National Guard and Reserves Retirement Benefits Guide (Podcast 011)

Retired members of the Reserves and National Guard are eligible for many valuable benefits. They earn military retirement pay and health care benefits starting at age 60. Prior to that, they also have access to base facilities and shopping, Space-A travel, and more. This article and podcast shows you how to qualify for Guard and Reserve retirement benefits, how to calculate your Reserve retirement pay, and how to make the most of the valuable benefits you have earned.
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Table of Contents
  1. How to Qualify for Retirement from the Guard or Reserves
  2. The Importance of Reaching Age 60
  3. Earning Retirement Points
  4. Military Retirement Pension Plan Types
  5. Military Pensions are from Your Base Pay Only
  6. Calculating a National Guard or Reserve Pension
  7. Your Guard and Reserve Pay Base Continues to Grow After Retirement
    1. Retired Awaiting Pay:
    2. Resigning from the Guard or Reserves:
  8. COLA Adjustments
  9. Guard and Reserve Health Care in Retirement
    1. Retiree health care options – under age 60
    2. Retiree health care options – age 60-65
    3. Retiree health care options – age 65+
    4. Which health care plan is the best?
    5. Dental insurance options:
  10. Other Retirement Benefits
  11. Benefits for Spouses & Dependents

Today’s article and podcast both cover National Guard and Reserve retirement benefits. Retiring from the Guard or Reserves has some similarities to an active duty retirement, but there are some very important differences, including when you will receive your military pension, how much you will receive, when you will receive health care coverage under TRICARE, and a few other important differences.

National Guard and Reserves Retirement Benefits Guide

The podcast and this guide both feature excellent information for current members of the National Guard or Reserves, Gray Area Retirees (members of the Guard or Reserves who have reached retirement, but haven’t reached age 60), and active duty servicemembers who aren’t sure if they will remain on active duty through a full retirement. Military retirements can be complicated, so you might even learn something if you already a retired Reservist or Guard member!

Note: If you haven’t considered joining the Guard or Reserves, we have a previous podcast that discusses Joining the Guard or Reserves. There is a lot of great information in both that podcast and article and this podcast and article.

In our interview, and in this guide, you will learn more about:

  • How to qualify for retirement from the Guard or Reserves
  • Why age 60 is an important birthday for Guard and Reserve retirees
  • Earning Retirement Points
  • Military retirement pension plans – 3 Types
  • How to calculate a Guard or Reserve pension
  • How your Guard or Reserve pay base can grow, even after you retire
  • The power of Cost of Living Adjustments (this is much more valuable than you think!)
  • Health care options through TRICARE
  • Base access, shopping, & activities
  • and other valuable retirement benefits.

Featured Guest – Doug Nordman

The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement - by Doug Nordman

Our guest for this episode is Doug Nordman, military retiree and author of The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement. This book had a large impact on me and helped push me toward joining the Air National Guard after an 8-year break in service. Doug also runs a blog called The Military Guide where he writes about a variety of topics related to military benefits, veterans topics, retirement, and personal finance.

Doug retired from active duty, but his wife retired from the Reserves, giving Doug a good overview of how retirement works from both active duty, and the Guard and Reserves. He offers tips on how to maximize those benefits.

About this guide: The following article covers many of the facts in the podcast, but due to space constraints, leaves out some of the personal anecdotes, specific examples, and additional information. I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, and bookmarking this as a resource for future reference.

Military Guide to Financial Independence

This book provides servicemembers, veterans, and their families with a critical roadmap for becoming financially independent. Topics include:

  • Military pension
  • TSP
  • Tricare Health System
  • More

How to Qualify for Retirement from the Guard or Reserves

In general, you need to serve 20 years to be eligible for military retirement benefits. This is true for those who serve on active duty, or in the National Guard or Reserves. Members of the Guard and Reserves need 20 “Good” years, or “Satisfactory” years to qualify for military retirement. A Good Year is defined as earning 50 or more points in a year. We will cover earning points in just a moment.

Exceptions to the 20-year rule: There are some situations when you may be eligible to retire a little early. One example is the Temporary Early Retirement Authority, or TERA, which is often used during periods of Force Shaping and Reductions in Force (RIF). Under TERA, some servicemembers are eligible to retire with as few as 15 years of active duty service. However, they also receive a smaller pension, both based on years served, and because there is a multiplier used that decreases the final pension calculation. Other exceptions for early retirement can be made for medical reasons, or under some other limitations. But in general, we are working with the assumption that it takes 20 or more years of service to be eligible for military retirement.

The Importance of Reaching Age 60

Turning 60 is an important birthday for Guard and Reserve retirees. This is the age when Reserve Component retirees become eligible for all military retirement benefits, including pay and health care. Prior to age 60, retired Guard and Reserve members are only eligible for certain retirement benefits, including base access, shopping at the Commissary and Exchanges, and certain other benefits. These retirees are often referred to as “Gray Area” Retirees. You will hear this term often.

Here are some important age-based notes for National Guard and Reserve retirees:

  • Gray Area Retirees – Under Age 60. Retired members of the Guard or Reserves who are not yet eligible for full military retirement benefits, most notably the pension and health care benefits.
  • Full retirement benefits – Age 60+. Once you reach age 60, you are eligible for all retirement benefits. This includes military pension and health care benefits.
  • Early Guard or Reserve Retirement Pay. Some members of the Guard or Reserves are eligible to receive their retirement pay earlier than age 60. However, they still have to wait until age 60 to begin receiving health care benefits through TRICARE Prime (see below for more information about health care in retirement).
  • Early Retirement Eligibility. Early retirement pay can be earned by serving at least 90 days on active duty during a fiscal year after January 28, 2008. You can receive your retirement pay 90 days early for each qualifying 90-day activation (but no earlier than age 55). Here is an article that explains early retirement benefits in more detail.

