Point per Drill Period (Each Drill weekend normally has 4 Drills, so this is good for 4 Points on a normal Drill weekend).
  • 1 Point for serving in an Honor Guard for Funeral Honors Duty (normally capped at 1 Point per day, regardless of the number of funerals in which you serve as an Honor Guard).
  • 1 Point for each three study hours of qualifying military correspondence courses.

Keep in mind these are guidelines, and there may be exceptions or other opportunities for earning more Reserve Retirement Points.

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Retirement Points Earned Per Year

Reserve Annual Retirement Points

A “normal” year in the Guard or Reserves should be worth approximately 78 Retirement Points. This is broken down as follows:

  • 15 Points – Annual Participation
  • 48 Points – 12 Monthly Drills (4 Drill Periods per month)
  • 15 Points – Annual Training (this can vary based on your unit)
  • Additional Points as earned (training, correspondence courses, Honor Guard, mobilizations, etc.).

*Normal is subjective. The math above applies to the standard “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” for a “normal” year in the Guard or Reserves. However, the “normal” year may not apply to everyone. It’s very common to earn more Points, or fewer Points, depending on your specific situation and the needs of your unit.

Maximum Points in a Given Year

The maximum number of Retirement Points a servicemember can earn in any given year is 365 (366 in leap years). This corresponds to serving every day on active duty (or an equivalent number of service Points). You will note that you cannot double dip on Retirement Points and do correspondence courses or other services to earn more than 365 Points in a given year.

By law, there is a cap on the number of inactive duty points that can be accrued for retirement in a given year.

  • Reserve year ends on or after 30 Oct 2007: max of 130 Points
  • Reserve year ends on or after 29 Oct 2000: max of 90 Points
  • Reserve year ends on or after 23 Sep 1996: max of 75 Points
  • Before 23 Sep 1996: max of 60 Points

These limits apply to all branches of the military.

Tracking Retirement Points

Your individual Reserve year begins on your Retirement/Retention Year (typically the first day you joined the Reserves) and ends the day before the annual anniversary. For example, I enlisted in the IL Air National Guard on August 07, 2014. My Reserve year runs from August 7, 2014, through August 6, 2015. To qualify for a Good Year, I must earn 50 Points within that period.

Your parent service should maintain all Retirement Points and can be accessed in your service’s personnel website. It’s a good idea to review these Points regularly to ensure your service is correctly credited. This is highly recommended if you have a break in service, are mobilized or called to active duty, or complete any correspondence or unpaid duty that results in earned Retirement Points. It’s also a good idea to print and maintain copies of your Point Credit Summaries each year to have a physical record.

Here is an example of a Point Credit Summary:

National Guard / Reserve Points Summary

Counting Good Years

As mentioned above, you need to earn 50 Points per year in order to have a “Good Year” that counts toward retirement. This is fairly easy to do as a Drilling member of a National Guard or Reserve Unit. As mentioned above, just doing the standard “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” should be good for around 75+ Retirement Points per year. It’s even possible to miss your entire two-week Annual Training (AT) period and still satisfy the 50-point requirement for a Good Year.

Most members of the IRR won’t earn a Good Year toward retirement unless they served a partial year on active duty or in the Regular Reserves either before or after joining the IRR.

This actually happened to me. I joined the Active Duty Air Force on a 6-year contract, but I extended my contract by 6 months to deploy again before separating. I transitioned into the IRR after I separated from active duty. Those 6 months of extra service on Active Duty earned me approximately 180 Points, in addition to the 15 Participation Points I earned through the IRR. This gave me roughly 195 Points on the year and another Good Year toward retirement.

I finished out another year in the IRR to satisfy the 8-year contract I signed. That earned me another 15 Participation Points. But I didn’t qualify for a Good Year in my final year in the IRR since I didn’t reach the required 50 Points. So my 6.5 years on Active Duty, plus my 1.5 years on the IRR worked out to 7 Good Years toward retirement. (I then had a long break in service before I joined the Air National Guard).

It Takes 20 Good Years to Qualify for a Reserve Retirement

20 Good Years to Qualify for a Reserve Retirement

Based on the information above, you should have a good idea of what it takes to qualify for a Reserve retirement. And you can also use this information to make back-of-the-envelope estimations regarding how many Retirement Points you will earn in a given year and how many Retirement Points you will have when you retire (keeping in mind that you may have additional duties, training requirements, and mobilizations that could considerably affect the final numbers).

When I make rough estimates of my potential number of Retirement Points, I start with my active duty service as a base. Then, I add the minimum number of Points I would earn by completing the “one weekend a month, two weeks a year” requirement. Actually, I round down slightly – I use 75 instead of 78, because it’s faster to do the math in my head.

Here is how the Points break down for my service:

  • 6 full years of active duty service = 2,191 (there was one Leap Year in there)
  • 6 additional months of active duty = 180 points
  • 2 years in the IRR = 30 points
  • Equals = 2,401

Note: these numbers are before I joined the Air National Guard last year.

Good Years of Service. I have 7 Good Years of service toward retirement based on my Active Duty service. I will soon reach 8 Good Years after I complete my first full year in the Guard. This means I must earn 12 more Good Years toward retirement before I am eligible to retire.

To estimate the Points I will have at retirement, I can take the 2,401 Points that I currently have and then multiply the 75 estimated Points per year by 13 years to get a rough estimate of what I will have at retirement. The reason I use 75 as my estimated number is because 75*4 = 300. Three groups of 4 = 12 good years. So that would be 900 Points. Then add 75 more Points for the 13th year.

The quick math says I will earn approximately 975 more Retirement Points in reaching 20 Good Years of service.

In my situation, I should have roughly 3,500 Points when I reach 20 Good Years of service, provided I only do the minimum each year.*

*This is a very conservative estimate since I used a lower multiplier, and I will likely be required to serve additional days or complete additional active duty training at some point in my service. However, I prefer to estimate things on the low side rather than overestimating the number of Points I will have if/when I reach retirement.

Using Points to Calculate a Reserve Retirement

Using Points to Calculate a Reserve Retirement

I mentioned in the opening paragraphs that we would give an overview of how Points are used to calculate a Reserve retirement. I’ll give a very brief overview because this article is already lengthy, and this topic is best served as its own article so we can better explain the nuances of how everything works together. But here is a brief overview:

A Reserve retirement is based on the Points we have discussed throughout this article. For retirement, we can equate 1 Point to the equivalent of one day of Active Duty service.

You can use this information to estimate your Reserve retirement pay.

Under the High-36 retirement plan, an Active Duty retirement is worth 2.5% of your base pay for each year you served (for the High Pay and High-3 retirement plans). For example, a 20-year retirement is worth 50% of your base pay (20 years times 2.5% = 50.0%). Partial years are calculated in a similar manner Months are worth 1/12 of a year, and days are worth 1/30th of a month.

You will use a 2.0% multiplier if you are in the Blended Retirement System (BRS). Members who joined on or after January 1, 2018 are automatically enrolled in the BRS.

The Reserve retirement starts by taking your total number of Points and dividing by 360 (Remember, the military considers a month as 30 days for pay purposes, so each day is worth 1/30th of a month; 12 months would then equal 360 days).

So, if you take my example above of an estimated 3,500 Retirement Points, we would come up with 9 years, 8 months, and 20 days. This would then be calculated against the pay scales to determine the value of the pension (there are also pay scales that show the actual dollar value for each Point, depending on your rank and time in service; these charts can be found in the Guard and Reserve Fact Sheets).

But since I’m fond of using rough estimates when I make my calculations (especially since I am so far away from actually retiring), I would round up to 3,600 Retirement Points before making my calculations. 3,600 / 360 equals 10 years on Active Duty for retirement purposes. Based on this estimate, I can take the 10 years and multiply that by 2.5% and come up with a pension that would be worth roughly 25% of the active duty base pay, based on my pay grade and years of service at retirement.

Again, these are all rough estimates, but for my purposes, it works very well to get a big-picture idea. If you need a more exact reference, you should use the Guard / Reserve Retirement Calculator for your branch of service (most of them are behind login screens on the official military websites, so I don’t have a good link right now).

Did I leave anything out? There is a lot to cover on this topic. Please leave a comment or a question if I missed anything, or if part of this explanation wasn’t clear. I’ll update the article accordingly.

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  1. Brian says

    I retired from the National Guard into the Retired Reserves. Can I still earn points towards retirement to increase my retirement pay when I reach 60?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Brian, there are very few ways to continue earning retirement points after you officially retire. The most common way I am familiar with is to be reactivated or recalled to duty, or to continue serving for points (extremely rare, but allowed in very limited circumstances with waivers). I recommend contacting your branch’s human resources or personnel office for more information. But don’t be surprised if they tell you it’s impossible or they don’t know what your talking about. Best wishes!

  2. Gwen says

    I served in the regular army. Then the Army reserve. And finally a year in the IRR that cut my retirement order. Where can I get a copy of my retirement order? Where can I get a copy of my retirement points? I turned 60 in September of this year. I am trying to get the retirement package together to submit for My retirement pension to start paying me. Thanks Gwen

  3. Matt Paquin says

    Ryan, it would be great to see an article on an AGR retirement and how reserve points get added after 20y of AFS

    • Ryan Guina says

      Matt, that’s a great topic. But I think we can handle it right here. In short, an AGR retirement is the same as an active duty retirement. The member has the same pay and benefits as their active duty counterparts, and the benefits start immediately. Any inactive reserve points are combined and divided by 360 to convert them into months. This time is added to the member’s retirement, just as if they had served those days on active duty.

      The main factor to consider is that the member needs to have 20 years of Total Active Federal Military Service (TAFMS) to qualify for active duty (or AGR) retirement. Once they reach 20 years TAFMS, all other points are added at a one-to-one ratio. I hope this is helpful!

  4. Joseph says


    I recently retired from Active Duty U S Navy service of 21+ years. I have 6 years of prior guard time from the 80’s. In your experience does any of that time count (drills/basic/correspondence/2 wks, etc.) toward my AD retirement? There appears to be a discrepancy/disagreement on this topic at PERS.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joseph, you should be able to add all of your Guard retirement points to your active duty retirement. You will need to submit your National Guard records to the Navy personnel office to have them apply that time to your service record. Then, it should be added to your retirement pay. Best wishes!

  5. Keith Carlin says

    Hi Ryan,
    I am AGR with 8 technician years prior to becoming AGR. I will not have 20 years when I reach age 60. I will be 3 months short of 20 years. I am aware that I could ask for a extension. My question… Is there any benefit to a 20 year Active retirement compared to a reserve retirement base approx. 8000 active duty points? I need to know if I should retire 20 AGR or Reserve. Is there difference?

    • Daniel Schiff says

      I can think of one very interesting loophole that is worth considering. You should consider retiring from the reserves (if you have a 20-year letter) before 60 and taking a civil service position. A reserve retirement falls in a loophole allowing you to collect a reserve pension and a civil service pension as well. With all your active duty years you can likely buy up many years of service towards a civil service pension. If you do so and can get to a total of 20 years of credited civil service, you will also get a 10% kicker on your civil service pension.


      Pay particular attention to the section: Guard or Reserve Retirement with a Civil Service Pension

      Carefully plan and ensure you double and triple check with the AGR Human Resource team to ensure you will have enough good years as a RESERVIST and have your 20-year letter in hand to ensure you do not forfeit your reserve retirement.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Keith, all things being equal, retiring from the Reserve Component (RC) at age 60 is the same as retiring from active duty at any age (retirement pay and healthcare both start at age 60 for RC members). The only difference is how retirement pay is calculated since RC retirement is based on the total number of points, then converted to years of service. But there won’t be any difference for you since you plan to serve until age 60.

      That said, some RC members may be better off retiring under the Reserve retirement system if they are eligible for early retirement. This may allow them to begin their retirement pay substantially earlier than age 60, depending on how much qualifying deployment time they have. However, early retirees will have to factor in the cost of healthcare. Tricare doesn’t start for retirees until age 60, regardless of when they begin pulling retirement pay. Members who can afford the increased healthcare costs or who have access to healthcare elsewhere may wish to retire as soon as they are eligible. On the other hand, some may prefer waiting until closer to age 60 to continue working (because they enjoy the challenge, need the income, or need the healthcare).

      Take some time to consider your situation. It’s a big decision!

  6. Robert Snidman says

    I was looking at my Rip and I could see that I have two columns for points. One is titled “Total” points and next to it is “Retirement” points. The “Total” points column has more points in it. Which total do I use to calculate my reserve retirement pay? It seems intuitive that one would use “Retirement” points to calculate how many points one has to use to determine their retirement pay. However, then why does the “Total” points column exist, if it has no function? Thank you for any help or clarification you can provide.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Robert, you will use the “Retirement Points” column. It’s not uncommon for the values to differ. It’s also possible to have more than 365 Total Points in a year. However, you can only count up to 365 Retirement Points annually (366 in a leap year).

      You may earn Total Points that don’t count toward Retirement Points when you exceed 365 in a year, you earn more than the allowable number of inactive points in a year, and for other reasons.

      I hope this helps!

  7. Leonard Weiss says

    Great article for figuring out your retirement points and approximately how much we will collect. I was privileged to be allowed back into the Iowa National Guard after being out for 24 years. To reach my 20 good years I will need to have special permission to stay beyond the age of 60 – and that is an 11-18 month extensions beyond 60 years old so they will allow me to retire at age 62 so I can collect the retirement pay. That means I will get to collect my retirement pay the year I retire.

    I have been doing lots of extra assignments thinking it will reduce the that special extension time. After reading your article, that extra time just gets me extra pay once I retire!

    The question I have is difficult to ask and have it make sense. But I will try! Is there any way to be able to “retire” at the age of 60 and still collect a retirement? In different words, is there any way to not need that “special” extension to get 20 years?

  8. Ryan S. says

    Thanks Ryan for the great article, it really did answer a lot of questions. Unfortunately figuring out my retirement has always been a struggle due to the lack of understanding of the Regulations on my part and those trying to do my 1506.

    Here is my military timeline with no lapse in service.

    USAR June 1996 – Sept 2003 (2 Deployments)
    AD Army October 2003 – May 2008
    USAF Reserve June 2008 – July 2009 (Mostly on seasonal orders)
    AD Army August 2009 – Current

    Active duty points (AD, ADT, AT) – 7322

    Drill Points (Using the 4 hour/8 Hour math) – 240

    I will admit that I am not 100% on how the membership points works especially in regards to the time where I switched from AD to reserves. How do you calculate the years with deployments and where half the year I was in the reserves and the other half on Regular Active Duty?

    All the points are based on LES and MMPA in which I am being told that I cannot use.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Ryan,

      Thank you for your comment. The good news is not having any breaks in service should make it easier to track your service dates. The best thing to do is set up an appointment with your Human Resources office or personnel office to get a full calculation of your points. You will want to ensure you have an accurate accounting of your active duty points, especially if your goal is to retire from active duty with active duty retirement benefits.

      It would be a good idea to get a printout of your Points Summary Statement that shows all of your points broken out by when they were served, type of points earned, etc. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of your previous orders if you have them. This may be helpful in proving your military status at certain times in your career.

      To retire from active duty, you need 20 years of active duty service, not just active duty points. This should include the time you were in basic training, A-School, all active duty time while deployed, and possibly some additional active duty orders (it depends on the type of orders). AT days may not count toward active duty service as far as qualifying for retirement goes. Drill points and the 15 annual membership points do not count as active duty service when qualifying for active duty retirement. You should earn the full 15 participation points each year you are in the Guard/Reserves, even while you are deployed. However, you cannot exceed 365/366 days worth of points in a year.

      So to retire from active duty, you need to have 20 years of active duty service. Your inactive time does not count toward that 20 years of active duty service. But once you reach the 20 year threshold, the inactive points you have earned will be added on to the back end of your time, increasing your retirement pay accordingly.

      I hope this gives you a better idea of your points. However, I’ll stress that the absolute best thing you can do is visit your HR office to get personalized assistance with understanding your points. Your active duty time is highly dependent on the types of orders you were on at the various times in your career, and there is no way to accurately give you that information via email or a comment on a website.

      Best wishes!

  9. Jim Van Sickle says

    If I have 16 years of active duty (4 years active, 12 years AGR) and four years of federal points all collectively coming to a total of 7305 points when I retire with 30 years commissioned service! Could I qualify for a 20 year retirement? Or do I have to wait until age 60?
    Thanks for listening!
    Jim Van Sickle

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jim,

      You can only receive an immediate retirement if you have 20 years of active duty service. Simply having enough combined active and inactive points to equate to 20 years of service is not sufficient to earn an active duty retirement. It sounds like you will need to wait until age 60 to receive your retirement pay, unless you serve a few more years of AGR service.

      Best wishes!

  10. Alicia Howard says

    I would love to chat with you one:one if you are able to? I am in the Navy now as an active duty LT. I am prior air force active duty for 5 years and 11 years of air national guard. I am having a horrible time with all the systems talking and giving me credit towards retirement. I’d love to chat with you and see if you can assist and help me understand more so I can explain to my Navy systems how our ANG points work.

    Thank you,

    LT Alicia Howard

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello LT Howard,

      Thank you for your comment. To start with, this is a privately run site, so we don’t have access to any military records. As for getting the systems to talk together, I’m not sure how to do that. You will most likely need to elevate your support request above the base level, and likely up to the HQ level. You may need to get copies of all of your Points Summary Statements to ensure your points are properly credited. Make sure you keep copies for yourself.

      As for how the points work, all of your active duty time that you served on active duty in the Air Force and any active duty time served in the Guard/Reserves will count as credit toward your active duty retirement. You need 2o years of active duty service to qualify for active duty retirement benefits.

      All of your other Guard/Reserve points count as credit, but not toward the 20 years required to earn an active duty retirement. Once you reach 20 years of active duty service, your Guard/Reserve points are tacked onto your service time at the end, with one point equal to one day of service. You never lose your inactive service time, it just doesn’t count toward active duty retirement until you have reached 20 years of service.

      Your inactive time does, however, still count toward Guard/Reserve retirement. So if you transition away from active duty and back to the Guard/Reserves, then you can count those points and years toward a Guard/Reserve retirement.

      I hope this answers your questions. Best wishes!

  11. Howard says


    I listened to your Podcast today very good a little about myself then i will get to my question. I served a total of twenty years in the Army and National Guard. Six good years in active duty and fourteen good years in the National Guard for a total of twenty good years. I have my Notification of Eligibility for retired pay at age 60. When i left the National Guard i transferred into the Retired Reserve and i will be there until my 60th birthday which is soon coming up. So with all that being said I’m trying to calculate or get close to what my retirement pay will be. I understand the formula how to apply the points i have and the multiplier 2.5% i understand how to apply that. but, where I’m getting stuck is the base pay for a E/6 will i use the pay scale that was in force at the time i left the National Guard which was in 2001. Or will i apply the pay scale for a E/6 when reach age sixty or to say actually retire which will be in February 2022 I hope i didn’t make this too confusing any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated

    • Ryan Guina says

      Howard, great question! You will use the pay scale at the time you are eligible to receive retirement pay. So if you turn 60 in February 2022, you will use that pay scale, along with the pay scale from 2021 and 2020 to get your High 36 average. You will also use the maximum number of years of service for that pay scale. Best wishes in your retirement!

  12. Cynthia Harris says

    Is there a maximum number of points earned from drill, membership and correspondence that count toward retirement?

  13. Tyler says

    The final number can be misleading due to the heavy taxes that will occur upon collection. In my case, I will collect 34% of base pay when I turn 60. Then you have to deduct ~25% of that for taxes to get a tangible, take-home figure.

    Great article, thank you!

  14. Scotty Joe Stark says

    Is there a maximum number of points a NG or Reserve service member can accumulate over their career? I only ask because between Active Duty and Reserve time my points calculate to over 7200 at this time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Scotty,

      No, there is no maximum number of points a Guard or Reserve member can earn during their career.

      The limit is 365 points per year (366 in leap years). There are also limits on the number of Inactive Duty Points a member can earn in a year. This is listed in the article under the heading, “Maximum Points in a Given Year”. But there are no limits during a career.

  15. Thomas Console says

    Thank you for the great post, it was super informative. I had a question about points as a Reservist in years when a member does not hit the minimum of 50 points for a good year. You mentioned that points, even if you do not hit the 50, still count towards retirement. So, my question is, if a Reservist had 25 points in a given year and 25 points in another given year, would those two years combine to give 50 points and a year towards retirement? Thank you!

    • Scotty Joe Stark says

      Your question is actually in two parts. To address the points, yes, each point, regardless of a good year or not, will count towards total points accumulated. For good years the answer is no, a guard/reservist must accumulate 50 points within a calendar year, based on your individual start date of joining, to be considered a good year. Good year criteria does not “carry over” from one year to the next.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Thomas,

      Unfortunately, no. You must earn 50 points within your Retention Year for the year to qualify as a Good Year for retirement. The points will still count toward your retirement calculation, however, they will not count toward a good year.

      Best wishes!

  16. Andrew Kondor says

    Mr. Guina;
    Thank you for this post. I have a dilemma: I am a NG member with 12 years TAFMS & 19 years SAT Service. If I complete 50 points in my 20th year of SAT Service, am I good to go for a reserve retirement or must I continue drilling until I complete my 20th year in July of 2022?
    – Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Andrew,

      You can have a “good year” for points, but not have a “sat year” if your command decides your service wasn’t qualifying. For example, if you hit your 50 points for the year, then just stop coming to drills without permission to skip. However, since it would be your last year, your unit may be more accommodating. The correct thing to do would be to work with your supervision to determine how to proceed. If you can get your points early in the year and you get written permission to skip the remaining drill assemblies, then go for it. Otherwise, plan on being there. The last thing you want to do is tick off the wrong person and be made an example of and have to complete another year.

      Best wishes!

  17. Jason says

    Hi Ryan,
    This is great info for Reservists!
    I am a Guardsman who has come on and off orders throughout my entire career. I currently have almost 10 years of points and about 5 years of TFAMS.
    I was under the impression that once you obtain 7200 points, you would be able to collect a full military retirement. However, after performing more research, there seems to be quite a difference between points and TFAMS.
    If I stay a traditional guardsman, and obtain 7200 points prior to the date of when I am able to receive my Reservist pension, would I be able to collect my
    Military retirement right away?
    Are there any other nuances that you are aware of or would be able to share re: retirements and collecting?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jason,

      Thank you for your kind words.

      You are correct, there is a huge difference between points and TFAMS. You need 20 years of TFAMS time to be eligible for an active duty retirement, not just 20 years’ worth of points.

      So, the answer is no, a Traditional Guardsman or Reservist will not be eligible to receive an immediate active duty retirement (pay and healthcare) once they reach 7200 points. They only become eligible with 20 years of active duty time, or TFAMS.

      There are some other nuances, namely early retirement age for those who have qualifying deployment time. You can learn more about Guard/Reserve early retirement age here.

      Another nuance is Sanctuary, which is a status that some Guardsmen and Reservists may need to understand if they are coming up to 18 years of TFAMS and receive active duty orders longer than 29 days that will take them beyond their 18th year while serving out those orders. If this occurs, federal law requires that the service allow the member to remain on active duty until they reach 20 years of service, at which point they will be required to retire immediately with active duty benefits.

      Sanctuary can be a complicated topic and requires some more reading to fully understand. Here is a good article that covers the topic of military sanctuary and Reserve retirement.

      I hope this points you in the right direction!