Earning Retirement Points

As mentioned in the previous section, members of the Reserve Component need 50 Points in a year to earn a Good Year toward retirement.

Members of the Guard and Reserves earn 15 participation points each year and they earn points for serving: 1 Point per Drill Period, and 1 Point for each day on active duty. Each Drill Weekend actually has 4 Drill Periods. Guard and Reserve members have a morning drill, and an afternoon drill, each 4 hours long. So a typical Drill Weekend is worth 4 Points toward retirement.

Points can also be earned through AT days (two weeks required annual training), being called to active duty for training, being mobilized, deploying, serving in the Honor Guard for military funerals, and by completing correspondence courses. Not all activities that earn Retirement Points also earn pay at the time you earn the points. For example, completing correspondence courses might be required to progress in your career and they earn you points toward retirement, but you may or may not be paid for completing the course. However, doing so is in the best interest of your career.

In any given year, a member of the Guard or Reserves can expect to earn around 75 points or more, depending on Drill participation, annual training participation, whether you were activated, and other factors. While there is no such thing as a “normal year” in the Guard or Reserves, a “base” year might look something like this:

All your points are maintained by your parent service and work toward calculating your retirement pension. We will cover this in a moment. First, let’s look at how types of military pension plans and other factors used in your retirement calculations.

Military Retirement Pension Plan Types

National Guard and Reserve retirement pay are almost always referred to as “Reserve Retirement Pay” regardless of whether you served in the Guard or Reserves. It is also sometimes referred to as “Non-Regular Retirement Pay. That said, the Reserves use the same retirement plans as active duty servicemembers. The only difference is how the pay is computed. Let’s look through the different types of retirement plans, then discuss how to calculate a Guard or Reserve pension.

There are 3 Main Types of Military Retirement Pay Plans:

  • Final Pay / High Pay – for servicemembers who entered the military before Sep. 8, 1980. Final Pay uses your last pay grade to calculate your retirement pension.
  • High 3 – for servicemembers who entered the military after Sep. 8, 1980. High 3 pay takes the average of your highest three years of base pay.
  • REDUX – an elective retirement option for servicemembers who entered the military after Sep. 8, 1980. REDUX offers servicemembers a $30,000 Career Status Bonus at year 15, in exchange for a lower retirement multiple and lower COLA.

We focus almost exclusively on the High 3 Retirement Plan in the podcast because most current servicemembers and recent retirees are eligible for this plan. REDUX is not discussed other than to say not to take it (REDUX is almost never a good idea).

Military Pensions are from Your Base Pay Only

Military pensions are calculated only from your base pay. This is important to know, because military paychecks often include benefits such as BAH and BAS, and may include other incentive or bonus pay such as flight pay, sea pay, danger pay, or other special duty pays or benefits.

This can cause some sticker shock for many active duty members when they first enter retirement because their pension checks are often much smaller than they anticipated. The sticker shock may not be as large for members of the Guard or Reserves, because they are used to seeing Drill Paychecks, which don’t usually include these other benefits at the full monthly rate, and it can often be years, or even decades before the members begin receiving their pension payments.

Calculating a National Guard or Reserve Pension

Guard and Reserve pensions are calculated slightly differently than active duty pensions. Active duty pensions are calculated by multiplying the total years of service by a multiplier of 2.5% (High-3 plan). Then you multiply that by your pay base. In the High-3 pension plan, your pay base is the average of your highest 3 years of pay (rough rule of thumb – that will equal about 95% of your final pay).

Guard and Reserve pensions are calculated in a similar manner, but there is an intermediate step that must be completed before you can calculate the final pension. We must first convert Points into years served. To do this, add up all your Points, then divide by 360. This gives you the total number of years served (the military calculates a month as 30 days to make the math easy; so each year served is 12 months at 30 days each, for a total of 360 days).

So take your total number of days served, and divide by 360, then multiply that by 2.5%. Here is a quick example: Say you have 3,150 points. Divide that by 360, then multiply by 2.5%. You get (3,150/360) * 2.5% = 21.875%. Now multiply that by your pay base (average of your high 3 years of salary).

Get a More Precise Estimate of Your Pension: Every service has an online retirement calculator that allows you to put in very granular information, including your Date of Initial Entry Into Military Service (DIEMS), your estimated retirement date, and other factors. It’s important to note that these calculators are often password protected and you need to login to your branch website get this information.

Your Guard and Reserve Pay Base Continues to Grow After Retirement

There is a little-known fact about National Guard and Reserve retirement pay. Depending on how you retire from the Guard or Reserves, you can continue earning time in grade and longevity toward retirement. That means the value of your retirement can keep pace with military pay raises and inflation while you await retirement pay. But only if you choose to retire under the right classification.

Congress gives you the option of retiring awaiting pay or resigning from the military.

Retired Awaiting Pay:

Retiring Awaiting Pay is the better option from a financial perspective, but it comes with a (slight) risk. Technically, you are still eligible to be recalled to active duty in the even of a full mobilization. However, it would take a full mobilization of the entire military for you to be recalled from retirement. This is extremely rare and didn’t even happen post-9/11.

Here is the payoff – while you are retired awaiting pay, your clock is still running on your longevity and time in service. So if you retire awaiting pay as an E-7 at 20 years, your clock keeps running to the maximum for that rank, which is 26 years of service. So you get pay increases for 6 more years in service, just for being on call. To top it off, you will receive the pay scale in effect when you turn 60, not the pay scale when you retire. So your pay has the potential to increase substantially while you wait to turn age 60.