  18. Kris says


    I have questions about a Guardsman who earns an active duty retirement. Is there a change in their? pay once they hit age 60? What happens to all the inactive duty points? I’m on a disability retirement with quite a few inactive points and I’m wondering if that will impact my income at 60 (or a reduced age based on service).

    Thank You

  19. KRISTEN H JENKS says

    This is an excellent resource. My question concerns divorcing couples. The military requires that the reserve member be married for at least 10 years during which they accumulated 10 years of creditable service in order to make retirement pay payments to the former spouse. In the case of reserves, is a “good year” the equivalent of one active duty year of creditable service to satisfy the 10/10 rule? Thank you so much!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kristen, I believe it does, but this is something you will want to clarify. You can generally do this by peaking with a lawyer that is familiar with military law or has experience handling military divorces. Best wishes!

  20. Edna Thompson says

    I really appreciate your well thought out information for one to understand. I served 3 years active duty, 4 years IRR with monthly drills, correspondence courses, 2-weeks of annual training, and 17 years inactive with 15 points earned each year. I was discharged from the reserves and immediately reassigned to be a unit to report immediately if recalled to active duty. I was a federal employee and administrative during the time I was a reservist and attending school which I completed immediately prior to the removal date from the reserves. I was promoted to E-7 and earned an Army Commendation while on active duty and as an E-7 prior to discharge.

    I completed my 20 years several years before I was 60 years of age and due to deaths and several relocations, I had misplaced my retirement package in storage but found it in 2018 while unpacking. I sent the package in but have now been told I need to obtain my leave and earnings statements to support my retirement package.

    Based on this information, will I be eligible for the points earned on active duty, 4 years serving in the IRR, and performing monthly and annual training, which would be good years because I earned over 50 points during each of the four years, and 15 points yearly for the additional 17 years I was in the reserves but not earning additional points?

    Please advise if I am on the right track or if I am missing the understanding. Thanks for any confirming encouragement you can offer even if it suggests that I have it wrong and will not be entitled to a prorated reserve retirement. I am late and have been advised that pay will only be retroactive back for 6 years.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Edna,

      Thank you for your comment. Based on my understanding of your situation, you stated you had 17 years in which you only earned 15 points per year. Those years would not count toward military retirement. The minimum is 50 points per year. If that is correct, then I do not believe you will be eligible for any military retirement benefits.

      You need at least 20 qualifying years with 50 or more points per year to qualify for military retirement benefits. If I misunderstood your comment/question and you had 20 (or more) years of qualifying service, then you should be eligible for retirement benefits.

      Best wishes.

    • Joyce says

      Military records are archived at the National Archvies in St. Louis, Mo. Their website will give you instructions on how to request your records or a particular item within your records.

  21. Tyler says

    For those that are new or opted into the BRS, your multiplier changes from 2.5% to 2.0%. I also recommend tracking your own points and days in spreadsheet or something. I have a spreadsheet tracking each day year by year, just in case something happens or there is a miscalculation. Because finance is always on point and nobody has ever had issues with finance right!?

  22. Joshua Strobel says

    My years are a little and I’m not sure when I’ll be eligible to retire. I initially did 6 years in the Guard followed by two years IRR. (I also extended that to do 4 drills with the Reserves but that time is isn’t on record yet). I later did 5 years active, but got stop lossed and came up 6 weeks short of 6 years. I had another break and am in the middle of a 6 year Guard enlistment. If leave the Reserves out of the picture, will I need to reenlist for 2 or 3 years? And would that Reserve time help if Ingot the record fixed? Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joshua,

      I recommend getting a copy of your Points Summary Satement, which you should be able to obtain through your personnel or human resources online portal or through your personnel or human resources office. Your Point Summary Statement will show you how many good years of service you have to date. From there, you can determine how many more years of service you need to perform in order to qualify for retirement. Best wishes!

  23. Shawn says


    Due to a “force downsizing” 3 years into my ANG enlistment, I was given a voluntary separation with an Honorable Discharge. I later applied and subsequently denied a COE for a VA loan due to insufficient points.

    I’ve been told that I still may be eligible since the nature of my discharge was due to funding/convenience of the government.

    Is this true? If so what do you recommend my next steps be?


  24. Rick McDonald says

    Reading all the questions and responses combined with a multitude of “experts” here is my situation, if you could chime in. Retired Navy, 20Y 10M, 16D, E-6. Came into the Service 1983. I have my letter…
    Ten years AD, and the remainder reserves. Total points 4444. I should be high-three category. Considering a minimum of one percent increase in AD pay through ages 56-59 to be conservative, I was looking at 2200.00 before taxes if correct, by the examples above, I’m not.
    The additional wrench: I joined the VA, and sold them back the 10 years of AD, for ten years towards VA retirement, so now I technically am a 20 year retired reservist with 4444 points.
    What calculation(s) should I use now to reformulate approximate pay at age 60?

    Thank you in advance sir.

  25. Jack says


    Thank you for helping veterans through this forum – It is very informative! I’ve tried for years to understand how retirement is calculated and your explanation is the best I’ve seen. To that end, I’m wondering if you could help check my math. I spent 6 years in the guard and then commissioned on to AD. All 6 of my guard years were good years (at least 50 points per year). When I add all of my guard points up, I get 580 points total. I think this mean that I can put in roughly 18.5 years on AD and then retire. Does that check?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jack,

      Thank you for your kind words. Your math is pretty much on point. 580 points divided by 360 days in a year equals 1.61. So that would be the equivalent of 1.61 years of active duty.

      However, you can only count active duty service toward qualifying for active duty retirement benefits. So you can only count the days you have on active duty from those 580 days of Guard points.

      Once you reach 20 years of active duty service, you can then add your additional Guard points to your retirement total.

      Make sure you have your Points Summary Statement and that your parent branch of service has accurately calculated your active duty service time from your Guard service. This will impact when you can retire. Your Human Resources or Personnel office should be able to verify your points have been accurately assessed and they should also be able to give you an estimated retirement date from active duty.

      I hope this clears things up! Best wishes!

  26. David Lewis says

    Hi, Ryan. Doesn’t the VA send you a letter at the end of the FY with the VA Form 21-8951-2? If you don’t return the letter, the fall back option is to take drill pay, right?

    I just won the appeal on disability & went from 30% to 80%. I’m at good year 19.5 & plan to retire in about 5 months. I cannot afford to lose points over the next few months, so I need to make sure I’m drilling for points (and pay), and don’t really care about my VA disability payments if it means I’m not getting credit. Please help. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David,
      You have that backward. The Form states,

      “If we do not receive a waiver from you, we will assume that you wish to waive VA compensation or pension for the number of days printed on the front of the form. However, we will not adjust your award until we have advised you of the specific changes we propose to make.”

      In addition, you would not lose any points if you serve them. Even if a service member were to waive their military pay, they would not lose the corresponding points they earned.

      In other words, you can carry on as you normally would – you should not see any changes to your service, points, or military pay earned for your drill days.
      You would, however, have to waive the corresponding VA disability compensation when the form is sent out next year. The VA will typically withhold a certain percentage of your future payments to make up for the amount that was earned under both statuses.

      I hope this helps.

  27. Ronald Bernard says

    So I am currently serving in The Army Reserves. I have done duty in all three components National Guard, Active, and Reserves and never had a break in service. Currently I have approximately 6,000 points and am about to complete my 28th “good year”. I received my 20 year letter quite some time ago.

    Is it true if I hit 7200 points while still serving in the Reserves that I can retire once I hit those points and immediately start collecting? This is the first I have heard of this but then again I really had not even thought about retiring because it seemed pointless if I could not collect until I was 60. Any info you can provide would be appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ronald,

      No, that is not correct. Many people assume that you can because 7200 points is the equivalent of 20 years of active duty time. 

      However, you must actually have 20 years of active duty service to retire, not just the equivalent number of points. And by 20 years of active duty service, I mean 20 full years of active duty service, excluding your Guard/Reserve points.

      Once you have 20 years of active duty service, you can retire and begin collecting retirement.

      The good news is once you reach 20 years of active duty service, the military will then add your Reserve points to your total, which would increase the number of years used for your retirement pay calculations.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  28. Richard Cro says

    I’m a former army reservist 1970-1977 I am retiring from a state job and have r
    The opportunity to purchase my service I can not get the documentation of my point credit summary. I have contacted DFAS; NPRC, OPM no one has provided me the point credit summary I have been working on this for the past 15 months my last resort was working with a federal congressman’s office and they could not get this information. Could you help me on who to contact to get my point credit summary
    Rich Cro

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Richard,

      You have contacted the three organizations I know to contact. I don’t know who else to contact in this situation.

      Do you know if your state offers credit for all military service, or just active duty service? That may impact the amount of credit you can receive. Do you have a DD Form 214 or similar paperwork that shows the amount of active duty or inactive service time?

      I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer, but the National Archives is usually the final authority for these types of records.

      I wish you the best.

  29. Ebony says

    Hi Ryan,

    So I started in the reserves and have 10 good years, 3of which were spent in active status deployed or training. I’ve gone full active duty now and have been in for 2 years. Will I need to complete an additional 15 years active duty in order to retire active or will my 7 years as an active drilling reservist count towards retirement and I’ll be able to retire in 8 years?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ebony,

      Great question. You will need 20 years of active duty service in order to earn an active duty retirement. However, once you have 20 Good Years, you will be eligible for the Reserve retirement.

      What this means is that when you have 20 Good Years, you have earned the right to retire should you desire to do so, revert back to a Reserve status and continue drilling, or you can continue on active duty with the goal of completing 20 years of active duty service. 

      In other words, it gives you a lot of flexibility if your career goals change, your life situation changes, or you simply decide you want to do something else.

      Best wishes!

  30. Shawn says

    Hello Ryan, Thank you for this insightful article, as others have said I wish I would have seen this sooner.

    I’m 51 and I’ve completing all the (MEPS,background, credit) requirements to re-enlisted into the AF reserves, however I was told that I don’t have enough “good” years in the reserve to be eligible to be sworn in. However I have 10 years activity duty and some reserve time, Is there anything I can do (waiver, make-up points) that might help complete my enlistment?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shawn,

      In general, you typically need to be able to serve 20 good years before your 60th birthday. There can be some age waiver exceptions, but those are typically limited to hard-to-fill billets, such as medical, legal, etc.

      If you have at least one good year of Reserve time, you may already have 11 good years, which puts you right at the cusp of eligibility. Do you know how much Reserve time you have?

      If you have more than 11 good years right now, then you should be eligible as far as age is concerned. If you have fewer than 11 years, then I’m not sure what your options are. That would be a question for your recruiter. Just ask if they have any waivers or if there is anything that can be done.

      I also recommend looking into the Air National Guard, as they may have openings in your desired career field and they may be easier to work with, depending on the unit and their current needs (in some cases, the ANG has a little more flexibility than the Reserves, but not always).

      Best wishes!

      • Shawn says

        Thank you Ryan for the quick and concise info. I’ll take a look into the ANG and try to find out exactly how many good years I have.

  31. Samantha H says

    THANK YOU for this article. I wish I had found it two years ago when I first separated AD AF and began my career as an IMA. This is a wonderfully thorough reference tool. One of the more aggravating things about the Reserves is that if you work irregularly, so much of this information (already complicated to initially wrap one’s head around, but once obtained, fairly simple) gets fuzzy. I am bookmarking and sharing this with everyone I know who’s on this side of the service.

  32. Harry says

    Thank you for this resource Ryan!
    My Q:
    Are there any retirement points added to your record while you are in the retired reserve waiting for age 60?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Harry, I am not aware of any way to continue earning retirement points while in the Retired Reserve, unless you are recalled to duty or are mustered for some reason. Otherwise, I believe the number of points you had when you dropped your retirement paperwork will be the final number of points used to calculate your retirement benefits. Best wishes!

  33. Luan says

    Good Morning,

    First question, is good year a fiscal year oct-oct?
    I had 2 good years and will have 17 years of active duty by end of my commitment.
    If I do 1 more good year at the end then I can retire at about 47.5% of paygrade O-4 and time in service 20.
    So, Points retirement is based on paygrade and time in service?!
    But active duty retirement is based on the last high 36 months average.
    I’m trying to figure out which is best for my situation, whether to do 1 more good year at the end and retire early, or i’m guessing 3 more years of active duty to retire on high 36 months average.

  34. Sheryl says

    Hi Ryan,

    First, thank you for answering questions. I will have 27 years active duty Army when I retire. I served for 10 years in the guard before going active duty. Are both my AD (active duty), IDT (inactive duty for training) and the 15 points for each good year of NG duty counted toward the points added after 20 years of active duty? If that is true, what is the regulation which covers that calculation? Is it found in the DoD FMR? I appreciate your time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sheryl, Thank you for your question. My understanding is that yes, both your active duty time and your Guard/Reserve time will count toward your final retirement pay. I believe you simply convert your Guard points to years and add that to your final service time, then it is calculated for your retirement.

      I do not know the specific regulation that covers this calculation. I would contact DFAS or your Human Resources or personnel office for assistance.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Erika,

      The minimum number of points for a good year is 50 points. However, simply having 50 points may not guarantee a good year. The member must also meet the unit’s criteria, which generally requires the member to attend a certain number of drills and to avoid having a certain number of unexcused drills.  Additionally, a member can only earn one point per day for funeral duty, so to earn 50 points, the member would need to serve on funeral duty for at least 50 different days. I bring this up because it is possible to serve on more than one funeral assignment on any given day.

      This is a long answer to say – maybe. If your unit is good with you serving on enough funeral honors assignments to reach the number of points for a good year, and they are fine with giving you credit, then yes, it may be good enough for a good year. However, most units also require members to show up for regularly scheduled drills to take care of their military duties, assignments, and other requirements.

      I recommend addressing this with your unit for more information on their policies.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  35. Jeff says

    Ryan, I am currently active duty. I served 4 years active, went into the National Guard for 7 good years and a few not qualifying good years and now currently back on active duty. In the past I have taken hundreds of hours of correspondence courses. Will those correspondence hours be counted toward retirement points? if so how are they calculated?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jeff, Thank you for your comment. Not all correspondence courses are accepted for points. You would need to contact your HR or personnel office for more information. They can help you determine if your courses are eligible for points. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  36. Steve Wright says

    Hi Ryan,
    I served 6 years in the Army Reserve – 1970-1976. I am wanting to get a VA Loan and they asked for Retirement Points. The National Personnel Records Center just sent me a copy of my points. It shows 64 for 1972-1973, 80 for 1973-1974, 75 for 1974-1975, and 63 for 1975-1976.
    What happened to 1970 and 1971? I attended all meetings, got my Honorable Discharge, but no paperwork showing points for these 2 years. Is this normal? Will this count against me or make me ineligible for the loan? I called the Army prior and they are the ones who directed me to NPRC as they have no records so far back. Please help. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Steve,

      I don’t have a good answer here – the National Personnel Records Center is the official government organization for storing military records. This is the organization to contact regarding copies of your records.

      That said, there was a fire in the National Archives in 1973 that destroyed or damaged records for thousands of veterans. Your missing service falls in that range (prior to 1973). However, I would think that your service would have also been recorded with the Army until you separated from the Reserves. Each branch of the military normally maintains copies of records for a few years before sending them to the National Archives.

      You may be able to provide copies of personal records if you have them. Otherwise, I would contact the National Archives or the VA to ask if they have any recommendations.

      I wish you the best!

  37. Orod says

    To whom it may Concern

    Finishing 6 years in the WA National Guard. Currently, I have been pondering in staying in? I love and enjoy my career in the Army Guard as an 88M. A question I have is why stay in 20 years? I understand the 20yr letter and also know it won’t take in effect till I am 60yrs if I’m correct. But what shall I be doing different or further doing to better my life and career while I’m currently in? I’ve never had guidance in why or what are the benefits of staying in.

    Note: TSP is the only benefit I’ve been aware which have been since I enlisted.
    Like to know more options or things I should be taking advantage of while currently in.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Orod,

      There are many benefits to staying in the military. Most units have a retention officer or SNCO whose job it is to brief members about their benefits and options for remaining in the military. It would be a good idea to schedule a meeting with this individual so you can discuss potential opportunities, including training, advancement, education, potentially taking active duty orders, working as a civil service technician while still serving in the Guard, and other opportunities. 

      There are too many potential paths to cover in a comment on a website. It’s best to schedule a meeting to learn more.

      Another good idea is to find one or more mentors in your unit that you can look up to and speak to for advice about your career path.

      Best wishes on your journey!

  38. Howard F. Brimmer says

    I went from active duty enlisted into Air Force Officer Training School and was active duty commissioned and for some was not credited active duty points for that period when I retired from the Air Guard Reserves. I served 14 years active service enlisted and officer and then went into the reserves. How do I correct this period

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Howard,

      I would contact the Air Force Personnel Command (AFPC) and request a records review. Be sure to provide AFPC information regarding what you believe to be missing. It is helpful if you can provide dates, copies of orders, points summary statements, or additional information. 

      AFPC should have copies of your personnel records. You may need to work with the National Guard Bureau (NGB) if AFPC doesn’t have copies of your records pertaining to your Guard service. Your former unit or state Guard Bureau may also have records, but those should have been forwarded to AFPC.

      This should get the ball rolling. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  39. Kurt says

    Can someone retire from the Army Reserve, after 20 good years, as an E-5, or is the minimum retirement rank for Veterans status E-6?

    • J. Martinez says

      Yes, you can retire as an E-5 from the Army Reserve if you have already obtained 20 good years. In fact, I know someone that retired as an E-4. I’m a SR HR NCO in a Army Reserve unit.

  40. Nikki S. says

    Hi Ryan, I served in the Army National Guard, is it correct that a MUTA equals active duty time? If so where can I find that, who would I contact?

  41. Jessie says

    Hello. I have 10 years 5 months active duty and 7 years 2 month SRR (USCG). I am thinking of going back to active for my last 3-4 years. Will I be able to retire active with that time in?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jessie, 

      You will need 20 years of active duty service in order to retire with an active duty retirement. Your time in the Reserves will not count toward your active duty time unless you were on active duty orders.

      Once you have 20 years of active duty service, you can retire and your Reserve time will be added to your active duty time to get your total service time that will be used to calculate your retirement benefits.

      But it all starts with having 20 years of active duty service.

      Best wishes.

  42. Disner Alexander says

    Question – what if you do qualify for a good year however you have the points

    Example I have 22 good years and 3 bad years does the reserves count you as having 22 years in the military or do they count you as 25 years in the military

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Disner, You would have 22 years of qualifying service toward retirement. In other words, you would have enough good years to retire. The points you earned in the years that didn’t qualify as good years still count toward your retirement benefits – just not as a full year. But the points still accrue toward your pay.

      • Wolfe says

        Why cant you combine points from “bad” years to make a good year? If I have 26 points year 1 and 26 points year 2 why can’t they be combined to make 1 “good, year? It’s 12 months if 26 points is 6 months so it is a year and there’s enough points to make a good year?

  43. Ronald Short says

    Hi Ryan,
    I plan on a Reserve Retirement with the Air National Guard. My R&R date is Dec. 23. However I already have 19 “good” years on the book, and already have 58 points. Can I retire now, even though my R&R date is Dec. 23?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ronald, I wouldn’t retire from the National Guard or Reserves until you receive your 20-year Letter stating you are eligible for retirement. That said, you may be able to work out an arrangement with your unit that would allow you to skip your remaining drill periods and officially retire in December. But that would be between you and your unit. You would just need to ensure you have all the required points necessary for the good year.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  44. Mildred Johnson says

    Hello Ryan, please clarify something for me. I served 6.5 years with the AF ANG, 5 of them fulltime civil service and 20 years 7 months AD via AGR. I retired as a SSGT (E-5) 1 May 2007 and immediately started drawing a military retirement. I turned 60 in January 2019. All my years of service were good years as far as points. I completed the NCO correspondence course and earned my Bachelors while in service. My questions are(1) can I also retire from the National Guard, (2) if so, will that retirement affect my AD retirement, (3) if so, if not exactly, approximately how much of a difference and if not affected and I can retire from the Guard, what formula do I use to figure out my approximate retirement pay.

    Thanks in advance

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mildred, you can only earn one military retirement. When you retire from active duty, your branch of service should also calculate any Guard or Reserve points you have earned and add those to your final active duty retirement time.

      This only happens once you have reached at least 20 years of active duty service.

      You should be able to review your Retirement Account Statement (RAS) or contact DFAS to verify your points were correctly calculated. If not, you should contact your branch of service personnel HQ to ask how to handle this situation. For Air Force, you would contact AFPC.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  45. Trina Mazzuchelli says

    Hi there. Is there some way to find out how many points I have? (How can I see what my point summary looks like?). I retired back in 2004, part active duty, mostly reserve, but I did a lot of active duty while in the reserves. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Trina, You may need to contact your parent branch of service’s personnel headquarters for this information. They should be able to assist you. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  46. Jeffrey Andre says

    I enlisted in the Army national Guard beginning in 1989 for 8 years one of which was IRR. I recently took a commission as an O-3 in the Navy Reserves after 20 years of separation. I can’t seem to get an answer on which retirement system I will be put in. Pension vs legacy vs high 36…. can you shed some light? If you have the regulation that would be helpful as well? Also do you have an opinion which would be better for my situation at the age of 46? Thank you. Any insight you give would be much appreciated.

    • J. Martinez says

      I’m pretty sure the retirement plans you mentioned only apply to active duty retirements. Since you are in the Navy Reserve, those do not apply.

  47. Mike says


    Don’t focus on the % valuation so much. Think points and formula. Here’s what I mean:

    Your points divided by 360 = equivalent years

    Example: 3600 points divided by 360 = 10 years of service

    Equivalent years multiplied by 2.5% (Legacy retirement) 2.0% (Blended retirement) = % of your High 3 (for retired Pay)

    Example: Same 10 years as above x 2.5% = 25%

    High 3 x .25 (for 25%) = Anticipated Retired Pay

    Lets say you retired as an E7 (with 20 years of service) Base Pay is $4,797.68 (for this, lets say this is your High 3 amount).

    Example: $4,797.68 x .25 = $1,199.42 monthly retired pay (pre tax/Survivor benefit fess, etc)

    Hope that helps.

  48. David says

    Hi, Ryan. I’m trying to figure out how to make it to 20 years to retire and read your article doing some research. You said you did 6.5 years of AD, but got credit for 7 since you joined the IRR when you separated. I recently moved from the DC (where I was in the Guard) to California (cannot IST). I’m an airline pilot and not home much, so the commute to drill & maintain my flight currency in DC will mean I’m practically never home. I was thinking before I read your article, but now really think it might work, that I might be able to frontload my last year on orders for 35 days & 35 points, get the 15 points just for playing, and then go IRR for the rest of the year. Like your scenario from AD to IRR to credit a good year, will this work from NG to IRR?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, You may be able to do that. Many units will allow members to front-load their service in their final year. But I believe it is up to the unit Commander.

      If you do this, you would serve all your drill days and inactive training days in succession. There are two drill periods in a day and 24 drill days (“one weekend a month”) which would work out to 48 points for drills. Then you could also serve the two weeks of inactive training days, which adds another 14 days or so (some units may or may not require the member serve these days, depending on unit needs and funds). Then there are the 15 participation points from serving in the Guard/Reserves for the year.

      So that would more than qualify for a good year.

      Another option is joining the Reserves as an Individual Mobilized Augmentee (IMA) which is a member of the Reserves who floats between units in need. IMA members can serve all of their annual drill and training days in succession, provided they can find a unit that needs their services. This is something may want to look into, as it may allow you to serve in the Reserves in a way that works better with your civilian career. The only thing I am unsure of is how that may impact your pilot rating and qualifications – so that would be a question to ask.