Resigning from the Guard or Reserves:

This has no risk of being recalled, however, resigning from the military will lock in your retirement check with the years of service and the pay scale in effect the year you retired. This can have a hugely negative impact on your pension, especially if you have a couple of decades to wait before turning age 60!

Retired Awaiting Pay is the Way to Go! Retired members of the Reserve Corps haven’t been involuntarily recalled to active duty since WWII. Yes, it is possible to be recalled, but the odds are very small. And the financial gains can be huge.

COLA Adjustments

Your military pension is indexed for inflation through annual Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA). Military pensions are tied to an annual COLA based on the Consumer Price Index, or the average cost of inflation over a variety of consumer goods. This varies from year to year. In some years there is no COLA increase to retirement pay, and in other years it could 1%, 2%, or even higher.

Many people underestimate the value of these pay raises. While 1% or 2% seems like a small pay increase, these are cumulative, and they add up quickly. For example, Doug shared that his military pension has increased by 27% over the last 12 years, just from COLA increases. 27% is huge!

It’s important to understand that while your pension will increase over time, it should be enough to roughly keep pace with inflation. So while the dollar amount is a lot larger, the purchasing power should be similar as when you retired. However, this is an incredibly powerful benefit, because most civilian pensions plans aren’t indexed to inflation.

Guard and Reserve Health Care in Retirement

Retired Guard and Reserve Health Care Options

Members of the Guard and Reserves have different health care options than active duty servicemembers and active duty retirees. While still serving in the National Guard and Reserves, members are eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS), which is a premium-based health insurance program. Its cost is very affordable, coming in at roughly $50/mo for a member, or around $205/mo for a family plan. However, you lose TRS eligibility when you retire or otherwise leave the Guard or Reserves.

Your healthcare options in retirement depend upon your age (Gray Area Retirees are not eligible for TRICARE Prime or Standard), where you live, and other factors. Here are the basics (and we have a full-length article listed at the end of this section which gives much more information).

Retiree health care options – under age 60

Gray Area Retirees are eligible for TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR), which is similar to TRICARE Reserve Select, without any subsidies. The retiree must pay 100% of the premiums if they wish to participate in the plan. TRR premiums are roughly $361/mo for the individual and about $961/mo for a family plan. Other healthcare options include employer-sponsored health care plans, or an individual health care plan, such as those you might find on the health insurance exchanges. has a lot of great options.

Retiree health care options – age 60-65

Guard and Reserve retirees become eligible for TRICARE Prime at age 60. This is the same health insurance plan open to active duty military members and retirees. However, retirees are only eligible for TRICARE Prime if they live within a certain distance of a military installation or regional health care center. If the retiree lives out of the area, they would only be eligible to receive TRICARE Standard.

Retiree health care options – age 65+

At age 65, Reserve Corps retirees are eligible to receive TRICARE for Life, which is a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Program. There are no monthly premiums for this plan.

Which health care plan is the best?

This is where it’s a good idea to listen to the podcast episode. Doug goes into each of these plans in more detail and explains the associated pros and cons of each plan. Additionally, you can contact a TRICARE Ombudsman who can help you decide which plan is best for your situation. There should be one at each Military Treatment Facility, or you can contact TRICARE, and they will have someone explain things to you and help you choose. Finally, we have full-length articles discussing health care options after leaving the military and Retired Guard and Reserve health care options.

Dental insurance options:

Until age 60, retired Guard and Reserve members must provide their own dental coverage. They can do this through their civilian employer, by purchasing a private insurance plan, or by self-insuring for dental care. Members become eligible for military retiree dental coverage at age 60.

Additional Health Care Info Covered in the Podcast:

  • Healthcare for dependents
  • What if you don’t live near a Military Health Care Facility?

Other Retirement Benefits

Doug and I discuss other military retiree benefits, including access to base facilities such as the:

These base activities can be a great way to save money, participate in hobbies, and continue to be a part of the military community.

Military Hops – Space-A Travel: Military hops and Space-A travel are another topic we discussed. These can be a great way to see the world on the cheap.

Basically, flying Space-A allows you to fly on military transport if there are available seats. You pay a nominal fee (usually only a few dollars). You can often find trips going all over the world, and many of the flights go out on a regular basis. There are some downsides, however. Because you are flying on a space-available basis, you may not be able to get the flight on the day or time you want. Flexibility is the key if you use Space-A travel!

There are a few differences for Space-A availability for Guard and Reserve retirees. The member is eligible to fly Space-A if they are a Gray Area retiree, but their dependents may not be eligible until the servicemember reaches age 60, which is when their retirement is on par with an active duty retirement.

Benefits for Spouses & Dependents

Benefits for your dependents, including your spouse and children, are similar going to be similar to when you were on active duty, with the exception of your health care which will depend upon your specific situation (whether you are eligible to use TRICARE Prime, or are required to use Standard). Spouses and Dependents still maintain base access and access to the Commissary, Exchanges, MWR facilities, and other base activities.

Did we miss anything? Military retirement is a huge topic, and we tried to cover as much as we could in the 40 minutes or so that we talked. I also did my best to get the main points down on paper for those who prefer to read. Please leave a note in the comments if we missed anything and we’ll address it. Thanks!

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    • Ryan Guina says

      Spencer, yes, the Blended Retirement System (BRS) features a 2% multiplier and offers a Career Status Bonus and matching TSP contributions. It started on January 1, 2018, though military members who were serving prior to that date had the option to opt-into the BRS. So some members who joined before 2018 may also have a 2% multiplier.