      I hope this gives you some options to consider.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • David says

        Would you need to serve all 63 days worth of credit (24 drill days & AT), or could you just do 50 points worth to get the good year?

        Nice article, btw.


      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello David, You need to have 50 points to earn a good year. However, it can be possible to not earn a good year even with 50 points. For example, you could earn 50 points and have some unexcused drill absences. Some commands may also make some of the two weeks of inactive training optional, depending on unit needs and scheduling (this varies by unit). Your Command has the final say regarding whether or not you earned a good year.

        I hope that answers your question. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  49. David says

    Is it possible to earn more points in one way or another to retire before your 20? I hit 19 good years before I even hit 19 years of service.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, I’m not sure how you reached 19 Good Years before you reached 19 years of service. But to answer your question, there are many ways to earn points.

      However, one must still serve 20 years in the military to be eligible for military retirement (unless they are medically retired, or are retired under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority, or TERA). In all other cases that I am aware of, one must serve 20 years to be eligible to retire.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  50. Rudy says

    Hi Ryan,
    This is regarding my FERS and how it ties up with 7 years of buyback time from the military:
    I am trying to find out when I will reach my 20 years in the FERS. My case is a bit confusing because I bought back 7 years of military service at different times.

    I officially started working in the FERS in 2006 and bought back 4 years of military service because of my prior military service and therefore my records shows as if I started working in the FERS in 2002.

    But during my time at FERS, 3 additional years have been bought back due to being deployed for 3 years as an Army Reservist.

    I am confused whether 2019 or 2022 is the year that I will reach my 20 years in the FERS system. I have bought back a total of 7 years of military service and I don’t know how I can calculate when I’ll be reaching my 20 years in the FERS system.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rudy, Thank you for reaching out. I’m not positive, as I’ve never worked for the FERS system. We published this article about buying military service credits.

      The article is based on an interview with an expert on the topic. It may be helpful for you.

      My thought is that the 3 additional years you bought will make you eligible for 20 years in 2019, but I’m not 100% certain.

      I would visit your HR department and request an official retirement review so you can have an updated record and better understanding of where you are and when you can retire with full benefits.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  51. CW3 ARNG says

    Hello Ryan,

    I am currently a member of the Army National Guard with 14 years of AFS. I don’t really have any issues currently accruing AFS on Title 10/32 ADOS. I would like to continue my career and earn an active duty retirement, with no real plans to retire until they force me out or it just becomes impossible to continue… Are there any special considerations or things I will need to do to earn an active duty retirement? What are my options?

    I realize why sanctuary exists (you make it very clear, thank you!) and that I will likely need to waive sanctuary to continue on active duty orders, but it is my understanding that does not preclude me from earning an active duty retirement if I achieve 20 years of AFS regardless of how I earn it? Is my state or other NG organizations likely to want to not let me achieve 20 years of AFS?

    There are plenty of places that make it clear that if I have 20 years of AFS as a guardsman I am eligible for an active duty retirement, however, I have not seen anyone address whether or not there are any particular concerns, issues, or things to address in getting there.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello CW3,

      Waiving Sanctuary may forfeit your right to claim active duty retirement benefits. If you are allowed to reach sanctuary, and you retire under sanctuary, you would likely be required to retire right at 20 years of service.

      Most branches do not allow members to reach sanctuary except in extreme circumstances. This is because the retirement pay has to come out of the Guard or Reserve budget (instead of the DoD retirement budget) until the member reaches age 60. So this is an added expense for the Guard or Reserve branch.

      That said, you may still be able to complete an active duty retirement while serving in the Guard or Reserves. There are many members who are under Active Guard Reserve (AGR) orders who are allowed to serve through retirement, and sometimes beyond 20 years. However, each case is unique.

      In short, this can get very complicated, very quickly.

      I recommend speaking with someone in your Human Resources or personnel office to learn more about your options. That way you can make an informed decision. Whatever you do, don’t sign any sanctuary waivers until you know 100% what the impact will be. There is nothing wrong with waiving sanctuary, so long as you understand the impact and it meets your career and lifestyle goals.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  52. CW3(R) Brian Litton says

    Hi. Great article. My question is a little different.

    I heard that AGRs can convert their AD retirement to MDay at age 60 but don’t know it’s true or how to complete if it is true.

    I retired as an AGR in Feb 2014 just shy of my 48th birthday. I’ve been receiving my AGR retirement for over 5 years now but when I turn 60 I want to convert to an MDay retirement because I will make more using points. I have 30 years of total service and retired as a CW3 so my MDay points retirement would be about $1,000 more a month.

    I would hope that concerting would not mess with my VA Disability Rating so if it’s possible I will start the process when I turn 59 1/2.

    Thank you for any information you can provide.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello CW3(R) Brian Litton,

      This is a great question, but I’m not certain of the answer. I recommend contacting your former Guard or Reserve unit (or another unit if there is one close by). They should be able to give you a specific answer and details on how and when to make the change.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  53. Debbie says

    I had 10 good years in the ANG and now I have served 25 yrs AD. I have no problem using the retirement calculator for my AD time. How do I add in my ANG time or do I?

    Thanks for the information

  54. Josh Cook says

    I’m 32 years old and have served 6 good years in the National Guard. I opted to use the legacy retirement plan instead of the blended. I plan to ETS SEP 2019 and I will have 2 years left on IRR. Would I be able to re-enlist in 5 or 10 years and qualify for an Army Pension? Obviously I would have to do 14 more years to get to the 20 good years but do I lose my legacy eligibility because of the break in service and re-enlisting with the BRS in place?

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Josh, Yes, you can have a break in service and later return to the military and qualify for retirement benefits. I had an 8.5 year break in service between my time on active duty and when I joined the Air National Guard.

      You will return to service with the same number of points and good years as when you left the military (your years in the IRR will also count toward additional points, at a rate of 15 Participation points per year, unless you do additional training or musters).

      In general, you must be able to have 20 years of service before reaching age 60. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to return, as you would need to process through MEPS again, and your entire health history to that point will be taken into consideration.

      As for the retirement plan – I believe you are currently grandfathered into the High-3 retirement plan. However, if you come back into the military, I believe you will be given a window of opportunity to transfer to the BRS, or retain the High-3 retirement plan.

      In other words, getting out now gives you the option to come back in if you want to – and you would more or less be in the same place you were when you left (rank, time in service, points, etc.). In the interim, you get to go about with your normal life and decide if you want to return to the military, or enjoy life as a civilian.

      Best wishes with your decision!

  55. Tam Thai says


    Currently I’m serving in the Texas Army National Guard. I was promoted to E-8 on August 17, 2017. I’m planning to get out completely on June 1, 2019. I was deployed as a E-8 for 9 months in Kuwait from 2017-2018. Would that count as my time in grade to retire as E-8 since in the Army National Guard 50 points is a good year. Usually you would have to serve at least 3 years time in grade to retire as E-8. Since I have more than 150 points for 2017-2018 would I be exempt to do two more years and retire as E-8.

    • Ben H says

      I’m fairly certain that points are not equivalent to time in grade. It’s based off of an actual calendar ie 365 x 3 from date of rank.

    • mike says


      You need to look at the requirement for the Highest Grade Held (HGH) requirements for the Army.

      E1-E6 1 year TIG

      E7-E9 3 years TIG

      This is strictly what will reflect on your ID Card when you retire. Example: You make E8 do 2 years TPU and then grey area retire. Your retirement rank will be SFC because you didn’t meet the 3 years TIG for MSG.

      Second issue is retired Pay. Your retired pay is exactly as has been described above based on your point calculation. But the “High 3” in your scenario will be based on 1 year as a SFC and 2 years as a MSG.

  56. Megan says

    Currently I’m in the Army Reserves with an ETS in July 2019. I’m getting completely out. Going to enlist into the Air Force in January 2020 (giving me about a 6 month break). Not sure if I will go AF National Guard or AF Reserves. My main goal is to get 20 good years towards retirement. Will both the AF National Guard and AF Reserves qualify to coincide with my existing years in the Army Reserves?

    I will have 12 years and if I chose to go AF National Guard, I want to verify that I will be starting my 13th year, not my “1st” good year.

    I appreciate your insight. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Megan, Yes, all branches of the Guard or Reserves will recognize and apply service from the other branches. So you won’t lose anything.

      I recommend speaking with an Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve recruiter prior to your separation to ensure things go smoothly. It is sometimes possible to transition directly from one to the other without a break in service (though you mentioned wanting some time off). Additionally, you want to ensure your break isn’t too long, so you don’t have to process through MEPS again. A recruiter should be able to help you with this process.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Ben H says

      You may want to check to see if that break in service will force you into the new blended retirement system. If it does, I wouldn’t (personally) take the break as I am a big advocate for the traditional retirement. Just food for thought.

  57. Heather says

    Hello, as others have said, this is a great resource. Thank you!

    My question is similar to the previous post. What is the path to retirement when completing my 20 years of qualifying years of service of combined service while on active duty. I was initially a reservist and served 6 good years. I am currently active duty with 12 years for a total of 18 years of service. From my understanding, in 2 years I will be eligible for reserve retirement pay. However a requirement for a reserve retirement is a 20 year “Notice of Eligibility” letter. Everything I’ve read says this letter is issued to Reserve component soldiers. Do I need to join the reserves to get this letter and receive a retirement?

    Thank you…any guidance at all is greatly appreciated!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Heather, Great question. My understanding is that you will be eligible for a Reserve Retirement once you have 20 years of combined service. You should be able to inquire at your personnel section or human resources office regarding retirement eligibility and how to obtain a Reserve Retirement Notice of Eligibility Letter. I do not believe you need to join the Reserves again. You should be able to have this form issued by your parent branch of the military.

      To earn an active duty retirement, you need to have 20 years of active duty service. Your drill points, annual training (AT) days, and other inactive training won’t count toward an active duty retirement. However, any active duty days served in the Reserves would count toward your retirement eligibility. Once you reach active duty retirement eligibility, your inactive points can count toward retirement pay.

      Basically, once you have your 20 years of total service, you have earned a Reserve retirement, at the minimum. If you decide to remain on active duty, you may be able to earn active duty retirement.

      Again, all of this is my basic understanding. I do recommend you contact your human resources or personnel office to verify everything. At the minimum, you want to ensure you have your Reserve Retirement Notice of Eligibility letter before leaving the military.

      I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best!

  58. Rick says


    Thank you for the great content!

    I was in the Guard for close to 10 years then joined active duty. I’ve now been on active duty for nearly 7 years. I hit 17 years total time in service this summer.

    For active duty retirement, I was informed that my 10 years of Guard time equaled approx. 1 year of active duty for active duty retirement purposes. So, I would have approx. 12 more years to earn an active duty retirement (7 yrs active duty + 1 yr active duty consolidated Guard time).

    My question: In 3 years I would hit 20 years total time in service. Assuming I’m still on active duty would I have the option of retiring with the Guard while still serving on active duty? Or would I have to transition into the Guard in order to be eligible for Guard retirement?

    Thank you!


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rick,

      Great question!

      Once you reach 20 good years of military service, you should be eligible to receive your retirement letter from the Guard. This just means that you have qualified for a Guard retirement, but it does not mean you HAVE to retire. It’s simply an eligibility letter. (you may have to request this through your human resources or personnel office; I’m not sure how that works, other than you would be eligible).

      You would still have to fulfill the remainder of your active duty contract, but once you have finished your contract, you should be eligible to punch out and at least have your Guard retirement wrapped up.

      That said, you still have the option of remaining on active duty and sticking around to earn your active duty retirement. I would encourage you to stick around as long as you feel challenged and fulfilled in your active duty roll.

      Should you decide to separate from active duty, you would still have the option to transition back into the Guard or Reserves (yes, even if you have your retirement eligibility letter). There is no rule that says once you have 20 good years, you have to retire from the Guard or Reserves.

      So really, you will be in the enviable position of having many options from which to choose. And that’s pretty awesome!

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  59. bILL says

    I can’t find anyone talking about the fact that a combat Reserve or NG veteran serving in a war zone before Jan 20, 2008 gets no credit towards early retirement and that a combat veteran’s service before 10/01/2014 is of considerably lower value in this regard. How is it that nobody seems to notice or care that those who went to the same war with often time greater risk before a certain date is granted a lesser or before 1/20/2008, no benefit whatsoever? Where are the service organizations? What if the VA decided that compensation for a disabled veteran stayed at the same rate as the day it was granted, this is a valid equivalent? Congress? just crickets

  60. Mary B. says

    Hello! Thank you for writing this – it has been extremely helpful. I’m wondering if you can answer a question for me. I have 5 years of active duty service in the Navy. After leaving the Navy I became a Federal civilian GS employee, covered under FERS. I have since “bought back” my active duty time to count towards my FERS retirement. Now, I am considering joining the Reserves (what can I say, I miss it). So now my question is regarding that 5 years of active duty time. My guess is that it can only count either towards FERS retirement or towards a Reserve retirement. I know that a Reserve retirement CAN be received alongside a FERS retirement (it’s not considered ‘double dipping’ the way an active service retirement is). So if I have already bought back my active duty time for FERS, can the Reserves still use that time when calculating a Reserve pension, and/or can that time still count towards my point value?

    I definitely have enough time to put in 20 “good” years of Reserve service even without using my 5 years of active service.

    Also, to make it even more complicated, the Reserve component I am considering joining in the Army, not the Navy. Don’t know if that makes any difference or not.

    Thanks for any information you can give!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mary, Thank you for contacting me. I have good news – yes, you can still apply your military service toward both a Guard/Reserve retirement and a FERS retirement. And you don’t lose out on those years of service if you have already bought back your military service credits.

      There is no difference when you change branches of the military, or if you change to/from Guard or Reserves.

      You can learn more in this article about buying military service credits – https://themilitarywallet.com/military-service-credit-deposit/

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  61. Brooks says

    Hello John, I’m very close to reaching 20 active duty years as a reservist, but I need to know if annual tour (AT) points count towards an active duty retirement. Someone told me that they do because AT days are actually Title 10 orders (same as active duty), but I want to know for sure since this could determine if I’ll be eligible for an active duty retirement at the end of this FY or if I need to stay on active duty orders for a few more months next FY.

  62. Rochelle says

    My husband was in the Air Force Reserves, ’74-’80. He and I are trying to get our 1st home, he has his dd214. We are trying to get a COE but they say he’s 3 points short. He doesn’t believe this is correct, so how would we go about “disputing” this? Or this might sound totally off, but is there a way for him to make up points even though he’s retired if this can’t be disputed or corrected. Someone with more knowledge…Please help

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rochelle, he would need to contact the Air Force Personnel Center to verify his records are correct. They should be able to provide him with a copy of his records (or at least inform him how he can obtain a copy). From there, he will need to review his records to ensure accuracy. If there are inaccuracies, he would need to provide evidence (such as a copy of old orders, pay stubs, or some other record that proves he had the correct service time).

      As for making up points, unfortunately, it would no longer be possible to do so unless he rejoined the Reserves, which I am guessing is not an option at this point.

      I am unaware of any way to increase the number of points, other than by providing records proving the number provided by the military is incorrect. I wish you and your family the best.

  63. John M says

    I served 13 1/2 years Active Duty Air Force and then joined the Air Guard. Can I still receive a regular Active Duty pension by going on orders (active duty training, mobilization, etc) for a total of 6 1/2 additional years? Would this differ in any way from a normal Active Duty pension, i.e. start receiving it right away vs at 60 years.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, Thank you for your question. Yes, it is possible to earn an active duty pension through additional service on active duty orders. But it is very difficult to string together a lot of short term orders to reach this point. You would generally need to go on Active Guard/Reserve (AGR) orders to be eligible for an active duty retirement.

      If you earn an active duty retirement, you would be eligible to receive retirement benefits immediately upon retirement. You would not need to wait until age 60.

      You would need to speak with your base personnel office to learn more about current AGR opportunities if that is something you are interested in pursuing. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  64. Benny Velazquez says

    I was in the Army reserves for 8 years, I did the normal 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks in a year. Do I get a NGB23 statement.

  65. Pete Kelley, CMSgt says

    i’m retiring at the end of the year with 26 years of sat service. i’ll be going into the IRR. until i turn 60 in 2021. Do i get the pay raises cost of living in the future in the IRR so when i get my mil retirement pay will it be recalculated with the pay raise?

    • Mike says


      I went into detail about this in a post above. Whether you go IRR or grey-area retire, your “Time in Service” will be based upon the pay scale when you turn 60. If I remember my Air Force rank structure you are an E9. For you it makes a huge difference because you will get the normal COLA but also the increases going from 26, 28, 30 (can’t remember if yours goes beyond 30).

    • Seashell says

      While you are in the IRR:
      1) You will get the yearly military pay raise (if they get one) each year to give you a higher point value.
      2) You will get 15 additional points to add to your final total.

      2019 point chart.

  66. Jack Dennison says

    My situation’s in a grey area. I served 20 years active duty USAF, retired, then was a Traditional Reservist for four additional years. My question, can I convert the AD retirement to an AFR retirement when I turn 60.

    Thanks for fielding all these questions – much appreciated!

  67. Benny Velazquez says

    I was in the reserve for 8 yrs from 1983 – 1991, I’m trying to obtain a copy of my NGB-23, it’s been so long I don’t even know what this is. Does anyone know where I can get a copy of this.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Benny, Contact your state National Guard Bureau personnel or human resources office. They should be able to help you. They will either have your records or be able to put you in contact with the organization that has them.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  68. Ty says

    Good am,

    Great info on this site !!! I have a 00704 under one of my SAT SVS (the year I left AD Navy), but I’m now at 180704….Question 1: Are you saying that I really have 18y (and the 00704 does not count) ? I ask this because as of my next R/R, coming up soon, I was thinking I’ll be at 190704 —and until I read your post, I was trying to figure how to make 50 points in 6 months –and then request transfer to grey area–but again after reading this posting, sounds like that approach may not work. I’m due for a deployment early into this next R/R cycle, that will likely get the good year points –2 months into the 12 month cycle. Question 2–I’m trying to figure out how to go about moving to the grey area as soon as I get good year points –I figure ill either be at 20704 or 2oy, depending on Q1 by my next R/R. Last Q3: If a member came to reserve at 16y AD, is there a minimum time in Reserve they have to do; a friend mentioned there was a 6y minimum time to serve in the Reserves, I’ve always been told as long as you have 20 good years. Appreciate any input on these

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ty,

      I don’t have answers for your specific questions. The best thing to do is to visit your personnel or human resources office and run these questions by them. They will be able to do a full records review and help you understand where you are and what you need to do to earn the 20-year letter and your retirement.

      Once you have a full accounting of your points, you can run an estimate on when you will be able to earn retirement eligibility. As for retiring prior to the deployment, that is not something I can predict. You would need to work this with your unit to verify you have everything in order.

      As for question 3: There is generally a 6-year minimum commitment when you join the Reserves if that is your initial entry into the military. After that, the commitment will depend on the contract the member signs. There is usually a minimum once you enter the Reserves, but I don’t think the minimum is always six years. The member should look at his or her contract if they have already joined. If not, they should make sure they understand the commitment when they join. I believe they should be able to retire at 20 years if they join the Reserves after 16 years on active duty. At least as long as they didn’t sign a long-term contract.

      The member’s personnel office should be able to provide a copy of the contract or be able to provide additional information.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  69. John says

    I’m a Gray Area retiree, combination of Army Guard, Air Guard, and Active Army.
    I have my retirement letter/orders from Guard (total of over 22 yrs combined service, majority of it Active Duty). Is there a point of contact/office/website where I might request copies of retirement points? I’m still holding on to an old “green and white” computer sheet with BASD/PEBD listed on it… I am simply attempting a rough estimate of my pay when it kicks in (I have five years to go…).

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, You should be able to contact your branch of service’s parent Human Resources or personnel office (Army HR Command, Air Force Personnel Center, etc.). They should be able to provide you with a total number of points.

      I also recommend double-checking that they Point number they give you matches your records. This is especially important since you changed branches and services multiple times. You want to ensure the Army properly accounted for your Air Force time, and vice versa, as well as the transfer in status between the Guard and Reserves.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  70. John Hall says

    Great article, thank you for posting and even answering questions. As I look at my points summary, I see that I have 3100 total points, but only shows 3050 on the next column that says retirement points. Any idea why there is a difference of 50 points?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John,

      Thank you for your question. I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy on your points summary. I would take it to your personnel or human resources office during your next drill (or call them during the week) and see if they can answer the question for you. They should be able to look up your information and give you a more accurate answer.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  71. Amie says


    I love your article! Thank you so much for actually going into detail! At the very end, you speak of the 25% of the paygrade as a pension. Are you referring to the CURRENT paygrade at the time of retirement, example E7 with 20 years. Then, 25% of that monthly figure is a MONTHLY PENSION AMOUNT?

  72. Dave says

    Can 13 years of good years in the Air National Gaurd be added with federal or state volunteer fire or police to add up to a 20 year retirement?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dave,

      Many state or federal organizations will offer credit for military service. Some provide service credit for any military service. Others may only apply active duty service or under certain conditions.

      Some organizations may also require the member to “buy back” their military service time. This means that to get credit for their military service, the veteran must pay into their current pension or retirement system for each year of military service they wish to apply toward their retirement.

      You would need to work with your organization to verify how this works, then run the numbers to see if that is a good option for you. Often, it is.

      If your question is whether or not you can apply state or federal service toward a military retirement, the answer is no. Military retirement requires 20 years of military service. You cannot apply state or other federal service toward a military retirement plan.

      I hope this answers your question. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  73. Brent says

    For some of us the retirement system can get very complicated. It doesn’t help that certain people in our units have different ideas of what the rules are.
    I was confused by the statement that in going from active duty to IRR you were able to combine the two periods as a good year for retirement points. I’ve been told by my career counselor that active duty years and reserve years don’t mix to create “good years”. While you can still get credited the points in your point tally, supposedly you can’t just merge the two into a good year.
    In other words, if I spent 3 years and X months (less than a year) in active duty, and later opt to finish in the reserves, I’m told only the 3 “completed full” years will count towards my “good years” in the reserves-and the overflow that did not reach the exact fourth year (even if it was 359 days) cannot be combined with subsequent *reserve* service (eg IRR) to create a subsequent good year because types of service do not mix (even though the points will still add to my final pay).

    It sounds like you got it to work for you though. I don’t know who to believe. It’s frustrating because if you are correct and you can add active duty time to subsequent reserve time to create good years without having to worry about prorate complications, I would be able to retire now instead of continuing.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Brent,

      This is how I had it explained to me: I signed an eight-year contract when I enlisted in the military (as do most people). My contract called for 6 years of active duty, and 2 years of service in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). I extended 6 months on active duty to participate in another deployment because our unit was low on manning, and I didn’t have any immediate post-military plans. After serving those six months, I immediately transferred to the IRR. So during that service year, I had six months on active duty and six months in the IRR. When my Points were reviewed when I joined the Air National Guard, I was credited with seven Good Years toward retirement. The six I served on active duty, and the one partial year of active duty that was also spent in the IRR.

      It’s possible that year was credited to me as a Good Year because I didn’t have a break in service. It’s very possible that I would not have been credited with a Good Year of service if I had served eight and a half years and then separated from the military without transferring directly to the IRR, National Guard, or Reserves. I don’t think I would receive credit if I had later joined the Reserve Component with a break in service.