  1. Joel Chapman says

    Hey Ryan, what is going on with age 60 retirement pay processing at Fort Knox. The have had my packet for a year now and I turned 60 one month ago.

  2. Anthony Long says

    I was looking for current information on combat deployments impact if any would have on my eligibility for retirement pay. It has always been at age 60, however when I was deployed to Iraq there was lots of conversation about a program that would deduct the years served in combat zones from the age 60 requirement and in my case possibly begin drawing retirement pay at age 58. Do you have any information you could share with respect to this ????

    • Ryan Guina says

      Anthony, Yes there is legislation that allows Guard and Reserve members to claim earlier retirement when they are activated under certain types of orders. You can learn more in this article about early Guard and reserve retirement age.

      From the article, early retirement “only applies to members of the Guard or Reserves who participated in a qualifying active-duty mobilization after Jan. 28, 2008, which is the date the Act was signed into law. Service on or before this date does not count toward early retirement.”

      Best wishes!

  3. Alan Berens says

    Hi, great information but my situation was I was Medically retired will I still earn credit from the time of discharge until I collect retirement? Thanks!

  4. Brian Berte says

    I retired from the Air Force with 8 years AD and another 12+ with the Guard/Reserve component as a Captain. During that time, I was both enlisted (13 years) and officer (last 9 years). Will my retirement pay be based on middle pay band “Commissioned Officers with 4 Years Active Duty Service as Enlisted Member” or on the “Commissioned Officer” pay band?

  5. Alfredo c Muñoz says

    Ryan I just went to file for my TxARNG retirement at age 62 but i should have filed at 60 my question is will I receive back pay that’s my question

  6. Randy Fish says

    While I am way better educated on calculating retirement, my options, etc., I am still wondering why Reserve and Guard retirees have to wait until age 60 (except under the post 2008 exception) to start collecting? Shouldn’t those who have put in 20+ years of service be allowed to collect their retirement pay and/or benefits at the time of retirement just as the Active duty retirees do? Please let me know why the double standard exists. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Randy, I don’t know the reason, other than that is the way the law was written. There have been several attempts to change the law through the years, but they have come up short. This is a topic that can be better addressed by those who are better versed in the law, whether that be a Congressional representative or a military lobbying organization such as the MOAA.

  7. James Davis says

    Hi, I’m a former Marine but am speaking on behalf of my mother in law.
    Question: Is the spouse entitled to any of her husbands retirement pay from the National Guard upon death? If so, where should she start with the process?

  8. John says

    If i have 23 years of TAFMS through the AGR program, if I resign my AGR position, asume a traditional guard position will i still receive my retirement as soon as i retire without having to wait until im 60 y/o?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, I would speak with your personnel or Human Resources office about this matter. I know you can retire with an immediate pension and retirement benefits if you have 20+ years under the AGR system.

      However, I do not know if you can transition from AGR to Traditional and receive retirement benefits while still serving the “one weekend a month, two weeks a year.” I believe that you will need to fully retire from the Guard/Reserves to receive your retirement benefits.

      It may be possible to transition from AGR to Traditional if you wish to continue serving. But I’m not sure how that would work in regard to retirement benefits. This is something you want to clarify before taking action. And if possible, make sure you see the reg or understand you have the correct answer before taking action – that way there won’t be any confusion or questions.

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

  9. Sue A says

    If a reserve retiree reaches age 60 in the middle of a month, does the first retirement pay include the whole month of his/her birthday and be paid on the first on the month following the birthday, or would it be a smaller check for only the days in which the retiree was over 60, or nothing at all until the first of the month following the first full month of being 60?

    • Sue A says

      I have been paid (finally), and can answer my own question. Here’s how it works. If you turn 60 in the middle of the month, you will get paid for a partial month – the days of that month that you are 60 or over. If it’s on time, it should be on the first of the following month. Thereafter, you will get paid on the first of the month for the prior months. If there is a delay in processing, you will get a big payment covering all of the missed time when they first process it.

  10. Renee Pemberton says

    Hello, My name is Renee’. Thank you for the great information and the excellent read. I spent 13 1/2 years on active duty, 2 1/2 years in the active reserve before I went into the Individual Ready Reserve and finished up with 22 1/2 years total. I would like to know now that I am 55 years old, am I eligible for early retirement at 55? Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Renee’, Did you complete at least 20 Good Years of service and receive a retirement eligibility letter from the Reserves? If so, you should be eligible to receive your retirement pay at age 60.

      Did you complete the final 6 1/2 years in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or the Regular Reserves? In other words, were you a drilling Reservist, or were you in the IRR which doesn’t drill, but is available for being recalled to duty?

      This is a big distinction, as it is very difficult to earn a good year in the IRR.

      You will need to have 20 Good Years to be eligible for retirement. The normal retirement age is 60. You can begin receiving retirement pay before age 60 if you have deployment days after January of 2008.

      I recommend contacting your parent branch of service to determine if you are eligible to receive retirement benefits, and if so, when that would be.

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

  11. Derek A. Smith says

    Hello, my name is Derek. This was great information. I served in the Navy Reserve, Air Force active duty for 15 years and Army National Guard. I was called to active duty in 2002 and discharged due to a disability in 2003. I am 55 years old and have my 20 year letter, but I am wondering if I would still be earning pay credit or would it have stopped in 2003 when I was was discharged? Does that mean I figure out my retirement pay based on my 2003 pay rate? Also, is there a retired ID card that I can obtain until I am 60 (I read there may be)?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Derek, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, you should be eligible for a retiree ID card. You can contact your local Pass & ID office for information regarding how to obtain an ID card. Since you are still under age 60, you will be eligible for base access and certain base amenities, but not pay & medical care.