      I’m not an expert on all the variations of service computations. I encourage you to speak with your personnel office or human resources office for clarification. The should be able to provide you with the appropriate regulations.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  74. K says

    Hello, I started transitioning from IRR to TPU in the Army a little late. Basically going to miss my MRD by about a year. Is there a way to get an extension to the MRD so I can finish my “Good 20” (without the needed promotions…).


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello K,

      I don’t have a good answer for you here – I’m not familiar with these terms or policies. I recommend speaking with your Human Resources or personnel office to have them run a records review and point analysis. They should be able to provide an accurate up to date review as well as provide you with some options.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • mike says


      Yes, the Army can give you an MRD extension. You will need to request it through your UA or RPAC. I have a friend that is a LTC and he joined the Army late in life at 47. He’s now in Kuwait and he’s 65 years old! I served with him when he was 60 and the guy is in phenomenal shape and ran faster then officers 1/3 of his age!

      But to get this approved you will probably need to be in a career field that is in need of Soldiers. If over-strengthed then it will likely be disapproved.

  75. Amy says

    On my point credit history for one year, it says 51 points. Should be a good year. Next to it, it should say SATSVC 010000, but instead it says SATSVC 000727. What does 000727 mean?

    • John B Hall says

      Was that a year you went from active duty into the guard or reserves? But, yes, you only received .727 of a year, and it is not considered a good year.

      • Ty says

        Great info on this site !!! One question –because I have a similar 00704 under one of my SAT SVS (the year I left AD Navy), now at 180704….Are you saying that I really have 18y (and the 00704 does not count) ? I ask this because as of my next R/R, I was thinking I’ll be at 190704 —was trying to figure how to make 50 points in 5 months –but again after reading this posting, sounds like that approach may not drive anything. Appreciate any clarification.

  76. Michael says

    Hey. Where can I dispute my points? i have 1 year (2007-2008) where i earned 49 points. Just point away from a good year. How can I dispute that? I am in the beginning phase of disputing this. I dont have any LES’s from that year. Even my readiness says thats pretty crazy.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Michael,

      You will need to speak with your personnel or human resources office. They should be able to point you in the right direction to make a records correction.

      You will need to provide proof of the correct number of points you should have for that year – that could be done with an LES, copies of orders, or other records showing your service for the year in question. You can speak with your personnel or human resources office regarding how to obtain these records if you do not have them.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Mike says


      Another option is doing a DA 1380 for points only. You will need an officer with knowledge to sign it though. All of us do a ton of work for the military on our time off. A good way to capture that time is to do “Points-Only” 1380s (At least for Army Reserve). You are entitles to 1 point for every 4 hours of work and 2 points for every 8. You can’t have been paid during the time you are requesting or it will be rejected. So select a week day, non-duty day and submit a 1380 for that point (or points).

      Good luck.

  77. Keith says

    My initial enlistment was in the Army National Guard with 6 years as a traditional reservist and 2 years of IRR. After this 8 year commitment was up I reenlisted in the AF reserve. In reviewing my retirement points I see all of my traditional reserve points from the ANG, but I was awarded 0 points for the 2 years of IRR. I’ve found that I need to complete a DD Form 149 to request a records correction, but I can’t find any reg that says membership in the IRR qualifies you for the 15 points. Any idea what reg/pub I can review to verify?


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Keith, I’m not sure which reg states this, but you should just be able to take your records to the personnel office and ask them to credit you for your time in the IRR. They should know about this even without you having the specific reference.

  78. Jon says

    I am on active duty and will be separating after 13 years. I really would like to transition to the reserves or ANG. I recently read 10 U.S.C. §12731 which lays out the eligibility requirements to receive a reserve retirement. It sounds like I would have to serve 8 years of reserves to qualify (paragraph (a)2), but that would force me to 21 years since I am separating from active duty at 13 years. Am I reading this wrong? Thanks for the insight.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Jon, you need 20 Good Years to be eligible for a Reserve Retirement.

      10 U.S.C. §12731
      (a) Except as provided in subsection (c), a person is entitled, upon application, to retired pay computed under section 12739 of this title, if the person—
      (2) has performed at least 20 years of service computed under section 12732 of this title;

      The way I read it is that you only need 7 more Good Years of service to be eligible for retirement. You can meet with your personnel or Human Resources office for more information and an explanation of how the process would work.

      Best wishes with your transition decision!

      • John B Hall says

        As long as you are separating at exactly your 13 year anniversary mark. If you are only 12 years and 9 months and separate, that 9 month portion will not count as a good year. Your good years will restart again at the point in which you enlist into the ANG/Res.
        But, it would be crazy not to finish out 7/8 years with the Guard or Reserves. You have a lot of points and will get a pretty decent retirement (and not to mention medical) benefits at age 60.

  79. Jenna Ryan says

    I am an IMA member living in California but my unit is in Hawaii. I am trying to find out if there is any rule against doing your FY requirements back to back, as in the last month of one FY and continuing straight into the next FY.

    In 2020, I am planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail which takes 6 months, April – September. My R&R is July 18. In order for me not to have a bad year for 2020, I need to complete my FY requirements before April 2020 but it seems like a waste of money to fly me out to Hawaii only a couple months apart.

    Please let me know if the schedule I have below works or if there is something against doing two yearly requirements in one grouping.

    August 26 – Sep 18: IDT for FY 2019
    Sep 19 – Sep 30: AT for FY 2019
    Oct 1 – Oct 12 : AT for FY 2020
    Oct 13 – Nov 5: IDT for FY 2020

    I am Air Force but a part of an Active Duty Army unit so they are not familiar with all of my requirements and such.

    Any advice or direction helps! I have just transitioned from active duty myself so this IMA and yearly requirements is all new for me.

    Thank you,

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jenna,

      I am not aware of anything that would prohibit serving your required time back to back as you described. I would run it by your personnel office to clarify there are no restrictions, then run it by your supervision for approval.

      I hope it works out for you, and good luck on the Trail!

  80. Mike says

    I am looking to retire on my ETS on June 15th. My enlistment year ends on 15 March and begins on 16 March. If I accumulate 50 points between the start of my enlistment year (15 March) and my ETS (15 June) will this constitute and additional good year despite the service period of 3 months?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike, From what I understand, there are two main requirements to earn a Good Year – you need to earn the 50 points, and you also have to complete satisfactory service over the course of your enlistment year. Most units interpret “satisfactory service” as meeting service requirements, completing a certain number of Drills, or not having too many missed Drills, no detrimental administrative actions, etc.

      Transitioning into retirement can be easier – most units will allow the member to transition into the IRR once they meet their service requirements (to include points required for a Good Year). So in this case, you may be able to earn your 50 Points, then transition into the IRR. From there, you would have met the service requirements for a Good Year, and you would be able to request your 20 Year Letter, which verifies your retirement eligibility.

      That said, this isn’t something you want to leave any room for error. So I would clarify this with your admin/personnel office, and your supervision to ensure you meet all requirements to earn your 20 Year Letter.

      Start planning this now so you can schedule your service in order to earn a sufficient number of Points, as well as help your unit plan for your transition into retirement.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Ivan,

        The requirement for a Guard / Reserve retirement is 20 Good Years. So you would most likely need to serve 5 additional Good years to be able to earn a retirement from the Guard / Reserves. Five years would be the minimum if you separated with exactly 15 years of active duty service.

        However, if you served beyond 15 years, such as an extension for a few months, or for another reason, then later transitioned into the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR), then you might qualify for another Good Year.

        You can meet with a recruiter to look at career options and openings at a Guard or Reserve unit, and also speak with your personnel or HR office to review your years of service and points. They should be able to help you understand what is required to earn retirement benefits.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • Eric Neubauer says

        Ryan, i sm going IRR in California Army Guard. I read that correspondace(sp) courses were no longer accepted to make a good year. Can you confirm?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Eric, That is my understanding, based on the Army website:

        Military correspondence non-residential distance learning retirement point credit (1 retirement point per every 3 hours) was removed as a form of retirement point credit effective 15 April 2016. (source).

        Each branch has different rules regarding correspondence courses. Over the last few years, most branches have significantly cut down on the number of correspondence courses they are allowing for points. It has become increasingly difficult to earn a good year via correspondence courses.

        I wouldn’t count on being able to earn a good year in the IRR, unless you transition off active duty after having completed a partial year of active duty, and you finish the year in the IRR. Otherwise, it is very difficult.

        I hope this helps. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  81. CMSgt CB says

    Sir i do have a question. I am currently a GS-10 Federal employee with 5 years of service. I am also a drilling reservist with 19 years of a combined Active Duty reserve time. I am looking into buying back my Active duty time to apply it to my FERS for a future retirement as a GS. I currently have 4955 points for retirement. My question is : If i buy back my active duty time for the 6 years of active duty will that in turn delete those points from total points and affect my reserve retirement?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello CMSgt CB, Thank you for contacting me. No, buying Military Service Credits for your FERS retirement does not impact your military Reserve retirement. You would be able to receive credit for both retirement systems. Pretty awesome deal, in my opinion!

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  82. Anthony Bartolini says

    Reserve Retirement Eligibility?

    Good Morning!

    I served 8 years in the Marine Reserves from 1996-2004 with 6 being active reserves. I completed the minimum mandatory drill weekends and 2 weeks AT each year with the last 2 years in the IRR.

    I am currently on active duty in the Navy (joined May 2008) and my contract is up in August 2019. Do I need to serve 4 additional years to reach the 20 years of good service?

    Also, I have an honorable discharge from the USMC but they do not have a record of my retirement points and I cannot find them anywhere. Will my reserve time not count if I cannot find the exact number?


  83. Troy Smith says

    If a Reserve Soldier does not make promotion and is involuntary separated at 19.5 years total time served, but has gotten enough points in the 20th year for a 20th good year before separation, will that Soldier still be able to retire?

  84. Laban says

    Question on years of service associated with final retirement pay:

    To calculate final retirement pay with reserve time, are the years of
    service associated with the Average High 3 just the straight years of
    service, or are they based on reserve points?

    Example: An officer does 10 years active, and then 10 years reserve,
    earning 50 points a year with the latter. Total points are 3,650 plus
    500 = 4,150, which is about 11 and a half years. If he is a major when he
    retires, is his pay based on 20 years, or in the neighborhood of 10 or 12 years?

    I understand that his percentage of Ave High 3 would be about 28.75%, but what are the years of service he would reference on the pay charts associated with his rank?

    Thank you. This post has been the most helpful data point yet for understanding the point system.

    • Chris says

      Good morning,

      If the Soldier served 20 years (10 active, 10 Reserve) you would use the pay column for over 20 years regardless what the points calculate out to.

    • Mike says


      I’m in a similar situation. I am an Army Reserve TPU Major with 29 years of service (9 years as enlisted time). There is a common misconception in the Reserve for those that become an officer. Active Duty enlisted that become an officer need serve 10 years in order to retire as an officer. But Reserve retirement is based upon the highest grade held (HGH). For Officers:

      2LT – MAJ 6 months Time in grade
      LTC and above 3 years Time in grade

      This is strictly what will reflect on your ID Card when you retire. Example: You make LTC do 2 years TPU and then grey area retire. Your retirement rank will be MAJ because you didn’t meet the 3 years TIG for LTC.

      Second issue is retired Pay. Your retired pay is exactly as has been described above based on your point calculation. But the “High 3” in this same scenario will be based on 2 years as a LTC and 1 year as a MAJ. But to your specific question:

      “I understand that his percentage of Ave High 3 would be about 28.75%, but what are the years of service he would reference on the pay charts associated with his rank?”

      Grey area vs. Discharge

      When you discharge you are completely out and your pay scale will be “frozen” the day you’re discharge. Lets say you opted for a full discharge after 25 good years, you would be totally out and no matter the situation the military couldn’t recall you. Lets say you were 45 years old when you discharged then your retired pay scale would be based on 2019 and not whatever is going to be when you are 60 (or before if you have Mobilizations).

      If you “grey area” retire you are subject to recall (but unlikely unless a national emergency 9/11 type of situation) in this same scenario. The benefit is your “High 3” calculation will be based upon when you are 60, 59, 58 years old meaning you are taking advantage of continued “Time in Service” even though you are technically retired. And if in the senior grades it really makes a difference…E/8/9 and O6 and above have extended pay scales. So your high 3 would be based upon you years of service on the pay scale when you are 60 (before with MOBs). So the example above retire at 45 you will get 15 years of pay raises. I encourage you to look at the pay scale from 2004 vs. 2019 to get an idea.

      Obviously grey area is preferred choice for most people. I hope my rambling makes sense.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Laban, the military considers all years of service when calculating pay. So for someone who joins the Reserves after 10 years of active duty time, they will enter the Reserves at their pay grade and 10 years of active duty time. When they reach 20 years of military service, they will be paid based on the 20 year column on the pay chart.

      Here is the cool part – if they resign from the military when they retire, their military retirement pay will be based on the pay charts at the time they retired. However, if they retire awaiting pay, they will be paid not only on the pay charts when they reach aged 60, but their years of service continue to accrue. In other words, if someone retires awaiting pay at age 50 with 20 years of service, their retirement pay will be based on their retirement pay grade at age 60, based on 30 years of service (and ages 59 and 58 if they are in the high 36 retirement plan).

  85. Madeline says

    Where I can obtain a copy for accumulated points as ng and reservist also I submitted dd215 to update my dob due misspelling.

  86. Army CSM says

    I am Command Sergeant Major in the Army Reserves. I have a total of 23 years of service (15 years 5 months active and the rest Army Reserves (TPU). While assigned to the reserves I deployed to Afghanistan for 389 days. When I look at my DA Form 5016- Chronological Statement of Retirement Points, it shows that I have 16.99 Years Equivalent Active Duty. Altogether it shows I have 6566 Total Retirement Points. However, in the same form, only 6118 are credited as Active Duty Points. When I divide those by 365, I come up with 16.76 years.
    I am facing a possible 365 days deployment. I will also have an additional 31 points of AT and ADT before the mobilization (if it happens).
    If I do mobilize, would I be able to apply for “Sanctuary” base on the 16.99 Years Equivalent Active Duty (and the additional 31 days), or will I be short of 18 yrs. based on the 16.76 years from active duty points?
    I am currently 43 yrs. old, so I have a long ways to go before I can see my reserves retirement.
    Any information will be greatly appreciated.

  87. JB says

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your article on retirement points. However I just requested my retirement points history and have found it is riddled with mistakes. I have been activated numerous times, forefilled my weekend commitments, and annual tour, but have only received 15 points for apr. 10 years of my 16 years of service! How in the world do I get these records corrected? I’ve been told to request my past LES’ S, but there must be an easier way. I Am up for reenlistment in Mar2019, and it seems pointless(no pun) intended to reenlist if I can not recover my points . Any advise would be gladly appreciated, as I can not believe I am the only Reservist with this problem.

    • Chris says

      Hello JB,

      Yours is not an uncommon problem. However, are the missing membership points from years that you were on active duty, or years you already have 365 points?

      Requesting LES’s is one course of action. Another is, all your point transactions may be in your points detail already and this would negate you having to request your LESs. It is a quick fix from HRC to look at the points detail and then add the missing points.

      Your HR professional or an Retirement Services Officer can assist in providing the information to correct your points.

      This link has all the RD RSO POC:

      Don’t give up!

  88. Andre says


    I’m still slightly confused. I started in the NG, enlisting for 6 years in 1997. Never missed a drill or annual training. My basic training was 8 weeks (I believe) and 88M AIT was 4 to 6 weeks, all at Fort Leonardwood. I was commissioned as an officer on active duty in 2003, where I’m currently still in. Prior to leaving the NG for active duty, I was made to believe that my 6 years of enlisted time (including basic and AIT) totaled up to at least a year towards active duty retirement. Yet, once I was on active, my records Officer Records Brief displays “4 months prior service.” Is that it..?? Basic training and AIT alone were over 3 months. One would think that 6 years of annual trainings and drill weekends would total up to more than 4 months of prior service. Active duty personnel aren’t likely to assist you to retirement calculations UNLESS you’re about to retire.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Andre, Thank you for your question. I believe only your active duty time counts toward your retirement. So your basic training, AIT, and any additional activations would count toward an active duty retirement. Your drill weekends and any additional inactive points, such as correspondence courses, won’t count toward your active duty retirement.

      That said, your Guard time still counts toward a Reserve retirement. So you would already have those 6 years toward a Reserve retirement. This gives you the option to retire with a Reserve once you have 20 good years of service. This is important if you are passed up for promotion, are selected for non-retention, are being subjected to force shaping or involuntary cuts, or simply decide you are ready to move on.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Chris says

      Good morning,

      All of what Ryan has said is spot on.

      One point of clarification, all of your Guard time will be counted towards your retirement, if you are going to reach 20 Active Federal Service (AFS) years. You cannot use your Guard time to reach 20 years (other than your active duty days – Basic, AT, etc). But once you reach 20 AFS all your guard points are then added to your AC time.

      This is more commonly know as 1405 time. Section 1405 refers to all the inactive duty points a Reserve Component Soldier accumulates (Drill weekends, membership points, etc) There is a 365 point cap per year. These point will be converted into years/months/days and added to your AD time.

      Hope that helps.

      • Michael says


        What is the process for getting that time calculated?

        Started AD Army 3yrs, Transitioned to ARMY NG 4yrs, then 21yr AD Navy. I feel like my NG time isn’t baked into my current statement of Service. I’m retiring this summer.

        Thanks for any help. I’m trying to pull up the 1405 as a type.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Michael, It’s possible your NG time wasn’t added to your personnel profile when you joined the active duty Navy. You may need to obtain a points statement from the National Guard Bureau (or possibly the Army Human Resources Command).

        Take that to your personnel / HR office, and ask them to add it to your personnel record. You may need to send this to the Navy Personnel Command (I’m not certain of the exact process). Remember – keep personal copies of this and all records!

        I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  89. Kurt says

    I am a grey area retiree from the Army national guard with 5787 points. I have a retirement letter and an NGB22.

    Now the kicker, I am also a Federal employee with FERS as a retirement plan. I want to understand if I can use the points from active duty in my military retirement as well as in my federal plan.

    I have read and tried to understand the clause “Under the provisions of Chapter 1223, Title 10, U.S.C. ” and it appears that I can. The statement in U.S. Code § 12736 – Service credited for retired pay benefits not excluded for other benefits. It states “No period of service included wholly or partly in determining a person’s right to, or the amount of, retired pay under this chapter may be excluded in determining his eligibility for any annuity, pension, or old-age benefit, under any other law, on account of civilian employment by the United States or otherwise, or in determining the amount payable under that law, if that service is otherwise properly credited under it.”

    Any help on this would be appreciated.

    • asdf says


      But you have to buy your AD time back at your federal job. Plenty of people I work with have done this. Hope this helps!

      • Leon DeHaven says

        I spent 14 years active duty – then 27 in the USAR — and 24 years civil service (darn– I am old) — I was able to buy my 14 years active duty and was able to retire from civil service with pay for 37 years… it works!

    • Seashell says

      Make sure you start buying back your AD time right away. The longer you delay, the cost increases. Say you have 10 years of AD when you transferred to civil service. IF you buy back your AD years, you could retire from your civil service job 10 years from your start date. Instead of retiring with only 10 years, you would be given 20 years (10 CS and 10 AD). Then the rough estimate for your federal retirement would be 1% per year of you top 3. 20 years = 20%

      Biggest thing is to buy it back ASAP!

  90. David Williams says

    Hello. So if im calculating your responses correctly. I still have to do about 15yrs of AD time? I joined the reserves in 2006.. ill hit my 12 yr mark in nov 2018. i have about 1750 retirement points. ( 2 year long overseas tours) I just joined the AGR program last month, and im hoping to get to a 20yr AD letter.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, Thank you for your question.

      My understanding is that only active duty time counts toward a military retirement. This will include all active duty training and active duty orders, but will not include drill weekends, AT days, correspondence courses, and similar inactive points. So you’re not just looking at total Points, but active duty points.

      You will be eligible for the 20-year retirement letter for a reserve retirement when you achieve 20 good years. But if you are on AGR status, you can continue serving until you reach 20 active duty years. Your personnel office or human resources section should be able to help you with the calculations.

      So you can definitely plan on reaching 20 years of active duty service, but it will take a while to get there. In the meantime, you will have already received the Reserve retirement eligibility letter. This gives you the option of retiring from the military before reaching the 20 years of active duty if your goals or priorities change.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  91. Ben says

    I am currently on Active Duty and will be transitioning to the reserves to fill an IMA position via the PALACE FRONT program while I attend school full time. Considering my separation from AD and transition to the reserves will occur in January 2019, what will the IDT/AT requirements be like? Will I still be required to complete all the requirements needed for a “good year” even though I would have 110 days on AD for FY19?
    I entered the USAF in August 2012 for six years (until August 2018). I signed a five month extension which takes me to January 2019.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Ben, Great question. Your service years will be based on your entry into the service, not the fiscal year.

      For example, say you joined the military on August 1, 2012. Your military year will be from August 1, 2012, through July 31, 2013.

      So when you transition into the Reserves, your year will remain the same. You will have the 5-month extension, which will be more than enough points for a good year – provided you meet the other service requirements. You will also earn a prorated number of participation points (normally 15 participation points per year).

      So if you remain in the Reserves through July 31, 2019, you will have a Good Year. Your clock will start for the next year on August 1, 2019.

      I hope that makes sense.

      Best wishes with your schooling and your transition into the Reserves!

  92. Chad says

    I am having difficulty figuring out my retirement. I served 4 years AD and then joined the ANG. So far I have 3840 total points. Currently, I am an E-7 dual status technician and possibly being offered an AGR position. My TAFMS is estimated at 7 years 4 months, so I need another 12 years 8 months for retirement. At 20 years of service I would have 8119 total points removing my membership points (I don’t believe they count). So I now have an estimated 22.5 years of service towards retirement pay. Also at this point I would have 34 years time in service. So pay wise I would be a topped out E-7. Okay, this is finally my question, how do I figure out my retirement? Do I only get 50% for 20 years or 55% for 22.5 years or 85% of top pay (34 years TIS). I assume it would be high 36 pay at 55%. If anyone has any information about this can you please share it, thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Chad, This is a great question.

      If you are going for a Reserve Component Retirement, then all your points count toward retirement. You would divide the number of points by 360 (each year is considered to be 360 points – 12 months at 30 days each). You would then multiply the number of years by 2.5%. That would be your retirement pay multiplier. You would then multiply that by your base pay at the time you enter retirement (generally age 60, unless you qualify for early retirement, based on your deployments or activations).

      If you are going for an active duty retirement, I believe only your active duty points count toward retirement eligibility. So you wouldn’t count participation points, correspondence courses, drill weekends, etc.

      Once you reach full retirement eligibility based on active duty time, you can add your Reserve Points toward your retirement pay. This page from the Maine National Guard site offers a more detailed explanation.

      It would be a good idea to run the numbers with your personnel or human resources office prior to retiring to ensure everything is calculated correctly. This is not something that you want to make a small mistake with, as the results could be very costly!

      I hope this is helpful.

    • Jared says

      Ryan, this is not accurate. Reserve retirement pay calculations are based on number of points not 2.5 times years of service. Each service component will have a point valuation calculator or spreadsheet that gives you a multiplier to calculate your retirement pay. For example in 2019, an E-7 in the AF with 34 years service would use a multiplier of .37702
      This multiplier would be used with your retirement points 8119 x .37702= $3061.02 monthly pension. The high 3 will slightly change your pension. It will take an average of the last three years of the multiplier (the multiplier may change each year based on rank or congressional pay increases etc)

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Jared,

        Yes, you are correct. There are point charts. From what I’ve been told by a few people in other services, they can be difficult to find. Do you happen to have the 2019 point chart? If so, I would be happy to find a way to publish it to this article.

        Regarding the methodology used in this article – you can also convert points to years, divide by 360 to obtain the equivalent years of service, and multiply by the 2.5 times. Either way works.


      • Seashell says

        Here is the 2019 Point Valuation for Retirement Benefits for Reservist and Guardmembers

        2019 point chart.

        To figure out your retirement…. Point value (this chart) x points at retirement AND points while IRR (you should be placed in IRR when you retire)= Amount your check will be.

        Example – I retired in 2013 with 2542 points. Earning 15 points until I reach 60 (some of us deployed so I receive mine at 59.5). So, if I were in IRR for 10 years I will receive 150 additional points. For a total of 2692 (2542+150).
        Now, using the points value chart for 2019 as a 26+ E-8. Each point is worth .42192
        My calculation is .42192 x 2692 = 1135.81 per month retirement check

        Your points are really the most important. Good years are used to figure out your point value. Good years have set points (moves your value up) of 20+, 22+, 24+ 26+ and so forth. If you are close to having 22, 24, 26, MAKE them let you stay in until you reach it. Officers stall on their point value and only points can increase their $$.

  93. Jason says

    I am a TR and hit 7305 active duty points and applied for an active duty retirement. I have 7467 total points. What happens to the extra 162 points. Are they a wash, or will I get them credited when I turn 60?

  94. Nick says


    I am trying to find the automatic 15 free points on my point credit summary but do not see it. Where does this show up? Thank you!

  95. Seth Brown says

    Hi Ryan,

    I completed 5 years of active service in the Marines in 2014. Afterwards, I continued service in the Marine Reserves for 3 more years (while attending college) and accumulated roughly 220 points through that. I am planning on going back on active duty in a different branch, but I have not been able to get straight answers about retirement from any recruiters; so hopefully, you can help me out. My question is, after combining my active and reserve time in service, will I be eligible for an active duty retirement after 12 more years of active service, or will I have to complete 15 more years for the active retirement?


    • Jessica says

      Hi Seth,
      I know i’m not the author, but I am a Career Counselor in the Navy that helped a lot of members get back to Active duty. The short answer is that you’ll have to do closer to 15. Whatever active duty time you had while in the reserves will count against the total time you need to finish before retiring, but the years themselves do not. For example, if you were active for a 6 month deployment during that 3 years, then you would only need to do 14.5 additional years. Hope that makes sense!

      • CSM(R) Darrell Minix says

        All the time you spent in the reserves while on orders counts all your IDT time will not count

  96. BRIAN MAURO says

    I am a M-Day NG Soldier who has reached Sanctuary with 20 years 10 days, however I have for base pay 24 years 9 months and 10 days. Which pay based on my time will be used to calculate my retirement pay? I currently have 7013 pts, which is null and void because I have reached 20 years Federal service(AD)

  97. Martin Docherty says

    Thanks for your expertise. I am a USAR physician. Coming up on 20 good years. I have from about 16 years back 2 years with 48 and 45 points ( not good ! ) in both those years I completed 25 hours of CME but did not request retirement points ( pre 9/11 I wasn’t thinking of staying) In addition I have at least 50 CME hours per year from 2000 onwards that I never submitted. So, what form should I use to request retirement only points for the CME which for both those close years will give me good years hopefully? ( I know regs changed in 2016 so only looking through end of 2015 ). I am in a TPU.

  98. Briana Jamshidi says

    Hello, thank you for taking the time to write this article and answer our questions!

    I am in the Army national guard and will ETS this February. I haven’t attended several drill weekends over the years and this has resulted in one or two years not being “good years”. How does this (or will it) affect my ETS date? What does this affect?

    Thanks again.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Briana, Thank you for contacting me. I do not know if it will impact your ETS date. I do not believe it does. However, not having good years may impact your eligibility for certain benefits through the VA.

      For example, to qualify for VA Loan eligibility in the Guard or Reserves, you either need 6 Good Years of service, or sufficient active duty time, including either 90 days of active duty service during war time, or 181 days of active duty during peace time.

      There may be other impacts to your benefits as well. Benefits will vary based on your specific service. The best thing to do would be to meet with a Veterans Service Officer at the VA, or a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV< AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. They can help you better understand which benefits you may be eligible to receive. I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  99. Elizabeth M says

    Hello Ryan,
    I had 19 good years total (AD, Guard & Reserve). I was a fulltime Air Reserve Technician (ART) for a few months and then quit. When I quit my ART job I was told by the servicing MPF that I was in sanctuary and they had to find me a position, but no one would help me. I was also told I wasn’t in sanctuary, because I voluntarily quit the ART job. I didn’t think about my military career and I should have, when I quit the job. Because I quit the ART position, I lost my military job. I tried to transfer to other positions but no one would take me. I tried getting in the ANG and not many would return my call. Long story short I was put into the IRR. while in the IRR I applied for several jobs in the AF Reserves, but no one would hire me. Finally after a year I gave up.

    I read somewhere a few years ago, that if I can’t get back in due to medical reasons, that I could get a waiver and get a retirement. Is this true, and if so, how would I go about it? Do you know perchance?

    Thank you so much!

  100. Shane says

    Hi, and thanks for the great info. Quick question as I just transitioned via Palace Front from AD USAF to a TR position in the Reserves. My DOS from AD was 31 Nov 17 and I was gained into the TR position with my unit on 1 Dec 17. My R/R month is Aug (8 Aug to be exact) and I’m trying to determine if the time from 8 Aug 17 until I separated AD on 31 Nov 17 will count towards my annual points requirement or if I’ll have to meet that requirement via UTAs & AT?

    My issue is that my unit didn’t have me do a UTA until May ’18 and thus only have 12 points at this time. My AT would need to be completed prior to the 8 Aug date to count those toward my required # of points and I won’t have the possibility to get the additional 23 points I’ll need to get to 50pts for the year. Any adivce on ensuring I am able to get a “Good Year” with the scenario above?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shane, Thank you for question.

      I believe your Reserve year starts on the date you transitioned into the Reserves. So if you left Active Duty on 31 Nov 2017 and immediately transitioned into the Reserves, then your year should start on Dec 1, 2017. That should give you until that time to earn 50 Points. Verify this with your unit personnel office to be certain.

      If that is the case, then you should be able to earn a sufficient number of Points by December. If you need additional points you may be able to work in some training days before then. Just work with your personnel office and your unit to be sure.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  101. James says

    Sound Check: Please see the two bars on my service history. I have been told various positions on how these two periods would be valued in my retirement calculations. One story is that the “000804” is 8 months and 4 days, and the “000725” would be 7 months and 25 days.

    So at the bottom when it adds it all up, it equals 16 years, 3 months and 29 days.

    What is your take? By this do I have 4 more years or 6 more years??



    From Date Thru Date AD IDT ECI IDS MBR Total Retire Sat. Svc.
    25 MAR 1991 – 28 NOV 1991 0249 0000 0000 0000 000 00249 00249 000804

    01 DEC 1998 – 25 JUL 1999 0015 0024 0000 0000 010 00049 00049 000725

    Total pts accrued 22 DEC 2017: 4069 0229 0111 0000 092 04501 04501 160329

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, I don’t have enough information to go on. I recommend visiting with your personnel or human resources office and asking them to do a records / points review. They will review your points and records and give you an up to date accounting of your Good Years of Service, and your total number of Retirement Points. This will give you a better idea of where you stand.

      This is also a great opportunity to ensure your service has copies of all your service records and has accurately accounted for your time. This is especially important if you have active duty time, have deployed, changed branches of service, or transition from Guard to Reserves or vice versa.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  102. Jenni says

    Thanks for the great info. I have one question. You calculated that you could potentially have 10 years equivalent active duty time after you get your 20 good years. Then you took ten times 2.5% to get 25%. After that you said you would be eligible for 25% of an active duty pension. However, the active duty pension was already 50% of their highest pay. So, is it 25% of the 50%, or is it 25% of the highest pay or high three? Thank you!

  103. Ken says

    Final Pay Plan

    The retired pay base for a qualified reserve retirement under the Final Pay plan is the monthly basic pay determined at the rates applicable on the day of retirement at the highest grade satisfactorily held during service. In other words, it is the rate of pay for the member’s pay grade and years of service taken from the pay table in effect on the date that retired pay begins, regardless of when the member stopped participation (i.e. went into the gray area).

    Does this mean what I think it means? When Pre-08 Sep 1980 retirees retire at age 60 our retirement is based on the current pay table at that time (2020) and not the pay table back in 01OCT2008 (gray area retiree)?

  104. Ken says

    I have 6,953 points with most of those points having been in over 14 years on active duty. I entered the Army before September 1980. I retired as a Staff Sergeant from the Army Reserve. My question is what will my retirement look like in $ since I am under the ole 50% retirement system

  105. Alex says


    What is the source reference for the 1 point for 3 hours of study for ECI? I see it on the FAQ for vMPF PCARS, but no source. I’m getting push back from AFPC regarding a points calculation; they are referencing the below from DoDI 1215.07:

    “(6) One retirement point will be credited to a member of the Selected Reserve upon successful completion of non-resident training and education in an active status for each 4 hours of pay received in accordance with section 206(d)(2) of Title 37 U.S.C. (Reference (k l)), as specified in paragraphs b(6)(a) through b(6)(c)” Thanks!


  106. James P Hobbs says

    I have a question about my reserve and national guard time. Im already retired active duty. With 20 yr 1 day active duty. Am i supposed to get credit for the drill weekends that i did for muta 4 and 5 because i was in the reserves and guard for 8 yrs. And the only time they gave me was when i went to a Ait school and the 2 weeks in the summer. Am i supposed to get day for day credit for each drill i went to? Towards my retirement

  107. Joseph Alfano says


    No need for an apology. You’ve been more helpful than anyone else. It gets confusing…

    In reference to the Board for Corrections of Naval Records, mentioned below, I presented my case to them and they made corrections to my latest reenlistment document, basically adding roughly 5 months to my active duty time (4/02/15 vise 3/7/28) and also adding my inactive duty time (7/04/28 vise 00/00/14). My issue now is seeing if, in fact, AT does count as active duty days (I assumed that they did) and then proving to the Navy that I did in fact perform AT for two weeks each year for four years (1994-97). That would add about a month and a half to the 4 months 17 days of AD training the Navy is willing to accept thus far.

    My intention is certainly to retire from active duty, the pension starts immediately and is substantially more. I will inquire with my home state’s Dept of Veteran’s Affairs Bureau about getting the 20 Year Letter from the National Guard. I guess it wouldn’t hurt as proof to the Navy in regards to my prior service. The funny thing is, on my DD Form 1966, the yellow contract the recruiter fills out, it states in Block B: PRIOR SERVICE – YES, NUMBER OF DAYS – 1825. That’s like 5 years of straight active duty if my math is correct. I was rather ignorant of the process at the time so it didn’t raise any flags. So the Navy Recruiters did ask me if I had prior service and I told them yes, and it is annotated here and there on paper. But for some reason it does not show up anywhere electronically.

    Best Regards,


  108. Reggie says

    When I use the Reverve Pay calculator to calculate my years of service I noticed that I loose two years of service because I’m retiring 4 months early. My example is that I served 29 years and 8 months and my last 8 months I performed over 80 drills so that I could have 30 good years. Do I need to extend 4 months and retire on the 1st day of the 5th month just to have 30 good years? Everyone I ask say that I don’t have to extend but there is no where for me to guarantee that I’ll have 30 good years. Pease help.

  109. Ron Green says

    Hello Ryan,

    I attempted to submit a question yesterday regarding 7200 points and reserve retirement, but it did not appear.

    This is an abbreviated version.

    Frequently, one will read about 7200 points being “golden” and that a reservist can retire upon reaching that level and receive retired pay without reaching the required age of 60 (which can be reduced to lesser age, but not below age 50, for those who have served on Active Duty in an eligible status on or after January 29, 2008.)

    This does not pertain to the reduced age in the preceding paragraph.

    Notwithstanding the fact that a reserve retirement does NOT require 7200 points (20 good years and meeting the age requirement are necessary), could you direct me to the law and regulation that allows a 7200 point retirement with immediate retired pay accrual? I should mention that after extensive research, I have come to the conclusion that “law” does not exist.

    The question presented here does not pertain to sanctuary status while serving on AD. Those who mention the 7200 point retirement discuss the matter simply as whenever the total is achieved.

    Thank you…

    • Ron Green says

      Hello Ryan,

      This is an addendum to my initial post concerning retiring with 7200 point with immediate accrual of retired pay (and subsequent disbursement) and not related to sanctuary status. Almost all the posts I have read elsewhere spoke of the “7200 point retirement” as if it was commonplace and not a sanctuary status-type retirement. Earlier, I mentioned that I have not located a law that authorizes that type retirement and do not believe it exists.

      After reading some of the remarks by Doug Nordman (who occasionally cites your work), I believe the confusion on the part of some reservists IS related to the sanctuary status and that somewhat uncommon occurrence has morphed into being available to any reservist with 7200 points, regardless of mobilization status at a certain point which would have made them eligible for sanctuary.

      [start of quotation]

      “…there might be some confusion on the sanctuary requirements. In order to qualify you have to be on active duty (mobilization or other orders >29 days) at the date you go over the 18-year point. Then you’re continued on active duty (in a different personnel category) until you reach 20 years of service.”

      “When sanctuary is granted then DoD makes the services pay for the pension difference out of their own personnel funds. The services track servicemembers who have at least 16 years of points and aggressively restrict them from reaching sanctuary status. With your 6405 points, you’re probably already on their database warnings. You’d be able to continue to do drill weekends and ATs but the only way to get orders of more than 29 days (let alone mobilization) would be with a three-star general’s approval from AF personnel HQ (the active-duty HQ, not the Reserve HQ). I’ve seen a handful approved before the drawdown, but I haven’t heard of any sanctuary approvals in the last four years.”

      “However you could keep accumulating points on drills and shorter orders, even if you go over 18 years of points. I know of two Reservists with over 7400 points, although they’ll never be approved for any orders over 29 days.” [end of quotation]

      Perhaps this is the answer to the question I presented (i.e., sanctuary status is being confused with simply attaining 7200 points).


  110. Matt says

    Hi Ryan,

    You stated: ‘I can take the 10 years and multiply that by 2.5% and come up with a pension that would be worth roughly 25% of an active duty pension, based on my pay grade and years of service at retirement.’

    This would actually be 25% of active duty base pay not active duty pension correct? (or roughly 50% of active duty pension) Or am I reading that incorrectly?


  111. Tony Fiore says

    Hi Ryan,

    I joined Army Reserves Feb 1962, completed 6 months Active Duty and 5 yrs and 6 months reserve time.
    2 weeks each year for 5 years, and all required weekend drills for 5 yrs and 6 months.

    I recently applied for a VA loan and asked to provide DD-214, DD-256 and Itemized Retirement points starements.

    The DD-214, and DD-256 I was able to provide but I know nothing about the
    Itemized Retirement points statement. Can you provide information on how to go about getting Itemized Retirement points statement? When did they begin the system?

    Thank you,
    Tony Fiore

  112. Joseph says

    Hello Ryan,

    Thank you for your quick response to my initial query. I have been in the process of getting my Army National Guard points (385) added to my active duty Navy time only to be told by personnel that only the actual days that I was on active duty (Boot Camp and AIT Schools), not drill weekends or AT (2 weeks in the summer) count towards my active duty Navy time. The 385 retirement points that are listed on my NGB Form 23A are for 5 good years of Reserve Service. Why would they not count towards AD time? Who has the final say in this? The Navy? DOD? VA? Unfortunately, when I came in the Navy, my prior service time was not annotated in block 7 of my DD Form 4 (Initial Enlistment). Still, I think the NGB Form 23A should suffice. As I approach retirement, I would like to know exactly when I am the 20 year mark.

  113. Jeff says

    Hi, I spent 12 years in the Marine Corps Reserves. During my reserve time I activated 3 times and received 3 DD214’s. But, I also spent time on ADOS orders and did my annual training each year. I just started working for the federal government and i’m trying turn in all documentation for my service computation date. They are only accepting my DD214 time and not giving credit for ADOS time or AT time. from what I’ve read those should also count but since you don’t receive a DD214 they wont allow it. I contacted the marine corps and had them send over a copy of my retirement points paperwork that shows 984 active duty points but they wont accept that either. Do you know of another way I can go about getting them to credit me all of my active duty time?


  114. Jason Lawson says

    Hi Ryan,

    I have a question regarding the specific definition of a “Good Year” for a Reserve Retirement. The following is the exact quote from your article above:

    “*Defining a Good Year in the Guard/Reserves: A “Good Year” in the Guard or Reserves means the service member earned a minimum of 50 Points. Service that results in fewer than 50 Points in a given year will not count as a Good Year. The Points still count toward retirement, but the service member doesn’t get credit for a Good Year.”

    What if your participation earns you 50 points in a given anniversary year, but your anniversary year is cut short? I ask because I am sure you are aware of the new “Deploy-or-Get-Out” policy that was introduced in February. I have 8 years of Active Duty service and 11 “Good Years” of Reserve (IMA & TR) service. As such, I currently have 19 “Good Years” of service for a Reserve Retirement. I am currently assigned as a TR to working to complete my 20th year so that I become eligible for a Reserve Retirement. I am very close to earning 50 points for this anniversary year and anticipate passing the 50 point mark by early July. But, I haven’t been world-wide deployable since 2014 and I could get swept up in this new “Deploy-or-Get-Out” policy. If I do earn 50 points for this anniversary year and then the MEB/PEB process attempts to separate me before my R/R date (08 Jan), would this current anniversary year be counted as a “Good Year”, thus earning me a Reserve Retirement? Or would it only count as a “Partial Year” towards a Reserve Retirement, and I would essentially never earn a Reserve Retirement?

    I have received much conflicting guidance regarding this topic and would like your take on it since you essentially talked in the article about dealing with partial years during your career. Thanks.


  115. Joseph Alfano says

    Hello Ryan,

    I was an Army National Guardsman from July of 1992 until July of 1998, earning 385 retirement points and 5 years for credible retirement pay. I have been active duty Navy for the past 17 1/2 years. My question is do ALL those points add to my current active duty time?

  116. John A Stratton says

    I was on active duty for 2 years during Viet Nam. Later I joined the Army Reserves for approximately 3 and half years before going back on active duty for another 17 years. What I’d like to know is how I can find out how many total points I earned during my Reserve years. Is there a military website that would have it?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, Thank you for contacting me. Your Reserve time should have been calculated for you and added to your service time when you rejoined active duty. If your branch of service did not do that, you will likely need to contact the National Archives and request a copy of your military records.

      If your Points were not added to your active duty service time, then you should request a records review with your branch of service. It’s possible your retirement could be larger if your points were not correctly calculated at the time of your retirement.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  117. Josh Flores says

    I have 4 years active. and 4 good years reserve. If i wanted to retire with active duty benefits (right away benefits). would i have to go back active for 16 more years? How much reserve good years would cover for active years for immediate benefit wise. if at all

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Josh, Great question. Each Point earned in the Reserves will equal one day of active duty time. So if you go back on active duty or take an AGR billet, you will need to have 20 years of equivalent active duty service.

      Your four years of Reserve time likely earned you approximately 312 Points (give or take a few). This estimate assumes you completed four years with 48 Drill periods (one weekend a month, at 4 drill periods per weekend), 15 active training days, and 15 participation points, for a total of 78 Points in the year. In this example, you would add 312 Points to your active duty time, which is almost a full year of active duty service. (Of course, this is just an example, your numbers may vary if you were activated, did additional training, missed any Drills, etc.).

      If you transition back to active duty, be sure to have your human resources or personnel office apply your Reserve service time to your active duty time. They should be able to show you your total time in service, and provide and estimated retirement date. Be sure to double check the numbers and make sure you understand them. This is your career, and it’s more important to you than anyone else!

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  118. Terry says


    During the course of my military service, I was called up 4 times under Title 10 after 9/11, in support of Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and other operations. My early retirement pay only reflects when I deployed to the region, even though I served on duty in response to need. Can the other times on Title 10 reflect my early retirement status.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Terry, Thank you for your question. Here is an article that covers more detail regrading service that qualifies for early retirement from the Guard and Reserves.

      It depends on when your service occurred, how long the service lasted, and how your orders were classified at the time you were activated.

      I won’t be able to answer specific questions regarding your orders. You would need to review all periods of activation, then contact your service human resources or personnel office to verify whether or not the service periods qualify for early retirement credit.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  119. Mike says

    Phenomenal advice! Thank you for dedicating so much time, effort, and care in answering so many service members’ questions.

  120. Andrew Raymond says

    Can you still earn points once you’re a part of the retired reserve? For instance- participation in the NY Guard? Category E?

  121. Mike says

    Does your anniversary year ending date change if you change services? I joined the army guard in jun 2003, then went to the army reserves in Jan 2018. Is my June AYE still June or does a new reserve section change the dates?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike, Thank you for contacting me.

      Your anniversary year will start on the day you started your current service commitment. If you transition without a break in service, then I don’t believe your anniversary year changes.

      For example, I left active duty in February 2006, and was completely out of the service until August 2014, when I joined the Air National Guard. So my Anniversary Year starts in August.

      In your case, I don’t believe your anniversary year changes if you transitioned directly from the Guard to the Reserves. That said, you want to work with your Human Resources or personnel office to verify your records transitioned correctly and that your points were properly accounted for. You want to make sure you get credit for a Good Year if you had the required number of Points. Your HR department should also be able to verify your anniversary year date.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  122. Jamie says

    I completed 10.5 active duty years and had three additional good years in the Reserves. During my time in the reserves I was on active orders which gave me a total of about 12.5 years active time. I had to transition to IRR because of personal reasons. For the same reason I want to apply for a medical retirement. Do you know if I am allowed to initiate that medical retirement while on IRR status.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jamie, Thank you for contacting me. So far as I am aware, the individual cannot apply for medical retirement. The member must be recommended to go in front of a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB), which makes a recommendation for a medical retirement, or continued service.

      You should, however, be able to apply for a VA service-connected disability rating based on your medical conditions which occurred or worsened during your military service. A VA disability rating provides a monthly compensation payment along with certain benefits, including health care related to the condition, and possible additional health care base on your rating and other factors.

      I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. They have counselors who offer free claims assistance on a case by case basis.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  123. Kirsten says

    Thanks so much for your clear explanation! I’ve been going crazy trying to figure out how the point system works.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jaime,

      Thank you for contacting me. That’s a great question.

      The date you join the Delayed Entry Program is your Date of Initial Entry into Military Service. This date is used to determine which retirement program you are eligible to retire under (High 3, REDUX, Blended Retirement System, etc.).

      Active duty members in the DEP just wait around in an unpaid status until they ship off to Basic Training. They are in an unpaid status, and do not earn points or credit toward retirement during this time.

      However, many members of the Guard and Reserves begin attending drills during this period. Since they are in a paid status, they begin accruing points toward a Good Year, and toward retirement. So the day Guard and Reserve members enter the DEP is the starting point of their anniversary year. So long as they meet the requirements, they can earn a Good year toward retirement.

      Once you reach 20 good years, you will be eligible for retirement. For active duty members, their date for retirement is the date they ship off to basic training.

      I hope this answers your question!