      Your retirement pay will depend on whether you “Retired Awaiting Pay” or if you “Resigned.” Most people retire awaiting pay, which technically means they are eligible for being recalled to duty if needed. If you Retire Awaiting Pay, your retirement pay will be based on the pay charts in effect when you reach age 60 (and the preceding 3 years if you retired under the High 3 retirement plan). If that is the case, then you should still be accruing your years in service until you reach retirement age and begin drawing retirement pay.

      Those who “Resign” when they reach retirement eligibility are no longer eligible to be recalled to duty, but their retirement pay is based on the pay charts in effect at the time they retired.

      So most people choose to Retire Awaiting Pay.

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

      • Derek Smith says

        Thank you again Ryan. I have a follow up question. Do I take my 20 year letter to prove retirement? Also, I was discharged due to medical so would that be the same as “resigned’?

        Also, active duty retirees get a nice retirement certificate. Do Reserve and Guard get those and how can I get mine?

  12. Richard Triano jr says

    I had a total of 17 yrs army and air force reservist need 3 yrs for 20 had lots of points accumulated for being activated for training and man-days. Could I recoup 3 yrs at 70 yrs to draw a pension?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Richard, Members generally need to be able to earn 20 good years by age 60 in order to be eligible for a Guard or Reserve retirement. I am not aware of any way you may be eligible to earn one if you are 3 years short of the required service time, and you are already age 70. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  13. Elliot says

    If a national guard servicemember transferred to active duty army mid contract, how would this affect his retirement plans?

    I heard it’s particularly hard for national guard to switch to active duty mid-contract because the state, not the federal government, pays for the service member’s training. Whereas army reservists are under federal orders only so they are a part of big army.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Guard members who transition into the active duty side of the Regular Army will still be eligible for military retirement. It takes 20 years of active duty service to qualify for active duty retirement benefits. The member’s basic training and AIT should count toward that active duty service to reach 20 years. However, the drill days or other inactive training wouldn’t count toward active duty service. The member would need 20 good years to qualify for retirement from the Guard or Reserves, so they could actually qualify for Reserve retirement while still serving on active duty. Keep in mind qualifying for the Reserve retirement doesn’t mean they receive benefits right away – pay and insurance start at age 60 for the Reserve Component. So the member could continue serving until they reach 20 years of active duty time and retire from the active duty military, or they could decide to separate at the end of their contract or service commitment and choose to retire under the Reserve Component at that time.

      Transitioning from either the Guard or Reserves to active duty is handled on a case by case basis and is at the needs of the parent branch of the military. There are times when active duty actively advertises openings for certain career fields and ranks due to shortfalls on the active duty side. members can speak with their recruiters or unit career advisors for more information.

  14. Cole Daum says

    Hello Ryan,

    I left the active Georgia Army National Guard and entered the IRR several years ago after serving 28 years, some of which was active duty. While attempting to find an IRR unit I was notified by mail that my status was changed to retired. I never attended any retirement briefings so I have a couple questions.

    Can I get an ID card while in the gray area? I turn 60 in 2025.

    I have a post 2008 deployment so how do I know if and when I can receive retired pay benefits before age 60?

    How do I know if my status is “resigned” or “awaiting retirement”?

    Should I schedule a retirement interview now and who should I call?

    Thank you for your help.

    Cole Daum

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Cole,

      I would visit the Human Resources or personnel office of your closest Guard unit. You can call ahead to schedule an appointment. They can answer your specific questions.

      Regarding an ID Card – yes, you should be able to obtain a retiree ID card for your Gray area status. The HR office can help you determine if your post-2008 deployment will qualify for early retirement pay. Or you can review your orders to see if they qualify.

      I don’t know if your status is “resigned” or “awaiting retirement”. The HR department can help you determine this. I would assume you are “awaiting retirement” since you didn’t actively resign.

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

      • Reda says

        Hi Ryan ,
        I have almost 3100 retirement points, currently serving for the National Guard with 15 years of service- 8 active duty and 5 years in the National Guard. I am going through Medical Evaluation Board now. Will I be eligible to draw military retirement right away or do I have to wait till I reach 60? Also. I am 100 percent VA disabled, will I become eligible for CRDP? If so, will I draw my military pension right away along with VA disability or until age 60? Please, advise. Thank you.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Reda, I recommend contacting your personnel office for a full benefits review. They will be able to give you a personalized overview of your specific benefits and can answer questions that require access to your records.

        In general, retirees from the Guard/Reserves who receive a medical retirement still receive their retirement benefits at age 60. However, if the underlying condition happened while they were on active duty, it may be possible to receive an active duty medical retirement (immediate benefits). As you can see, this is going to be specific to the individual and not something I can give you a definitive answer to.

        CRDP – yes, I believe you will be eligible for CRDP when your retirement pay begins. Your personnel office can answer all your question regarding when you will be eligible to receive retirement pay.

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

  15. Donald ONeal says

    My name is Donald O’Neal I serve 3 years active duty in the marine and service 3 years reserved and 10 years in the National Guard and 6 months active duty in Desert Storm I had to get out due to a back injury from Desert Storm that give me a total of 16 and 1/2 years a service am I eligible to draw a retirement from the Tennessee National Guard under those status and should I have gotten a 15-year letter from the National Guard I am 100% disabled veteran due to the Gulf War

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Donald, The military generally requires 20 years of service to earn military retirement benefits. There are only a few exceptions, including when early retirement is authorized under the secretary of your branch of service, or for medical retirement. You would be required to sign paperwork under each situation and you would be aware of the retirement benefits you had. If you did not receive retirement paperwork, then it is likely that you did not earn military retirement benefits.

      You can always contact your state National Guard Bureau for more information about your profile or records. They may be able to provide additional information.

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

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Terrie, I recommend earning more about the Survivor Benefit Plan, which can provide a portion of the retirement pay to your qualified dependent if you opt into the plan. The answer is more detailed than we can go into in a comment, so I recommend reading this article for more information, Military Survivor Benefit Plan. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  16. DEREK says

    Hi Ryan…
    I am 100% total and permanent VA disabled. I am currently in the Army Reserve and I got promoted to LTC in June 2017. I went to my nearest military installation (Ft Polk) and spoke to someone who is very knowledgeable as he spent 12 years on the MEB and has been with the VA for the last 10 years. He told me some very interesting things…1. he said that the Army as a whole, is about to medically retire or medically discharge any Army person who has 70% disabled with VA and 2. He said that I’m looking at about a 60-70% medical retirement from the Army. But he said I’d still have to wait until age 60 (or 55 in my case) to begin receiving my military retirement pay. He advised me to stay in another year (until June 2020) in order to receive the High-36. My question is do I receive the COLA increase during the gray area? Or would I be receiving the retirement pay from June 2017-2020?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Derek, Thank you for your question. Yes, you should still receive COLA increase during the Gray area, provided you Retire Awaiting Pay, and do not Resign.

      When you Retire Awaiting Pay, your retirement pay will be based on the pay charts in effect when you reach age 60. So for your High 3, it would be the average of the pay charts when you are ages 58, 59, and 60.

      If you Resign, you would receive the High 3 from the 3 years preceding your retirement date.

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

  17. Jim Zeames says

    Hello, I turned 60 in 11/18. So far I have had to spoon feed ARPC through a series of certified letters to finally get my retirement order for 25 years of ANG service. After not hearing from DFAS for a month I called and was told they had not received my high three numbers from ARPC. I was able to speak to an ARPC rep today and was told that there is a glitch between ARPC & DFAS and those eligible for retirement since 9/18 are all waiting. A google search reveals nothing about this. Am I getting the run around?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jim, I would take ARPC at their word when they say there is a glitch with the system. I sincerely doubt they would intentionally give someone the run around “just because.” It’s more likely there is an issue with the systems and they are working on getting that system updated. I understand this is frustrating and is preventing you from receiving your retirement pay. But they should provide back pay when the system is back up and running.

      For now, I would maintain frequent contact with both organizations and open a support ticket if they have a system to track these things. You may also be able to get them to manually run your numbers. However, I don’t know if there is a process for this, or if this is something you would need to run up the chain.

      In short, stay engaged and maintain frequent contact. If necessary, run this up the chain of command by asking to speak with a supervisor, then their supervisor, etc.

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

  18. Keith Starling says

    I’m waiting on approving letter on my retirement pay. I am 62 1/2 and applied 7 mos ago. How long does it take to receive confirmation of your retirement pay.

  19. Shane Rogers says

    Great podcast! I found it incredibly informative and have sent the link to a couple of friend already. I am 48 years old and Navy Reserve retired (E-6) after 10 years active and 10 reserve. I do have a question about the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP). I’m having a very difficult time deciphering this program. As everyone who retires from the reserves is apparently automatically enrolled (you have to opt out), I would have expected it to be more clear. I’ve found a couple of sites about it, DFAS was good, but I can’t seem to find anything about the costs associated with being a participate in the program. I personally opted for Option B, but I’m not sure what that will actually cost me. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.

  20. Rob Farris says

    I’m currently in the “grey area” retired reserve status. I filed the NG retirement package months ago and will turn 60 in April 2019. What should I expect? Basically, will I receive a retirement order, DD214, when should I expect to receive my first payment?

    There is all manner of information about calculating points, and other benefits, but nothing that I can find on what to expect upon turning 60. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rob, This is a great question. I would contact your closest NG base/post and ask the personnel or human resources office if there is anything you need to do, and if so, when.

      I believe you will need to get a new retired military ID card, as well as register for TRICARE once you turn age 60. I’m not sure if there is anything else you need to do regarding registering for benefits. They should be able to provide an answer.

      I would also contact DFAS regarding your retirement pay. You will want to ensure your profile is set up correctly and you have registered your bank account information for direct deposit.

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

  21. Frank Schlosser says

    i have my 20 year honorable discharge letter and i received a medical discharge and a lump sum of money. does this effect my Army National Guard retirement when i turn 60? I have 9 years in USMC and the other years in the Army. but finished my last 3 years in the Army National Guard. I have been told that it would not effect my Army National Guard retirement.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Frank, Thank you for your question. Medical Separation payments may impact either retirement pay or disability compensation. The only way to be certain about your situation is to review your records, which is something that can only be done by your branch of the military, DFAS, or the VA.

      So this is a situation you want to verify with the VA and/or DFAS for clarification. They will be able to review your personal situation and provide an individualized response.

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

  22. Francis E. Yates says

    Never marries but engaged @ 68 years of age. Does my wife to be get benefits after I die? Did combined total of 22 years active and USNR.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Francis, you can enroll a spouse in the Survivor Benefit Plan as long as you do it within one year of marriage. However, I would do so as soon as possible. Contact DFAS for more information on how to do this.

      Your spouse may also be eligible for other benefits, such as medical care, base access, and more. Your base personnel or human resources department should be able to provide additional information on other benefits your spouse may be eligible to receive.

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

  23. Kimberly G Hatcher says

    I am about to turn 60 and need to know how I can obtain a Retirement Package and where do I submit it?