  124. John DeCosta says

    I have a quick question, and forgive me if this sounds stupid, but do you know the proper channel for obtaining a Retirement points Statement? I got out of the reserves in July of 2001, so my unit doesn’t have it. I put in a request with NPRC, almost a year ago with no result. I’m in the process of getting a VA mortgage loan, and the points statement is a requirement. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, Try contacting your parent service main human resources office or personnel office. They should be able to provide the form or point you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  125. Late Bloomer says

    I joined the reserves later in my career, such that my mandatory separation date is only 14 years from my commission date, and I do not have prior service. My goal in joining had to do with service to the country; not necessarily for benefits/retirement. With that scenario in mind, is there any reason for me to worry about points at all? (i.e., are points used for anything other than calculating retirement eligibility and benefit)? I see soldiers shuffling to submit point credit for online learning, and other activities. Since I will not be eligible for retirement, should I relieve myself of the burden of worrying about points accrual (other than, of course, fulfilling my contracted annual duty)?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Late Bloomer, Thank you for your question. I don’t think you need to go above and beyond and try to accumulate as many points as possible if it is unlikely you will be able to receive retirement benefits. I do recommend earning the Good Year each year if possible, as that may have other impacts on your career.

      I also recommend looking into your retirement age and whether or not age waivers will be a possibility. Some career fields have difficulty filling billets and may grant age waivers in some circumstances. You would need to speak with a career counselor or the retention office for more information and to see if it would be applicable to you. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  126. Shellie says

    I have read your article and have a few questions. I have found another way to calculate and now I am wondering if it is wrong. Each year the reserve personnel center releases a Point Value for Retirement Benefits for Reservist and Guardmembers. It reads just like a military pay chart. You find your rank/grade and years in service. You then find the value of each point you earned. You then use the formula of …….Point value x # of points = Retirement $$ per month

    So, using the 2017 chart (2018 is still pending) with the following information- Rank SMSgt (E-8), 2542 points earned, in service 27 years, chart point value shows .40158

    .40158 x 2542 = 1,020.82

    With the release of a new point value chart each year, you see the cost of living raises and recalculate.

    Here are the sites:
    2019 point chart.

    Here is the ARMY reserve 2018 point chart.

    Here is the AF 2017 point value chart.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shellie, yes, you can use the point charts as well. The point charts aren’t always easy to find, and are sometimes only found behind a CAC login (depending on the branch of service). Either way works for calculating the retirement.

  127. Mo Haroon says

    Great article, I really enjoyed reading every bit and piece. I have one huge question that no In Service Recruiter is able to answer for me. I am thinking about transitioning from Active Duty Air Force to the Reserves, I’ve been AD for 12years now and it’s time for me to move on. Now I’m pretty sure I have to do 8 more years to be retirement eligible, but my main question is will my 12yrs of AD count in the point system and will I be eligible to receive retirement before the age of 60 or will I still have to wait until the age of 60? Thank you in advance

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mo, Thank you for contacting me.

      Yes, your Points transfer directly to the Guard or Reserves. Each day on active duty will count as one retirement Point. You will have 12 Good Years toward retirement, and will need to complete a total of 20 Good Years to be eligible for a Reserve retirement. You would need to wait until age 60 to begin drawing retirement pay and receiving military retiree health care.

      However, it can be possible, in some circumstances, to receive Reserve retirement pay before age 60 if you are activated for a certain number of days in a year. Qualifying for this is too much to type out in this email, but you can read more here.

      Here are some additional resources on Reserve retirement: Reserve retirement benefits guide.

      I hope this info is helpful. I wish you the best with the transition, and thank you for your service!!

  128. Logan Vickery says


    Thank you for all the clarity. At the end of my guard enlistment, I may be going active duty as a JAG and I’ve been trying to figure out how many years of my service in the guard will translate to how many years affect my active pay.

    I was told that it would depend on my points that I’ve earned in the guard. I’m hoping I will at least have 2 years worth in order to get that pay bump.

    So what my question is, does tech school and OJT following count as daily points? If so that will start me out with about 14 months before my guard years.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Logan, Thank you for contacting me. Your Guard points should transfer over at a 1 to 1 rate. Each point should equal one day of active duty time. Your personnel or human resources office should be able to help you verify your total points and how your time will translate to active duty. They should also be able to help you verify your pay date, which is the date used to determine your time in service. From there you should have a good idea of your expected pay if you go to active duty.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  129. Shane says

    Thank you for taking the time to explain all of this! I do have a question that I need answered as I continue to get conflicting answers. I served 6 years Active Duty Air Force. Now I’m in my 1st year in the Air National Guard. Will I be eligible for a retirement after 14 good years in the Guard? Or do I have to do 20 in the Guard itself?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shane, Thank you for contacting me. You only need to do 20 Good Years combined for all of your military service. Your 6 years of active duty should count as 6 good years. So you will most likely need to complete 14 years in the Air National Guard to be eligible for military retirement.

      But I do recommend you verify your total service time and your total number of good years. Your time in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) also counts as points, and in some cases, may work toward good year. This likely won’t have an impact if you transferred directly from active duty to the ANG. But it may impact you if you spent some time in the IRR, or went over 6 years on your active duty time.

      For example, I served 6.5 years on active duty, and transferred to the IRR afterward. The six additional months I served on active duty counted as 180 points and I finished the year out in the IRR. That counts as a year in the Reserve Component. My 6 months of active duty plus 6 months of IRR combined to qualify as a good year for retirement (you need 50 points in a year to qualify as a good year for retirement; my time was 180 points for the six months of active duty service, plus 15 points for the time in the IRR).

      So double check your points. You might get lucky and only need 13 more years. And if not, then it should only be 14 years to qualify for retirement. I hope this helps. I wish you the best, and I hope you enjoy your time serving in the Air National Guard!

      • Shane says

        Thank you for the response! That definitely clears it up for me. I’ll be sure to check in on my points and see if it will be the full 14 years that I need. I look forward to the rest of my career and especially the retirement pay later in life!

  130. Bill Chan says

    I spent six years in the Reserves while attending a “Senior Military College” ROTC program and have 448 total points creditable from my DA Form 5016. I have been on active duty since June 2001 after graduating from said college. How much time can I apply towards my active duty retirement based on the 448 points? I’m trying to find out if I’m retirement eligible in the near future or do I need to just use my BASD, which has never reflected any of my reserve point/credits/time.

    It seems as though I can’t find an SME to answer these questions. Any guidance or advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bill, Thank you for your question. So far as I am aware, your Reserve points should count toward your active duty retirement credit on a one for one basis. Make sure you take your Form 5016 to your personnel or human resources department and ask them to verify your total points and credit toward retirement. They will most likely have to coordinate your Points with your service’s main personnel officer (Army HRC, BUPERS, or AFPC). So it may take some time to verify your points have been correctly added to the system. Once those points are in place, you should be able to estimate your retirement date accordingly.

      Verify this with your local HR or personnel office and make sure the points are reflected in your official records. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  131. Georgetta A Hunt says

    Hi Ryan,
    I just received my 20 year letter. I have 10 years Active duty, 1 year 6 months reserve and I currently serving on AGR for 9 years. I was told that I can retire Active duty or reserve. My question is what’s the difference? Is the retirement pay the same? I will retire Nov 2018.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Georgetta, the difference can be substantial. Active duty retirement benefits generally start immediately. That means you will start receiving your retirement pay and health care once you retire with active duty benefits. A Reserve retirement generally doesn’t start until age 60, meaning you may have to wait a long time to begin receiving your retirement pay and health care benefits. In almost all cases, active duty retirement benefits are substantialy better, since they begin immediately.

      The best thing to do is sit down with your finance or personnel department and have them explain the differences to you and then run the numbers. In your situation, it sounds like the active duty retirement will be much more valuable in the long run.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Nicole, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, it is possible in most cases. You will need to contact a recruiter for more information regarding your specific situation. In some cases, the application is almost a formality – just some paperwork and getting assigned to a unit. However, there may be more required to come back into the service, depending on how long you’ve been out and other factors. The only way to answer these questions is to speak with a recruiter who can review your DD-214, look up your profile, and give you a list of options. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  132. Michelle says

    If my husband is National Gurad and works for the govt full-time. We were told the civil service ticks his National Guard time as if he were Active Duty. Is that correct?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Michelle, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not 100% positive how the government tracks National Guard time. I know the active duty time is awarded on a day for day basis, but I’m not certain about time in the National Guard. I recommend he speak with his Human Resources office for more information.

    • Bill says

      No. First of all nothing is automatic. If you are talking about retirement, then only Title 10 points will count. You must file for the points through the Military Service Deposits (MSD); use the FERS/CERS hand book to find out this lengthy process. Once your branch of service has validated your elgiable points and their dollar value, you must apply to buy the points. You will need to then pay for the points. I would recommend an allotment versus cash, because that is normal and will go smoother. If you do a single cash payment be ready for a fight on the order of a year for it to get straightened out. Also you may have to pay interest on the MSD.

      If you are talking about military leave he earns 120 hours per year and those hours can carry over, but there are limits. He must submit a military leave request form and provide orders or the LES to prove his military status during the leave status.

      • Michelle says

        We know how is 120 military hrs work. I also am not talking about buying time either, that does not apply here.

  133. Mike says

    Do you get retirement points for Senior Enlisted Joint Proffesional Military Education (SEJPME)? There is a 40 hr course and a 45 hr course on JKO.

  134. SFC P says


    Great article. I was mostly aware of the information you provided, but you seem to be quite the subject matter expert. So I have a few questions for you?

    First, here is the background. I already have 25 good years as a reservist, with about 4600 AD points and 5300 Retirement points. I am trying to make an apple to apple comparison between going on active duty as a Reservist (AGR) or Regular Army (RA) to complete 20 active years.

    I know for an AGR when they reach 7200 AD points they can retire, and then they receive all of their other points for IDT, membership, correspondence, funeral detail, etc. This new total number of points is then divided by 360 and ran through the 1/12th and 1/30th equation to determine retirement base pay percentage to the day.

    I do not know how RA determines or calculates retirement. For a start the RA soldier serves about three and a half months more to reach 20 years, or 7305 days accounting for leap years. Essentially my questions are how does RA calculate retirement for former reservists. Specifically, I have these questions you may be able to answer.

    1. To retire, will I have to serve to 7200 or 7305 points or reach some new date derived when I enter RA?

    2. How or will my reserve inactive duty points be counted?

    3. Does RA divide by 360, 365 or at all?

    These answers could make a considerable difference in my retirement and therefore weigh in heavily on my decision. Also if you know the reference document or URL, for your answers, please provide it.

    As a footnote, AGRs must have 20 good qualifying calendar years before being eligible for retirement. so they cant dio out at 19 yrs 8 1/2 months. Most AGRs already have 20 good years of service well before their 7200 points because before AGR they were a weekender.

    Thank you

  135. Amy Blackford says

    I really enjoyed your article but wish for further expanding on the importance of the AYE and transition. You touched on it when you spoke of your IRR time. I am getting closer to twenty years of service and was going over my points. I transitioned once from Reserves to Active Duty and 5 years later back to the Reserves. My AYE is in February but I transferred before a complete year thus not achieving my 15 points for a good Reserve year. When I transferred back I left at 282 days of active duty in my AYE, and again not enough time in that AYE as a Reservist to qualify as a good year, even though in either case there was no break in service. I went straight from one branch to the other but due to how they calculate the points separately I have lost a year of “good” service. Wish I had known that prior to those transitions I may have been able to get the Retention people to coordinate my transition on the anniversary date to gain complete years in either duty status.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Amy, Thank you for contacting me. I strongly recommend sitting down with someone from your HR or personnel unit to do a full points review. Be sure to bring copies of all your paperwork showing your dates of service, including DD Form 214, your Points statements from your Guard or Reserve service time, and the dates of service for each period of military service. If there was no break in service, your years likely count as a Good Year.

      My specific situation was this: I served six months on active duty, then transitioned into the IRR. Members receive 15 Points for serving in the IRR. Without any additional points, they would fall short of a Good Year. But my 180 Points from the six months of service, added to my 15 Points from the IRR was enough to qualify for a Good Year.

      It is very possible that you would qualify under similar circumstances when you transitioned from Reserve to Active and back. As long as you had enough Reserve Points and Active Duty Points to combine to equal a Good Year. The big issue comes when changing services, as the different military branches don’t use the same system for tracking service. You need to have your service dates manually added to your records to ensure you receive proper credit for them.

      So please, take the time to gather all of your paperwork and schedule an appointment with your HR or personnel section. They can help you review your paperwork and ensure you get proper credit for all your service time and for the correct number of Good Years.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  136. Sher says

    What is the difference between AT and ADT?

    Can AT days be used to calculate Basic Active Service computation when servicemember switch from Guard to active duty?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sher, Thank you for contacting me. AT days are Annual Training days. That is the “two weeks a year” that is part of the Guard / Reserve service commitment. ADT days are Active Duty for Training. These occur when you are activated for training, such as attending a technical training school, or being activated for training ahead of a deployment.

      All of your Guard or Reserve Points should be calculated when you make the transition from the Reserve Component (Guard or Reserves) to active duty service. Your AT days should count toward your service computation. But it’s always a good idea to sit down with an HR or personnel section specialist to ensure your Points are calculated correctly.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  137. Renee Moore says

    Great article! Can you help clear something up for me that I’ve never fully grasped? Imagine you earn 100 points per year for 10 years in the Reserves, this is equivalent (points wise) to earning the minimum of 50 points per year for 20 years. If the retirement ‘goal’ is 20 ‘good’ years, isn’t 100 points/yr for 10 years enough to retire?

    And, follow up, if you MUST do 20 actual years, what is the benefit of earning more than the minimum 50 points/yr?


    • Vince says

      20 good years is the bottom line requirement regardless of overall points. For example, you could apply 20 good years at 50 points per year and retire with 1000 points. You cannot do three years of active service and acquire 1095 points and that meet the retirement requirements. Just like 10 years at 100 points won’t either. You have to do the 20 before any of the other math can really be a factor.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jonathan, Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you. This isn’t something I’ve come across. I recommend contacting your human resources, personnel, or finance department. They should be able to review your records and give you a definitive answer.

  138. Brendan says

    Is there a mechanism to combine points from your partial years to have them count towards retirement years (i.e. – in your example your 15 pt year when you got off A/D and stayed in IRR, could you take some pts from a different year, or petition to have that year “count as a year towards retirement?)

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Brendan, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, there is no method for combining points to make a Good Year. All points for a Good Year must fall within the same year.

  139. SALLY says

    I have 3 yrs & 4 mo. of active duty time & then I have 15 yrs. & 11 mo. national guard time. what does that consist of if I want to finish in the guard to get my 20 good years. meaning how many more guard years do I need to complete.
    thanx in advance 🙂

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sally, Thank you for contacting me. It isn’t possible to answer your question based on the provided information.

      The best thing to do is visit your personnel section or human resources office. They should be able to help you pull your records and show you how to review your total number of points and Good Years. For example, it is possible to make it through a year of service without qualifying for a Good Year. We also don’t know if you went directly from active duty to the Guard. It could be possible that you have 20 Good Years, or you could be well below that. The only way to know for certain is to do a full records review.

      Once you have 20 Good Years, you should receive a retirement eligibility letter from the Guard, letting you know you are eligible to retire.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  140. Michael Crean says

    Love the way you articulated this, Ryan. Very clear examples and quite helpful. On point of clarity: In the case of an individual that makes 20+ good years, and then is transferred to the IRR until age 60, they continue to accumulate years of service for pay purposes. Likewise, the 15 points earned per year while a “grey area retiree” do not make additional good years, but the points are added to total points for calculating retirement. Is that your understanding?

    In my case, I retired after 24 years in the reserves in 1999 and have accumulated 15 points a year for 18 years. That adds another 270 points to my total points for retirement, yet it has no effect on my “good years” tally. Likewise, my years of service for pay calculation purposes would be maxed out as the 18 years of IRR are added to my total served of 24. My pay would thus be calculated on 42 years of service.

  141. Golden says

    Hi Ryan,

    Is the maximum allowed IDT points (130) for Fiscal year? Or the Anniversary Year Ending (AYE) date?


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Otmar, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, I believe they did, though I’m not sure how it has evolved over the years. In general, one needs 20 good years of service in order to qualify for a Reserve pension. So you would have earned points, but they would not count toward a military pension unless you served the full 20 qualifying years.

  142. Chris says

    This is a great article! I do have one question that I didn’t see addressed here:

    I’m in the Air Force Reserve and reach 20 years this year. I’m planning to stay until I make MSgt, but I’m wondering how long I have to wear it to retire at that rank.

  143. A DeAnda says

    Thank you for this article, very informative and helpful.
    I have 756 points according to my points detail online. I am out of the Army Reserves and served over seas active duty for a year.

    I don’t plan on re-enlisting as I have a civilian job now and growing family.
    Is there anything these points can be used toward besides retirement? I just want to make sure I am not missing out on any benefit otherwise. I did just get my COE for the VA home loan which I’m excited to use. But wanted to clarify if the points can be used for anything else? I know I don’t have much compared to others who are retiring just thought I’d double check.

    Thank you.

  144. Caesar says

    My question I retired in 2010 with 29.5 years of service overall 25 good years. I’m planning on retiring from civilian federal service with 20 years . I was thinking of buying back five years of active duty(1981-1988) and applying it towards my civilian service . That would leave 20 good years, can I still still draw retired pay based on my 20 good years and additional points that didn’t make a good year. I’m currently 55.5 years old.

  145. Vinny Chase says

    For clarification. Army National Guard members can still take ACCP for retirement points correct? Thanks!

  146. Tom D. says


    I received my 20 year letter from the Army National Guard in December 2010, and was transferred to the Retired Reserve. I also have received a document from HRC which shows total retirement points at 6895. My first question is: Since I have received the 20 year letter, if for some reason the Army Guard made a mathematical error when totaling points, or omitting my IRR such as Delayed Entry Program or other IRR time, along with the following service: Active duty years with USMC (12 years 9 months), Regular Army (2 years 1 month), and National Guard (1 year 2 months title 10) and (4 years 2 months drilling reserve), can my 20 year letter be revoked based on their errors, as long as any error is through no fault of my own? Second question: My last combat tour was with the ARNG from January 2008 to February 2009, will that deployment qualify me for receipt of gray area retirement prior to reaching age 60? Thanks so much for your time and effort. Respectfully, Tom D.

  147. Mary M says

    I am having difficulty understanding how my retirement pay will be calculated. When my total career is complete I will have completed 21 years of active duty and roughly 13 years of reserve time. How will my retirement be calculated?!

    Sadly, I have yet to have a finance office on post be able to explain this to me and I have not found a calculator online that can figure this for me.

    any idea?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mary, Thank you for contacting me. If you have over 21 years of active duty, you may be able to receive an active duty retirement, but I’m not positive. If you are able to receive an active duty retirement, then you would receive the active duty retirement based on your total years of service. Your Reserve Points would be converted to active duty service by dividing your total number of points by 360. (The military uses a standard 30 points for a month of service, so 360 points equals a year when converting points to active duty service).

      If you are unable to retire with an active duty retirement, then your retirement would simply be based on points. Take your total number of points and divide by 360. That will equal your years of service. That total will be used as your retirement multiple in the Final Pay or High 3 retirement system (whichever you are eligible for).

      I would go to your personnel or HR department and inquire about your retirement eligibility. An Active duty retirement is more valuable because it is immediate, you don’t have to wait until age 60. If you are already age 60 or about to reach age, then I’m not sure if there is a big difference between the two. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  148. William Presley Burch says

    I am trying to get my COE, but they are requesting a points statement.

    I have some of my statements ( about 4 1/2 years) and have just

    received my pay records from DFAS recently, but need to be converted

    to a points statement. They have been sent to Army Human Resources Command, but they are saying 60 to 90 days

    I have a VA loan closing on April 7th 2017, I am scared i’m going to loose my home.

    Is there another place that I can get a points statement created? perhaps in Florida? My unit has since been closed down

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello William, Thank you for contacting me. Here is an article that explains VA Loan eligibility for Guard and Reserves.

      Here are the highlights:

      – Served at least 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime.
      – Served at least 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime.
      – Completed six years of in-service time with their Guard or Reserve Unit (These must be “Good Years” to qualify).

      If any of those apply to you, then you shouldn’t need a point summary. The only reason I can think they need the Point Summary is for you to prove you have 6 Good Years of Service. I don’t know of another way to get a copy of your Points Summary other than the Army HRC if your unit is no longer active. I would call the VA to ask if there is another method, or try calling the Army HRC and explain the situation to see if they can pull your records and provide a Point Summary.

      I wish you the best with your house, and thank you for your service!

  149. Troy P says

    Hello Ryan,
    Is there any truth that a Guard/Reserve member can qualify for an “active duty” retirement by accumulating a total of 7,000 points?

  150. Sean Mills says

    I have been in the guard for about 11 years, and am just starting the process of being separated due to a permanent disability incurred on deployment. I am told that to qualify for medical retirement I have to have “eight years of active-duty service, or equivalent Guard/Reserve retirement points.” Can you confirm that that is correct information, and what “equivalent Guard/Reserve retirement points” means? Is that otherwise stated as 8 good years?

  151. Buzzy says

    Very informative. I need help calculating. I have a chronological stmt of retirement points: total points, 2660, Army Reserve, 26 yrs & 9 months, 10/79-8/06, discharge not retired reserve, E6. All my years are good years. I will be 60 yrs old in 2021. Because I started in 1979, my retirement will be the Final Basic Pay system. My points include a tour in Iraq from ’04-’06. Can you help me figure out my monthly retirement pay? None of the online calculators seem to apply for my situation. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Buzzy, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not sure how your situation is that different, other than being in the Final Pay retirement system. (unless I’m missing something).

      Your Reserve retirement pay should be based on the number of points and the base pay for an E6 when you reach age 60. This article explains how to calculate a Reserve Pension.

      Here is a brief overview: Take your total number of days served, and divide by 360, then multiply that by 2.5%. In your case, you have 2,660 points. Divide that by 360, then multiply by 2.5%. You get (2,660/360) * 2.5% = 18.472%. Now multiply that by your pay base. (you won’t know the pay base until the 2021 pay scales have been released. But you can use the current pay scales to give you an estimate based on today’s dollars).

      DFAS also has basic retirement calculator. This should give you a ballpark idea of your future retirement pay. But again, it’s impossible to know with any certainty since the 2021 pay scales haven’t been released.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

      • Buzzy says

        Thank you for helping figure out my retirement calculations. I have another question but this time, it’s about the Statement of Retirement Points. All my points are showing. I have all good years. But some rows have an incorrect total in the last column for total points creditable. For example, one year has: inactive duty points: 52, membership points: 15, active duty points: 15. Those numbers add up to 82 total points but the statement instead shows 75 total points. Can you help explain this? No major event happened that year. Is it ok for the math to be off?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Buzzy, Happy to help. Some years had a limit on the number of Points one could earn in any given year. Double check which years were limited to 75 Points and see if they correspond with the following table:

        – Reserve year ends on or after 30 Oct 2007: max of 130 Points
        – Reserve year ends on or after 29 Oct 2000: max of 90 Points
        – Reserve year ends on or after 23 Sep 1996: max of 75 Points
        – Before 23 Sep 1996: max of 60 Points

        These limits apply across all branches of the military.

      • Buzzy says

        Thanks for the points info. It looks like the limit on points is not an issue. Maybe the math is just wrong? Is there any other reasons why points would be subtracted? I’ve submitted a LES request with DFAS. It will take 2 months to come in.

  152. Angela says

    Thank you for the great article, Ryan ! I too have a question that I cannot find the answer to anywhere and would appreciate your help. I am currently an AR officer with prior enlistment. I have my 20 year letter with 15 years enlisted and currently with 7 officer years, but 1 of those years I did not get enough points for a good year. Do I need 8 GOOD years to retire as an officer or just 8 years total to retire as an officer ? Thanks so much, Angela

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Angela, My understanding is you need 10 Good Years as an Officer to be eligible to retire as an officer, but that can be waived down to 8 Good Years (through 2018, unless it is extended). There may be other requirements to retire in grade. I would run this by your personnel or human resources section to verify this. You don’t want to make a mistake as it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement. This article covers this topic in more detail.

  153. Mike says

    Ok, I have scoured the internet looking for any information I can get that relates to my situation and this forum is the closest I’ve been able to find. Hopefully I can ask this question properly.

    I joined the guard in January 1994, 23 years ago. In May 1999 I started active guard (AGR, title 32) which this May will be 19 years. Ok, with that I am now being med boarded for a disqualifying issue.

    My question is with that how is my time calculated? Do I lose my guard time?
    By the points and the med board goes to 31 August, I will have 6931 active duty points and 7271 guard retirement points.

  154. Tony says

    Great information Ryan, just have one small question to verify if I understand everything read so far..Im currently on active duty will have 18 active duty years in Oct.I served in the National Guard from 97-99. I have 140 AD Points, 283 career Points/283 total retirement points. Could I possible retire and start receiving active duty retirement for 20 years before actually completing 2 more active years?

  155. GLENN SMITH says

    Following my 12 yrs 10 mth 21 days on active duty, I Palace Chased into the the ANG and also was employed by the USPS full time for 12 years 10 mths. If a veteran can reinvest active duty time from the military why can it not work the opposite direction and be able to combine civil servant time to reserve time to add to the number of active years for reserve retirement? Especially if both these times were accomplished at the same time. Only one check would then have to be cut.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Great question, Glenn. We have an article on buying back military time for a civil service retirement. I believe this feature was created as a way to entice military veterans to continue serving in the government, as well as reward them for their military service. This is especially valuable for technicians and others who continue serving in the Guard or Reserves while working in the civil service. But I don’t think the intention was to ever completely combine the two retirement systems. There would need to be a lot of research to determine an equitable formula to accurately and fairly transfer service, then determine which pot of money the combined retirements would come from – DoD, or civil service (not to mention retiree health care and other retiree benefits). I don’t have the official answer to these questions other than to say that it hasn’t been written into law, therefore, the option doesn’t exist. I hope this is helpful.

  156. Larry Hardy says

    I was in the us navy and join active duty in 1989 and went reserve in 1996. I was in and out of the regular reserve and the IRR and went almost 5 years without completing courses. I was contacted by a IRR counselor. He said because I only had 3 years before I reach 20 good years, if I could prove myself, they would allow me the 2 year extension. I complete a good year but was still denied the extension and is one year and 10 months from a 20 year retirement. I called but was told that the only thing I could do because I was off contact now was go VTU.That was untrue after going three years of speaking to a recruiter who was unfamiliar with the process and IRR counselors not willing to help. I know that it is to late for me. I am a E-5 over HYT but hope that others learn from this and complete the corresponding courses and don’t rely on the counselors rely on yourself and ask the questions before it to late. 4000 points down the drain on 2014.

  157. Denise says

    I was wondering if military awards (NDSM, etc, including NG service awards) are considered “point” worthy. I thought I heard long ago (1970’s) that they were….any idea if they are?

  158. Jeremy says


    I think I understand but could use some clarification.

    Background – I have 14.5 years active – joining the reserves now.

    So to figure out points I have NOW – it is 14.5×365 = 5292.5

    But to figure how many GOOD years I have, I take 5292.5/360 = 14.7 (essentially I gain 2 months for those extra 5 days each year on active duty, correct?)

    Also, once I reach 20 GOOD years, the years don’t matter for retirement calculation, correct? Theoretically, if I have 20 good years with 2600 points, or 52 good years with 2600 points, the retirement pay will be the same, right? (because it is based on points). Also, the current active duty pay scales are calculated on 2 year increments. You are saying there is a reserve pay scale that is based on day increments? So trying to jump to the next two year increase isn’t necessary?

    Finally, regarding the sanctuary – I’m very intrigued by this. I was told that if I am activated while a reservist – and have 20 good years (but only 15 AD year points), I can ask to retire (while activated) and that will get me an active duty retirement. After reading your link – me thinks he misunderstood the sanctuary law. In order to get a full active duty retirement, one needs 7200 points, correct? So putting in retirement paperwork ON active duty while being activated from reserves means nothing, correct? The sanctuary law only gets you to stay on active duty if you have 6480 points – right? I like that they try not to activate you if you are getting close. I am trying to avoid activation at all costs – so I’ll make a bee-line to 5760 points.

  159. Teddy says

    Thank you for your article and on the general basis it was informative. So I have a situation that involves me. I was on active duty in the Marines for 4 years, IRR for 4 years. I had a break in service, of roughly 26 to 28 months. I came back in the Army Reserves after my break in service. When I came back in, the recruiter at the MEPS station stated that they have a formula that figures out PEBD (Pay Entry Base Dates). They had my PEBD for 960826 to a new PEBD of 980916. So the military states that I owe roughly $3K.
    My question is does the IRR time count toward total time of service?
    Also, is there any reference material that I can review to make sure that I am either paying my debt or being paid back to the amount that I was underpaid.

    Thank you very much for your help and future communication.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Teddy, Thank you for contacting me. Having a break in service can make pay and benefits a little complicated. Pay is the perfect example. The military pay systems isn’t designed to work with breaks in service. So the military used the Pay Entry Base Dates to calculate your total time in service (some branches use a different term for this – for example, the Air Force only uses “Pay Date”). Then it subtracts your total service days from the date you reenter military service. This serves as your new pay date. Here is a guide for creditable military service.

      Your IRR Time does count as Points toward your retirement at a rate of 15 Points per year. I’m not sure if it counts as creditable time in service.

      I suggest verifying your PEBD was calculated correctly when you joined the Army Reserves. Then speak with your finance or pay specialists to make sure they have the correct information. They should also help you be able to understand why you owe $3,000. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  160. Jason says

    I have 2 questions, hopefully someone will be able to clear this up for me. I have 14 years of active duty non guard related, and will have 6 years and 2 months normal guard time, so 50 points give or take a couple. 3 years of my avtive duty time I was deployed. Does any of my active duty time go towards early retirement time, or will I still have to wait until I turn 60 to collect retirement.

    Second question, if someone is medical discharged from the guard do they recieve medical retirement at age 60 or do they recieve starting the date of medical discharge?
    Also currently over 50% from the VA disabiltiy but less than 100%

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jason, Thank you for contacting me. The early retirement only applies to deployments of 90 days or more while you are serving in the Guard or Reserves (deployments must have occurred after Jan 28, 2008 to apply). Deployments on active duty, or before this time, do not count toward early retirement. It sounds like you would receive retirement pay at age 60, based on your email.

      I’m not 100% certain of the answer on your second question. I believe you must be medically retired to receive medical retirement pay. Medical retirement is different than a medical separation. The situation may be further complicated based on service in the Guard or Reserves, because your duty status at the time the medical condition occurred or worsened can impact the type of separation. This is beyond the scope of my knowledge, so I recommend speaking with a qualified veterans benefits counselor for an individual review of your medical and service records. They can help you better understand your specific situation and whether or not you are receiving the proper benefits based on your service time, disabilities, and medical separation. I hope this points you in the right direction, and I wish you the best!

  161. C.P says

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for providing information. I have couple of questions.
    (1) Are points for good year counted from October to September or January to December?
    (2) If a reservist serves for two contract terms (6+6 years of reserve plus 2 years of IIR = 14 years) and then work for other government organization, like DOT for full time for 9 years, would he get pension under these circumstance?

  162. Christopher Dion says

    I am an active duty member of the USAF. I began my service Sept 1990 with active duty Army for 3 yrs. I transitioned from active duty to National Guard and Reserve Aug 1993. In Nov 2001 I transferred from the Army National Guard and Reserve into the USAF Reserve wherein I was immediately activated until April 2003. From April 2003 until March 2004 I was in the process of returning to Active duty in the Air Force.
    Upon return to active duty my TAFMS date was set at 13 April 1999. I am now within 2.5 yrs of earning an active duty retirement.
    My question is do the yrs of weekend drills convert and count towards my retirement date or will they be utilized after I retire to increase my retirement percentage

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Christopher, Thank you for contacting me. Your TAFMS should already reflect your Drill Points. So they should already be reflected in your retirement date.

      It wouldn’t be a bad idea to go through your records and verify all Points are correctly accounted for. That way there won’t be any surprises once you file your retirement paperwork. I wish you the best during your transition, and thank you for your service!

  163. Javier Galindo says

    Hi Ryan,

    I am attempting to understand the math and trying to validate a point where I work to benefit a large group of people.

    I served 4 years active duty, U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq 03-04.


    How many years does a Reservist or Guardsman have to serve (honorably) to equal only “ONE” day of equivalent active duty regular Army. Also, if you have an answer are there any research articles or scientific studies done on this or a site that can be academically referenced on this?

    For example, does 15 years in the reserve or guard (Honorably) equal ONE day of active duty for those that went full time such as myself?

    If you are able to see my email hopefully I can pick your brain on this matter you seem to have a very good grasp on the math and how it works. Even if I can be guided in the right direction to understand this question.

  164. Robert J Conley says

    I was an Air Reserve Tech. for close to 28 years. Or they called us ART’s. We maintained the aircraft during the week civilian and trained Reservists on weekends. My problem is in 1993 the Reserves were cutting back so they started putting different shops together. My shop corrosion control and sheet metal shot.
    Soon after starting I was working in the metal shop my hands were crushed by a metal shear. Taking 18 months to return back to work my Commander hired some one else in my slot. Which was wrong since I was on sick leave the entire time. So anyway he had my medical records sent to Warner Robbins to be examined by military Drs. and they disqualified from me world wide duty. And then I lost my job. Now I have been on wage loss since 1995. I put a claim in for my hands and was turned down because they said that I was on civilian status at the time. I just filed a claim for PTSD and got 30% and part of it had to do with my hands. Now my question. Does the Air Force Reserve fall under the direction of the DOD?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robert, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Yes, the Air Force Reserves falls under the Department of Defense. However, there is a difference between civilian status (the Air Reserve Technician job) and military status. I believe disability compensation depends upon the status at the time of the injury.

      I’m not sure which direction your question is going, so I don’t have any specific advice regarding your situation, other than to consider speaking with a military lawyer or a civilian lawyer that specializes in military law. Another option would be to speak with a lawyer who specializes in disability law, workman’s comp and similar types of law.

      If you served for 28 years, you may qualify for a reserve retirement. You would need to double check your service dates to verify you have the minimum 20 good years of service. I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  165. Maria Parks says

    Hi, Ryan,
    Thank you for your informative article. I know that retirement pay is a hot topic these days. I’m getting ready to retire at the end of the year myself, and have a question, but something else I read in a comment sparked another one.
    1) I do not see retirement points in the ECI column on my PCARS for my 7 level upgrade training in my previous AFSC (3S0X1). I do see retirement points in the ECI column for my current AFSC. Does certain 7 level coursework count towards retirement points?
    2) Do any correspondence courses taken on the Air Force IT e-learning site count for retirement points? I saw a comment you made to another individual that indicated that the Army e-learning courses counted for retirement – something like 1 point for every 3 hours, or something.
    3) If these correspondence courses do count, how do I go about getting them added to my PCARS statement?

    Thanks! I am a point hound. My goal was to retire with 4000, but I am coming up short by about 150. I have over 100 correspondence courses I had to take for my AFSC (3D0X1), and if I can translate them into points, I might make my goal!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Maria, Thanks for reaching out. This is a great question, and one I don’t have a complete answer to. I did my best to cover all aspects of your question in the following article about earning more Retirement Points in the Guard / Reserves.

      I did my best to cover everything, and also expanded the topic to apply to members of other Reserve Components. So not all will apply to your situation. I hope you find this useful. I wish you the best as you gather your Points and get ready to enter into retirement from the Reserves!

  166. Kevin Sherlock says

    I was in the US Army Reserves from 7/1971 to 4/1977 with Honerable character of service. I applied for a VA loan and lender indicates need for a Point Statement covering 6 years of credible service. Who do I contact & how do I get this?
    Thanks so much!!

  167. Chris Delosada says

    I cannot locate are the ones when I was in the Army reserve that unit is no longer active they closed up shop it was located on the Presidio in San Francisco the 2611 US Army garrison so who do I write or contact to ask for the points QI left that unit in 1984 to go over to the national guard which was my lastQQI left that unit in 1984 to go to the national guard which was my last unit

  168. Gunner Kresse says

    I’m scouring through my AKO and I am trying to find my Retirement Point Credit Summary, and I cannot seem to find it anywhere. Is there a specific link or location where I can find it? Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gunner Kresse, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know. I’m an Air Force guy, and each branch has different personnel records. I recommend contacting your personnel office, or the closest installation to you. They should be able to guide you through the process. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  169. Devon says


    Thanks for the article and also for answering everyone’s questions. I enlisted in the Coast Guard reserves for and did a couple of stints on active duty (Title 10). Following my 6 years in the Coast Guard, I joined the Marine Corps(active duty). My question is what type of service in the reserves counts towards my active duty retirement? Everywhere I’ve looked, it’s pretty clear that the two involuntary recalls to active duty count 1:1, but I’ve read conflicting information on whether or not ADT, IADT, IDT time counts in recalculating my AFADBD. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Devon,

      Each point you have should count as 1 day on active duty. The most important thing to do is make sure the Marines have your Coast Guard records and have updated them accordingly. Make sure your total Reserve Points are reflected on a one for one basis on your active duty dates. I hope this helps.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Devon, Guard / Reserve Points should translate on a 1 to 1 basis. One Point in the Guard or Reserves = One Point on active duty. Just make sure your new branch of service has accurately translated your Point totals and they are showing properly on your personnel files. You want to make sure this is accurate now, as trying to update records later can be extremely difficult.

  170. Jeff Bendoski says

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you for the great information! One quick question – I have 24 good years so far. If I complete 50 points prior to my R/R 25th anniversary date, do I still need to stay until the R/R date for more money in retirement? In other words, if I get 50 points prior to my R/R date, will I lose money by retiring prior to my R/R date? Thanks in advance!

  171. Thomas Ramos says

    Hi, I’m just starting my service into the Army Reserve and I was wondering how one would be able to receive active retirement pay if they have years in the reserve? For example, my parents were both military but only my dad retired active and as such started receiving his retirement checks immediately. My mother on the other hand began active, though transferred to the reserves when she started having kids. She retired reserve and will only be payed once she turns 60. What ways are available to be take in order to receive pay and/or benefits immediately after retiring? Do most of my years in service have to be under active? Or does one only need to be active duty upon retiring?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Thomas, Thank you for contacting me. Military members must serve 20 years of active duty service on order to qualify for active duty retirement benefits (immediate vesting of retirement pay and health care benefits). Some members of the Guard or Reserves may serve several years in a Traditional Reserve status and later decide to transfer to active duty. If they do, then their Points will be converted to active duty time. They must still earn 20 full years of active duty time in order to qualify for military retirement benefits.

      There may be other situations, such as a medical retirement that happens if the members is injured or wounded while on active duty orders. But these would be case specific. Otherwise, members of the Guard and Reserve typically can only receive their retirement pay and benefits upon reaching age 60. There are some early retirement exceptions for retirement pay (pay only, not medical benefits) that is based on deployment days in support of a contingency. Here is more information about early retirement from the Guard or Reserves. I hope this is helpful.

      • David says

        I understand that 20 years of active duty service in order to qualify for active duty retirement benefits (immediate vesting of retirement pay and health care benefits). How are the 20 years of active duty service calculated if I am going from Active Duty, to reserves, then back to Active duty?
        I currently have 20 total years but would like to know how many additional active duty years I need to complete before I get that 20 years of active duty service to collect immediately. My current points totals break down as the following:
        Inactive duty points 316
        Membership points 240
        Active duty points 2621

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello David, Thank you for contacting me. Each Point in the Reserves counts as 1 day of active duty service. 360 Points is equivalent to 1 year of service (the DoD divides each month into 30 days for standardization purposes).

        Another thing you can do is visit your HR / personnel department and ask them for a total service computation date. They will be able to give you an estimated retirement fate. You definitely want to get his in writing because making an error can be a very expensive mistake. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  172. Anthony Stafford says

    Is there a specific amount of points or good years needed to qualify for veteran benefits?

    I was an ROTC GRADUATE contracted for 7 years from 1987-1993. I did 6 months ADT, AT each year and one weekend a month.

    How do I get those records?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Anthony, Thank you for contacting me. VA benefits vary by individual. You are most likely eligible for the VA Loan if you had 6 Good Years of service, and you may be eligible for other benefits. The best way to get an answer to the benefits you may be eligible to receive is to contact the VA and sit down with them for a benefits review. Here is an article that shows how to get copies of your military records. I hope this is helpful, and thank you for your service!

  173. Mike McNulty says

    Thanks for the discussion thread. One of your earlier answers recognized a distinction between “good years” and “years of service” in determining current pay.

    For the many among us, yourself included, affected by that phenomenon (i.e., due to breaks in service, etc.), which one of those two quotients (“good years” or “years of service”) will ultimately be the one used to determine the base amount upon which the pension amount will be calculated?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike, Thanks for contacting me. You need 20 Good Years to qualify for retirement. After that, your retirement pay is based on several factors, including the number of points you have earned, our High-3 pay grade (High 3 applies to most people in today’s environment, but it could be final pay, or REDUX, depending on the situation), and whether you retire awaiting pay, or resign upon reaching retirement eligibility. I recommend reading the following article for a better understanding of the Guard / Reserve retirement system and how the retirement pay works. This should answer your questions.

      • Mike McNulty says

        I appreciate the response; however, I’m afraid that I might not have been detailed enough about my own specific situation (unlike others on this discussion thread), in part because the thread appears to be geared toward readers in general.

        As a retiree, I’m quite familiar with accumulating retirement points; but please indulge me while I elaborate …

        I spent several years (approximately 7.5) on active duty from 1985-1993, topping out at O-3; then left active duty in 1993 to join the National Guard as an “M-DAY” Warrant Officer, earning another 12 “good years” over the next 18 years. I retired upon receiving a “20 Year Letter” in 2011, at age 48.

        When I retired, my pay rate was “W-3 over 26” years. My question pertains specifically to whether someone in my circumstance would receive, or should seek, a pension based on the O-3 or the W-3 grade, because believe it or not, the choice is not always clear cut.

        To illustrate, the military basic pay chart indicates that “O-3 over 20” pays more than “W-3 over 20” years; while “W-3 over 26” pays more than “O-3 over 26” years. The difference is small, but the table clearly shows that the basic pay “lines” for the O-3 and W-3 grades “cross” at 26 years.

        With that said, which one of the retirement options described above would be applicable to someone in my circumstance? Furthermore, would someone in my circumstance even be able to choose the grade at which to retire in the first place?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hi Mike, Reserve retirement pay can be confusing. I don’t believe you will be able to choose your retirement pay grade – you need to serve a minimum of 10 years in the officer pay grade to be eligible to retire in the officer pay grade. Regarding the number of years your retirement pay is based upon – it still depends on whether you retire awaiting pay, or resign upon reaching retirement eligibility.

        If you resign when you reach retirement eligibility, the military can no longer call you back to duty. But you will retire based on the pay grade in effect at the time you retire. So if you resign from the Guard / Reserves in 2010 with 20 years of service, your retirement pay would be locked at your pay grade at 20 years of service at the 2010 pay rate, regardless of when you actually begin drawing retirement pay. (This is not the best way to go in most cases because your retirement pay gets locked in at old rates).

        If you retire awaiting pay, then your time in service continues to accrue until you reach age 60 and begin drawing retirement pay. You can actually accrue more time in service as it applies to your pay grade. The downside is technically, the military can call you back to duty (this is rare, however).

        Here is an example: If someone retires awaiting pay as a W-3 with 20 Good Years of service, they will continue to accrue time in service credits as it relates to their pay until they reach age 60 and begin drawing retirement pay, which will be based on the pay charts in effect when they reach age 60. Some pay grades cap out at 20 years, while other pay grades continue to accrue beyond 30 years. As long as you are retired awaiting pay, your service time continues to accrue.

        So in your case, I believe you would receive retirement pay based on the rate of W-3 at 26 years. This is tricky to explain, so I hope I have done a good job.

  174. Peter Hartman says

    Good article. I have a question about time in rank and good years. I have 25 good years. I was promoted to LTC on 19 June 2013 so I have three years as an LTC this June. I do not have a good year for 2016 and my REY date is 18 November. Is time in grade linked to a good year, or it is separate. In other words can I retire as a LTC without getting a good year for 2016?

    Thanks for any insight.

  175. Harlin Hickerson says

    Great job on the article, I can tell it has been extremely helpful to very many people. I am an Marine Officer who is currently in the IRR with an end date of Dec 12, 2016. I did 4 years active and one good year of reserve duty in 2013. My points towards reserve service reset on September 29. I am considering drilling again in the SMCR, but because of my MOS, I have to travel over 500 miles to get to the closest Marine Corps drilling station. I am trying to decide if it makes sense, other than the extra income from drill weekends, to start before Sept 2016? As of right now it seems that there is very little chance that I will be able to attain a good year before this Sept, please correct me if this is wrong or if somehow my reserve points accrual date would reset or count toward next year? Also, what happens after your IRR service is up and do you have any idea of how easy or difficult it is to move into a role with a different service and retain your rank/mos? Thank you, Harlin

    • K. C. says

      I would check with a Marine personnel officer and see if correspondence courses are an option to make this a good year for you. If the Marine Corps Reserve and Army Reserve are similar, you may be able to earn enough points by taking correspondence courses so that you end up with a good year.

      See my response to the question posed by Daren on April 6th above for how this may work for you.

  176. Norm Ruttan says

    Great article I have a few questions concerning my situation. Did active duty for 10 years, got out in 92 and I joined the NG in South carolina in 96, I was diagnosed with melanoma in 99 the NG discharged me unfit for duty but did not give me a medical discharge. When I got out in 92 I took SSB payment the VA is making me pay that amount back to them before I can receive my disability check again for the VA my question is after i pay this back to the VA will is still be able to get my retirement check from the government and collect my 40% for the VA. I know very confusing thanks for any help in this matter

  177. daren says

    I am contemplating getting out of active duty and going to the reserves with 10 years of active service. how long would it take for me to be eligible for retirement using the basic 1 weekend a month 2 weeks a year. and would I have to continue drilling or would I become inactive until I can apply for my 20 years good service retirement at age 60?
    thank you for your time

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Daren, Thank you for contacting me. It takes 20 years of qualifying service to earn a military retirement. This is the same for the Guard or Reserves. Your active duty time will count, so you would be able to transition to the Reserves with 10 years of qualifying service. You would then need to complete a minimum of 10 more years to earn retirement benefits.

      I recommend reading the following articles or listening to the accompanying podcasts for a better understanding of how this all fits together.

      Article / Podcast that discusses Joining the Guard or Reserves.
      Understanding Guard and Reserve Points & Retirement.
      National Guard and Reserves Retirement Benefits (Podcast).