    • Ronald L. Blake says

      Hi Kimberly

      I am not affiliated with this site but I am retired from the Tennessee Army National Guard and in my case have been told by friends that have started there retirement that they had (or it was recommended) to go to the State Army National Guard Headquarters 6 months prior to their 60th birthday to get a briefing and start filling out the retired documentation. I am only 55 so I have a few years before I have to start mine.

      That said if you were Air National Guard or Army National Guard your state should have a Headquarters Building/Site and that is likely where you may have to go.

      I would recommend calling or going to your closest local unit and ask them to verify this info though and where and when you should go.

      Likewise, if you were a reserve component of the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard I would locate your closest unit and ask them where you should go to start the briefings and fill out the documentation.

      I know this info is very generic but I hope it helps!

      Thank you for your service and I hope all goes smoothly for you.

      Ronald L. Blake
      SFC USARR /Disabled

  24. Ronald L. Blake says

    Hi Ryan

    Here is the verbage I found on about the High-36 Plan:


    High-36 Plan

    The retired pay base for a qualified reserve retirement under the High-36 retirement plan is the total amount of monthly basic pay to which the member was entitled during the member’s high-36 months divided by 36. This includes months to which the member would have been entitled if the member had served on active duty during the entire period. Usually this will be the average of the 36 months for the member’s pay grade and years of service taken from the pay tables in effect for the 36 months immediately preceding the date that retired pay begins, regardless of when the member stopped participation (i.e. went into the gray area).

    The High-36 retirement plan uses a multiplier % that is the same as the final pay plan.


    If I interpret this correctly the High-36 Plan would utilize the pay tables in effect for the 3 years immediately prior to my turning 60 and also the time in service I have accrued for the E7 while in the Gray Area Status (USARR) in the tables as well which would have my E7 category column and row maxed out at 26 years for all three years prior to turning 60 and starting to receive Retired Pay.

    Is this correct?

    If so and if retiring in Dec 2019 this would be the formula and all calculations itemized in that case:

    12ea Jan 2019 thru Dec 2019 $5430.00 (Rounded) x 12 = $65160.00

    12ea Jan 2018 thru Dec 2018 $5292.00 (Rounded) x 12 = $63504.00

    12ea Jan 2017 thru Dec 2017 $5167.00 (Rounded) x 12 = $62004.00

    65160.00 + 63504.00 + 62004.00 = $190668.00

    $190668.00 / 36 = $5296.333333333333

    Rounded = $5296.33 (High-3 Average)

    So 4419 Points / 360 = 12.275

    12.275 x 2.5% = 0.306875

    0.306875 x $5296.33 = $1625.31126875

    Rounded = $1625.31 Pre Tax Monthly Ret Pay

    Ronald L. Blake
    SFC USARR / Disabled

    • Debi George says

      Ronald – thank you so much for making this plain for understand. I am in a similar situation and appreciate this calculation. I first joined the reserves (2 years), then active duty for more than 11 years, then reserves again, then deployment, then USARR. Roughly 21.5 years total. With more than 5000 points under my belt, I was having difficulty figuring out the math.

      Thank you for your service, Comrade.

      Debi George
      SFC, USARR

  25. Ronald L. Blake says

    Hello Ryan

    I have 4419 Reserve Retirement Points and fall under High 3. I am an E7 on USARR “Retired Awaiting Pay” status.

    I left AGR status on Feb 14 2006, re-entered Part-time status and Retired from the National Guard on that same day electing the option to enter the Retired Reserve on Retired Awaiting Pay status so all my calculations would be based on the amounts in effect at the time I turn 60 in 2023.

    I am trying to estimate what my retirement would be if I turned 60 today just to get that estimate. I am currently 55 and will not turn 60 until Sep 0f 2023. I would just like to get an estimate if it was in Dec 2019.

    (((4419 / 360) = 12.275) * 2.5%) * (Whatever the High 3 would be today) = monthly retirement pay!

    Is this correct?

    If I was turning 60 in Dec 2019 would those be the 3 years factored to get High 3?

    I have found a base pay scale approved by the President showing the 2019 Pay scale for E-7 with 26 years to be $5430.00, and in 2018 for E7 is $5291, and in 2017 is $5061.

    How do I calculate it? If it would be the last 3 years before I turn 60 awaiting retirement assuming that would be 2019 just for this estimate (12 x 5430 = 65160) + (12 x 5291 = 63492) + (12 x 5061 = 60732) = 189384.

    Then 189384 / 36 = 5260.666. If calculated on the last 3 before 60 assuming the for this estimate that it would be 2019, 2018 and 2017 if I was turning 60 in 2019.

    Can you help me figure that out, please?

    Thanks in advance for any clarity you could provide!

    Ronald L. Blake
    SFC USARR /Disabled

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ronald, the process looks correct. As you said, the numbers will change when you reach age 60 and calculate the High 36 based on the actual pay charts in place at the time you turn age 60.

  26. Timothy W. says

    I am in a unique situation. I returned to regular reserve duty TPU from the Retired Reseve. I am being paid for longevity rate for the time spent in the Retired Reserves toward pay. I thought that time is only calculated once turning 60. The higer command’s interpretation of the pay law is that it pertains to any period of time in the Retired Reserve is creditable time. My concern involves retention and promotion time regarding service eligibility requirements. All other, measurements of service time do not include the time in Retired Reserve time as credible service time but pay is.

  27. Tyrone Jordan says

    I have submitted my application for retired pay. I spent 22 years in the Illinois Army National Guard. When do I apply for my retired ID. I will turn 60 January 12, 2019.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tyrone, Thank you for your question. You should be able to apply for a retiree ID card as a Gray Area Retiree – meaning you are retired military and have base access and certain other benefits, but you don’t yet have access to other benefits, such as retirement pay or retiree health care. You may have to obtain a new military ID card upon reaching age 60.