      I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

      • K. C. says

        In the U.S. Army, one possibility with your 10 years active duty, would be to go into the IRR and serve another 10 years in the IRR. To get the 50 minimum points per year needed in order to retire at 20 years of service, you would need to take correspondence courses at a website like Army eLearning (SmartForce). Here’s how this would work.

        You need 50 points per year, and you automatically receive 15 membership points while in the Army Reserve (including the IRR). So you would then need to earn 35 retirement points for each year (50 – 15 = 35). Correspondence points are awarded at 1 retirement point for every 3 hours of courses taken. Therefore you would need to take 105 hours of correspondence courses each year (35 * 3 = 105) in order to have a good year. You then submit your correspondence course certificates or your ATRRS transcript that shows the courses you took to Human Resources Command. Using Army eLearning is usually the best way to do this since the correspondence courses automatically show up in ATRRS.

        Also, since you can earn up to 130 inactive duty points per year, you could greatly increase your retirement pension by taking even more correspondence courses. If you subtract the 15 automatic membership points from 130 inactive points, you then could earn an additional 115 points. So you could take 345 hours of correspondence courses (115 * 3 = 345). This will increase your retirement check by a fair amount if you did this for all 10 years (130 *10 = 1300 retirement points as opposed to 50 * 10 = 500 retirement points). Obviously this takes some time and diligence to complete.

        You can keep earning points either way shown above until you receive your 20 year letter. If you wanted to continue doing this beyond 20 good years, you can, but you MUST earn a minimum of 50 points per year otherwise you will be retired by HRC. You could keep doing this until you reach your mandatory retirement date or age 60 (whichever comes first).

        If you don’t enjoy going to drills (Battle Assemblies, or you cannot easily work the weekends or Annual Training into your schedule this may be the way to go. Retiring this way is not publicized, but it does help those people who still want to keep serving. The biggest drawback to this system is that you do not receive any pay. You will still have to have an annual Periodic Health Assessment (PHA). You will still have an ID Card (but not a CAC), and you can still use the commissary stores. Just like all Reserve personnel, you could still be called up to Active Duty/mobilized.

        When you do decide to retire, make sure you go into the Retired Reserves and are not Discharged. The pension you receive when you go into the Retired Reserves is based on the salary for your rank on your retirement date. The pension for those who have been Discharged is based on the salary on the date you are discharged. This could be a significant difference in pay depending on how long between your retirement date and the date you start to receive your Reserve pension.

        Personnel who are attending drills can also take advantage of correspondence courses to increase their retirement in the same way. Using the 48 drills and 15 membership points Ryan discussed above, most Reserve personnel could earn another 67 points (130 – 63 = 67) each year. This would entail taking 201 hours of correspondence courses each year (67 * 3 =201). Earning an extra 67 points per year for 20 years would give you 1,340 additional retirement points. That is roughly an extra 17 years worth of points (1340 / 78 = 17).

      • Ryan Guina says

        Great advice, K.C. The IRR can be a good way to earn a retirement. That said, I recommend IRR members keep an ear to the ground regarding policy and availability of courses. Eddie Wills from from GubMints.com wrote an article about how earning sufficient points in the Navy IRR is becoming increasingly more difficult (unless you are a DoD employee who already has a Common Access Card). Serving in the Navy IRR also makes it more difficult to track retirement points and take other administrative actions, again unless you already have a CAC Card.

        There are several reasons, including fewer accepted correspondence courses, the difficulty in signing up for the courses without a CAC card, not being able to access certain websites or systems without a CAC card, etc. These articles apply to the Navy IRR, but as we all know, changes in the military can happen at a moment’s notice. So keep your eyes open and have a backup plan!

      • K.C. says

        My advice for Army personnel and correspondence courses above is no longer valid. As of April 14, 2016 the correspondence course option has been removed. Unfortunately I was unaware of the change when I posted the info above. Word is just filtering out about this huge change for Army Soldiers.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello K.C., Thank you for sharing this information. Apparently it’s becoming more difficult for members of the Navy Reserves to be able to take correspondence courses. My advice for most people would be to stay in as long as possible in order to earn Good Years. Thanks for sharing, and thank you for your service!

  178. Eric B says

    Hi Ryan, I just have a quick question. I signed a 6 year contract for the National Guard. If I have a bad year, can I still finish my 6 year contract and not have to make anything up? I am completely new to the National Guard, just finished Active Duty. By the way, this article was very helpful!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Eric, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not 100% certain how this works. If you do the minimum one weekend a month, two weeks a year, then you will meet the requirement to get a Good Year. Some units are very flexible and allow members to make up a weekend if they have to miss one. And some units don’t require members to do the full two weeks (they will often reallocate those days to other members in the unit if they can). On the other hand, some units are very strict with their dates and they require members to make all scheduled drills. And the two weeks of training may be held as a unit exercise in which attendance is mandatory.

      The best I can tell you is to ask around in your unit to find out how they handle weekend drills and the two weeks of annual training. Someone in your unit should be able to how you the unit policies on missed days and annual training. If you know you will have to miss some time, try to serve those days in advance, or make them up after the fact.

  179. Brandon says

    Very informative article! You mentioned that 7300 points doesn’t necessarily qualify for an immediate pension unless the member was over 18 years and finished out their service in sanctuary. Please weigh in on my specific situation. I’ve been Active Duty Air Force for 18.5 years and am contemplating joining the Reserves. A couple of units have offered me a TR position and I have a pretty good shot at an AGR slot too. I already know that an AGR position would put me over 20 years and definitely qualify for an immediate pension as soon as I decide to actually retire. But, I’m also considering taking a TR position with the intent of being on Title 10 active orders for at least another couple of years. They mentioned that I may be required to waive sanctuary though. While I understand that they would not be obligated to have me on continuous orders, their intent would be to use me in a full time capacity. My career field (RPA) has been undermanned for a very long time and the mission only keeps getting bigger. I know there is no guarantee that man-day money won’t dry up, but it is not very likely for the foreseeable future in our career field. All that being said, if I cross over to the Reserves with 18.5 years of Active Duty, take a TR position, sign a sanctuary waiver, but still get put on enough active orders to equal at least 1.5 years full time…will I qualify for an immediate pension if I decide to retire in the next few years? Thanks, Brandon

  180. Armando Castellanos says


    Thank you SO MUCH for the article, but I have a unique situation that I cannot find the answer to anywhere. I served 7 years in the CA National Guard (563 total career points and 556 total puts for retirement). I will be retiring from the U.S. Navy (20 years active duty) this summer. Can my National Guard points count towards an extra year of Active Duty retirement (21 years vice 20 years)? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Armando, thanks for your comment. Yes, your CA National Guard Points should count toward your retirement. You will need to get an official statement of your service in the Guard to make sure the Navy personnel department accurately credits you for your time served.Schedule an appointment with your personnel section and ask them exactly what you need to do to ensure you receive accurate credit for the Points you have already earned. Best of luck with your retirement, and thank you for your service!

  181. Gene says

    Hi Ryan,

    Great article, but now I’m am very concerned. Here is my situation.

    I joined the national guard in 1997, had a long break in service and then came back in 2010. I’ve served 6 years and signed an extension with the understanding I would be able to retire when I hit 60.

    Here is my problem. Based on what your article says, I may have either have been led in the wrong direction.

    My N.G.B 23 say’s I have 6.5 good years. In April of 2016, It will increase to 7.5.
    I’m 51 years old. Based on your article, I will only have 16.5 by 60 assuming each subsequent year forward is a “good year”.

    The information I received was that I could make up those years with additional points, but I’m now certain that is not correct.

    What is our advise?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gene, Thank you for your comment. I’m not aware of any way to make up “Good Years” by earning additional Points. You can earn additional Points in a variety of ways, but they only serve to increase the value of your retirement. They won’t earn you more Good Years. My recommendation is to sit down with your personnel section or retention office and determine your total number of Good Years, and how many you can earn by age 60. There are sometimes waivers that can take you past age 60, but they are rare, and are usually reserved for special circumstances, such as those in elevated ranks, or those who are in certain hard to fill career fields. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

      • Tia says

        My husband is in this situation he hits his mandatory retirement date and has 20 yrs in. He went into the IRR for 5 years so he is forced to “retire” at age 60 but doesn’t have enough points to earn a retirement. Only way he could get an extension to stay in is if he had a medical license (doc, nurse, dentist)

  182. Andrew says

    Hi Ryan,

    By far one of the more thorough explanations of the Retirement Pay Calculations I have run across. Great Job.

    I am an active member of the Air National Guard. One of my additional duties is Unit Career Adviser or UCA. The UCA program has been dormant at my base since I enlisted, around 10 years. Now there is a huge push to make it relevant for sustainment planning and also to provide squadrons with more info on benefits.

    I figured a good start would be a briefing what is my “Retirement Worth”. I’d say the majority of people say they want to stay for 20, but I do not know if a single one could tell me what they are getting at the end of the day. I am going to break this into chunks like pay, medical, etc…

    Your blog “Understanding Guard and Reserve Points – How to Earn Points, and How they Affect Your Retirement” is great. I am trying to make sure I understand it all… however there is one place I am really confused. That is the multiplier for Guard/Reserve types. I’ve seen random numbers thrown out, but nothing concrete on how commenters/bloggers are getting to them. I have settled on following the advise of this page:


    I made some revisions to the numbers since his appears to be dated, but get lost at the multiplier of .025. Can you please explain how I’d find what this is and why? I would like to be able to defend my numbers, even though they are so very different depending on the airmen I am talking to. Eventually I will make a spreadsheet calculator that will be easier to use, and allow people to add their own variables.

    My current assumptions and Math looks like this

    Join Guard Enlisted Ranks, and retire as an E-7
    Member was born 1985
    Life Expectancy is 77 years
    Minimum Point Totals accrued during 20 year career. (78 per year)
    15 for Annual Participation
    48 for Monthly Drill
    15 for Annual Training

    Putting it together:
    E7 Pay w/ 20 Years service = $4,415.40
    Days Served = Days Served in Guard x Years of Service
    (24 Drill Periods + 14 TDYs) x 20
    38×20 = 760
    Point System = Points Earned x Years Served
    78 Points x 20 Years = 1560
    1560 points/365 Days = 4.27
    4.27 x .025 = .10675
    .10675 x 4,415.40 = 471.34 per month
    471.34 x 12 = $5656.13 per year
    5656.13 x 17 = $96,154.17 lifetime
    96154.17/760 – $126.51 per day of active service…

    I realize this is long… I’d appreciate anything you can provide me, but I do realize you are busy too.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Andrew, I just realized I never answered this question – “I made some revisions to the numbers since his appears to be dated, but get lost at the multiplier of .025. Can you please explain how I’d find what this is and why?”

      The 0.025 multiplier is the same multiplier that is used for the active duty High-3 retirement system, which uses the average of your highest 3 years of base pay for the base pay multiplier. This generally reduces the payout by a small amount.

      Of note:

      Your calculation is made in today’s dollars. Military retirement pay is inflation adjusted, so it should keep up with inflation (more or less). But overall, this is a good rough approximation for retirement pay. Just don’t forget to mention other retirement benefits such as medical care, base access and amenities, Space-A flights, and much more.

      Also, when converting Points to years served, you divide by 360 for a year, not 365. This is because the DoD standardizes a month at 30 days to make payments equal (one day of pay is worth 1/30th of a month’s base pay, regardless of whether there are 28, 30, or 31 days in a month).

      So you divide your 1560 points by 360 to get (1560/360 = 4.333). Multiply this by 0.25% and you get .10833. Multiply this by your base pay of $4,415.40 and you get $478.33. So it’s a little more than your original calculation.

      Overall, this is a good starting point when used to illustrate retirement benefits. Member entering or nearing retirement should have an official estimate run by DFAS and they should double check their Points to ensure nothing is missing. Thanks for sharing your work!

  183. Jeff says

    Hello Ryan. Great insight into Reserve retirements. My situation may be unique, but just in case other reservists out there are eligible for an immediate active duty retirement, I’ll ask the question. I understand that Reservists who’ve earned at least 7200 retirement points by their last day of reserve duty, become eligible for an immediate active duty retirement. If so, will they immediately receive retirement pay for BOTH the accumulated active duty points AND the inactive duty points, or must they wait through the “grey area” for the inactive duty points?

    • Rod says

      In regards to the above question, does accumulating 7300 total points of inactive duty points and active duty time and over 20 satisfactory years warrant an Active Duty retirement right away or does the member still collect at age 60?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Rod, Thank you for contacting me. Simply accumulating 7300 points isn’t enough to qualify for an active duty pension. Unless the Reservist falls under “sanctuary” they most likely qualify for the Reserve retirement system.

        Sanctuary is a little known law that requires the service to allow members of the Guard or Reserve to earn an active duty pension if they are activated on orders of 30 days or longer (this does not count drill days or AT days) when they cross the 18-year mark in service. Then they receive a new set of orders that allows them to remain on active duty until they reach their 20-year mark. Here is an article that explains this in more detail.

  184. Dave says


    When estimating the monthly retirement using your example, would you receive 25% of your base pay according to the pay scale for whatever rank you are, but at 10 years of service (since your points/360 = 10 years; or is it whatever rank at 20 years since you had 20 “good years”)?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dave, Thank you for contacting me. I would have 20 “good years” which is what I would need to be eligible to retire. But I would have approximately 3,600 points, which would be the equivalent of 10 full years on active duty. So if you were to equate a full year of service to 2.5% of your base pay, that would equal 25% (10 * 2.5% = 25%). So I can assume I would earn roughly 25% of my Pay Base when I retire.

      I will retire under the High 3 retirement system, so the Pay Base is determined by taking the average of my 3 highest years of pay. The Pay Base would be the final rank for most Guard/Reserve retirees.

      This is all back of the envelope math. The Reserves publishes a Point Value Chart, which you should be able to use to get a very close estimate of the value of your Points.

      Please let me know if I didn’t explain this well, or if I could explain it in a different manner.

      • Dave says


        I appreciate the information. I have been searching the internet looking for something to explain the reserve retirement system, to which I was surprised to find very generic information that didn’t really truly explain the retirement.

        I want to thank you for putting together this article and others to explain the system. I look forward to listening to your podcasts and reading your other article in the near future.

        I do have one additional question…when looking at the pay chart there are two labels, one for rank down the left column and one for years of service across the top row. How is your pay determine regarding years of service?

        Example, I have six years of active duty as a SSgt. So when I join (presuming I get to keep my rank) would I receive E-5 pay at the “over 6 years” rate? Then after two years of being in the reserves I would receive E-5 pay at the “over 8 years” rate?

        In order to get step increases for years of service, does it matter if the years are “good years” vs “bad years”?

        Using your example/math of having 6.5 years of active duty and 13 “good years” of reserve, would you receive 25% at E-5 (presuming you do not promote) at the “over 20 years” rate or at the 10 year rate (10 years was determined by your total number of points/by 360)?



      • Ryan Guina says

        My pleasure, Dave. To answer some of your questions – Guard and Reserve pay is determined the same way as active duty pay – your pay grade and your years of service. You do not discount your years of service, simply because you don’t have 360 points for each year you served.

        I had 6.5 years on active duty, but when I joined the ANG, I was surprised to learn that I was receiving pay for an E-5 at 8 years of service. This is because most servicemembers initially sign an 8 year contract, with the remaining time on the IRR. That IRR time can actually count toward your pay date. So if you go back in the service, you may find that you are receiving pay at 8 years (if you served 2 years in the IRR). If that is the case, then you would receive the 10 year time in service rate after being on duty for 2 more years. I believe your time in service increases for each year you are in the Guard/Reserves, even if it isn’t a Good Year, in terms of points earned.

  185. Phillip says

    Thanks for the simple and clear explanation. I was following until I got to this line

    “Based on this estimate, I can take the 10 years and multiply that by 2.5% and come up with a pension that would be worth roughly 25% of an active duty pension, based on my pay grade and years of service at retirement.”

    Where did come up with the 2.5% and what did you do to get 25% of the active duty pension?

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Phillip, this was a personal estimate based on the number of Points I have earned, and what I project to earn if I do the minimum participation through 20 good years of service. 2.5% is the multiplier used for active duty retirement calculations. Each year of service is worth 2.5% of your base pay (20 years times 2.5% = 50% of base pay). Based on my projections, I should have roughly the equivalent of 10 years worth of Points. 10 years times 2.5% would be 25%. I should have written 25% of my base pay instead of 25% of an active duty pension.

  186. John H says

    In counting a good year. Say I serve 6 and 1/2 years on active duty. And then get out. Rejoin the reserves years later. Does that 1/2 year (with 180 points) count for anything, by itself or does it have to be combined with a 1/2 year of reserve time to make a complete year.

    • Ryan Guina says

      John, Thank you for contacting me. That should count as a good year if you transferred to the IRR, which would be the case for most initial contracts which are 8 years long. This is the exact situation I had – I served 6.5 years on active duty, then transferred to the IRR where I received 15 participation points. The second year on the IRR gave me 15 participation points, which was not enough to earn a good year, though I do keep those points for retirement purposes. I joined the Air National Guard after a long break in service.

      So if you signed an 8 year initial contract, served 6.5 years on active duty, then transferred to the IRR, you should have 7 good years. If you later join the Guard or Reserves, then you will begin accruing points and good years based on your new service date. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  187. Jon says

    Hi Ryan,

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple years now and I first wanted to say thank you. Being Active Duty, I feel like there’s a stigma with “getting out” of the military. You’ve made me see that’s it’s okay. My question for you is, by completing 20 (combined active & reserve) years, will the medical benefits still apply? Having a pension is great, but I want to be medically covered as well. Thanks in advance!



  188. Jim Gawne says

    Excellent article, with one small error. In your last paragraph you state “…pension that would be worth roughly 25% of an active duty pension…” What you should have said is that your retirement would be approximately 25% of your base pay at the time you file your application for transfer to the retired reserve.

    It is extremely important that once a Reservist or Guard member accumulates 20 qualifying years for retirement, he or she request their Notice of Eligibility for Retirement from the Reserve Components — also known as a “20 year letter.”

    Again, though, excellent article on a very difficult subject

    Jim Gawne
    MSG, USA (Ret)

    PS – I spent over 20 years as an Army National Guard Recruiting & Retention NCO

  189. Bill Blumberg says

    When I was the reservist to the Air Reserve Personnel Center Commander, we also used SATISFACTORY years. This went from October to October of each year. The definition was that you completed all your training requirements for the year. You could have a “good year” but not a satisfactory year because you failed at getting the annual tour or all of the drills. Did they do away with this requirement?

    Colonel (Ret) Bill Blumberg

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Bill, Yes, as I understand it, they still have “Satisfactory” years. Most units require personnel to attend all drills, or only miss a limited number before they are required to make them up. For example, a member might only be allowed to miss one drill weekend without making it up and still earn a “Sat” year. Any other absences would need to be made up at some point during the year. I believe it is up to the unit Commander to determine these rules.

  190. Robert Curran says

    I would like to know if there is a way to get a good year in years that I have missed a good year by a point or so. I am totally out of the Army now.I was in the Reserves and National guard for over twenty years but did not receive good years because of breaks in service and such.

    • K. C. says

      It really depends on how well your service was documented, if all of the documentation was forwarded/input into the retirement points system, and how well you have tracked your career as well as what documentation you have.

      Assuming you have a retirement points statement from when you were discharged, ask yourself the following questions while looking at the statement. If you don’t have a statement, you will need to get one from Human Resources Command (HRC) at Fort Knox and/or the National Guard Bureau for your state in order to make the determinations below.

      1.a. Do all of the drills (Battle Assemblies) that you attended show up on the statement (Inactive Duty Points)? If you are unsure, then you may need to look at your old LES documents to count up the number of drills you attended in each year (you did keep your LESs, right?). If you have 48 MUTAs showing up on the statement that is usually the maximum you could receive in a year.

      1. b. If you drilled only for points (not for pay) do those MUTAs show up. Some units hold lengthy training meetings in the evenings (like the Wednesday before drill weekend) that might fall into this category. Personnel in the IRR who attend Battle Assemblies might have some points in this category. In one year I have 64 MUTAs (48 paid and 16 unpaid).

      1.c. If you performed Rescheduled Training (RST) did your DA Form 1380s make it onto the retirement points statement (these should also show up on your LESs)?

      2.a. Did you take any Correspondence Courses (CCs) (Extension Course Points), and if so, do they show up. Remember you get 1 retirement point for every three hours of CCs that you took.

      2.b. If you were in the Inactive Ready Reserve and you were earning CCs, those CCs do count towards making a good year (50 points). You may need to contact Human Resources Command at Fort Knox in order to get them input into your personnel record. Other online training like Army eLearning (SmartForce), Defense Acquisition University, etc., also usually counts.

      3. Do you show 15 Membership Points for each full year of Reserve membership? You also might show less than 15 points in a year where you were not in the Reserves for the full year.

      4.a. Does all of your Active Duty time, to include Basic Training, AIT, Annual Training, and deployments/mobilizations (if any) show up on the statement? What about additional Active Duty time, such as a COMSEC Course or additional MOS training, PLDC, BNCOC, advance party, conferences, etc., show up.

      4.b. Did all of your Individual Active Duty Certificate of Performance (if any) make it into the retirement points system?

      5. Do you have any years that are not showing up correctly? Sometimes a retirement year gets split into multiple pieces on the retirement points statement. For instance I had one year that went from 1 May 1994 to 30 March 1995 and a second year that went from 31 March 1995 to 30 April 1995. It ended up not being a good year until HRC put both pieces of the year together.

      6. Did you perform any funeral honors duty (one point per day)? Was it documented and added to your total points?

      The more documentation you kept the easier this will all be. If you still come up short, you will probably need to reenlist for a period of time that is long enough to obtain enough good years. I hope this helps.

  191. Mike Feehan says


    Good article for most of the basic info, but there is one additional item you probably should mention. “Gray area” retirees were not mentioned, but there are, of course, many of us. And depending upon how long it has been since one ended active drilling status– and thus entered the “gray zone” while awaiting eligibility to actually begin receiving retired military pay (i.e. age 60) — there is an additional question that often comes up. The issue is directly related to your article here, and so probably ought to be given a few sentences to briefly explain. The question is this: when a Guardsman or Reservist “retires” from active drilling status and enters the “gray area” to await eligibility for receiving retiree pay at age 60, is the percentage of military pay he/she will eventually draw based on the pay scale at the time he/she “retired — i.e. ceased active (drilling) service, or is it based on the active duty pay rate at the time the service member reaches age 60 and begins receiving the payments? The correct answer (as I have been informed by HRMC at Fort Knox) is the latter. But many folks don’t know this, and the difference in the final amount can be large, since the gap gets bigger every year one spends waiting in the “gray zone”. Financial planning for retirees who will spend any time in the “gray area” should be done with this factor in mind.

    • K. C. says

      Actually, what your retirement pay will be set at is based on whether you went into the Retired Reserves or if you were Discharged after receiving your 20 year letter.

      If you went/go into the Retired Reserve, then your retired pay will be based on the Basic Pay on the date your retirement starts. In most cases this will be the Basic Pay in effect on the date you retire that currently serving personnel are receiving.

      If you have been discharged, your retirement pay will be based on the Basic Pay in effect on the date you were discharged. So if you were discharged in 1995, and you start receiving retired pay in 2020, your retired pay will be based on the pay scale back in 1995. It pays to go into the Retired Reserve. You lose the benefit of any pay increases when you are discharged.

      Search Google for the following document (use the quotes) for more details.

      “army reserve non-regular retirement information guide”

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