      The best thing to do is contact your local RAPIDS location. They can give you the up to date information and schedule an appointment for you to come in a get your new ID card.

  28. MatthismM. Guttierrez says

    I started working for the VA and I need to obtain military retirement points spreadsheet to calculate my entire points. I serve 8 years active duty and the remaining time was reserve. 12/14/1989 to Dec 2000 then I was discharged 06/16/2011. Can some one provide guidance.

  29. Joseph Motley says

    I am not sure what status I have. I accumulated 20 good years and was re-assigned to the “THE RETIRED RESERVE, AR-PERSCOM, 1 RESERVE WAY, ST. LOUIS, MO 63132-5200” according to my orders. This doesn’t indicate if this is a “awaiting pay” status. I have listened to the podcast and I still cannot ascertain if I am awaiting pay or if I was resigned from the Reserves. How would I know as I didn’t get a choice?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joseph, I honestly don’t know. I recommend contacting your parent service Human Resources Command or Personnel Office to verify. They should be able to give you more information and verify your status. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  30. Matthew Adams says

    I have to laugh at 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks AT per year. I had 3 years active duty and joined the Idaho Army National Guard. When I retired from the Guard I had over 3700 retirement points (22 years total service).

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Matthew The “1 weekend a month, two weeks a year” should always go in parenthesis. That is the standard minimum commitment. But as you and many others well know, the actual amount of time served will vary on an case by case basis. I know people who have done the bare minimum for years on end, and I know people who take orders every chance they get. At the end of the day, I recommend everyone view serving in the Guard or Reserves as a minimum commitment of “1 weekend a month, two weeks a year” with the potential for it to be up to a full-time job if they are activated, deployed, or otherwise placed on military orders.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, Thank you for your question. You can check with your online personnel file (I’m not sure what each site is called in each branch of the military – the Air Force is the Virtual MPF). You can also contact your personnel or human resources office and they can do a point analysis for you. They should be able to inform you how many good years you have (qualifying years for retirement service), as well as your total number of points.

      If you are no longer in the service, you would most likely need to contact your service level personnel or human resources command (AFPC, Army HRC, BUPERS, etc.).

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

  31. Carson Walter says

    Hello everyone,

    Looking for some help here. My predicament, I’m a TSgt who is approaching 18 years of Active Duty service. I have decided to leave Active Duty at 18 years and finish my career in the Reserves. If in the next 5 years or so I’ve accumulated 720 days of Active Duty days or “points” I would have 20 total years of service, right? Then if I understand correctly I could start collecting a retirement check and benefits? How would that check be calculated?


    • Corwin Lemon says

      I’d like to bump this question for anyone knowledgeable in the topic to chime in. Too many half answers out there, and I’d be interested in confirming the whole truth.

      I have been told that having 7200 points is not “enough” to begin drawing retirement, and that the only way a reservist can draw an active duty retirement (ie: start drawing immediately and not wait til 60) is to retire on AGR status. Furthermore, I was told you must have a command previously agree that you will be allowed to retire on a specific set of orders. Thoughts on all this?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Corwin, No, simply having earned 7,200 points is not enough to qualify for active duty retirement. One must have 20 years of active duty service to qualify for active duty retirement. Points earned from inactive service do not count toward an active duty retirement.

        “Furthermore, I was told you must have a command previously agree that you will be allowed to retire on a specific set of orders.”

        — I don’t have an answer on this. But if you have 20 years of active duty service, or you are on AGR orders when you reach retirement eligibility, then it won’t matter.

  32. John says

    Great website! Lots of questions answered, we need to tip our hat to Ryan! My question is (and I am an old guy), does a reservist, receiving retired pay with 22 years of service, receive COLA increases in his/her retired pay? Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, COLA increases apply to all military retired pay, including active duty, and those in the Reserve Component.

      Your pay base may have continued to increase through the years as well, depending on whether you retired awaiting pay, or resigned from the Reserves. If you Retired Awaiting Pay, your retirement pay will be based on the pay scales in place at the time you reach age 60. So it’s possible your pay base will be higher than you anticipated. You will also receive annual COLA increases each year there is an increase.

  33. Kerry Cutting says


    My wife and I are stationed overseas in Japan. She is the sponsor and I am the dependent. We both work for DoDEA. I’m Retired Reserve (Served 30 years).

    One of the postal clerks is always giving me crap that I’m not authorized to use the base post office to mail packages home when I show him my Reserve Retired ID Card. ( I have a dependent and a CAC card, the reserve ID is just easier to get out of my wallet)

    Is he correct or just being a dork?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kerry, Thank you for contacting me. The postal clerk may be correct, at least depending on which ID card you show. Each Military Post Office (MPO, APO, FPO, etc.) has certain rules governing who can use the Post Office. I’m not sure if it is doe to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between each country, or due to a different regulation. I would inquire with the clerk – they should be able to give you the details. You have an ID that supports using the post office – so asking will give you the knowledge without jeopardizing your access.

  34. Ed says

    I am a National Guard AGR and will be retiring with just over 24 years of active service. I served prior years in an inactive status (by that I mean regular reserve duty-monthly drill and AT) for a total of 30 years of military service. I have heard that one can recalculate retired pay at age 60 to compare/choose the active retirement with the reserve retirement; which may be beneficial in my case. Can you provide any informaiton on this topic?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ed, Thank you for contacting me. I am not familiar with this. This is my understanding: an AGR member (Active Guard / Reserve) is equivalent to full time active duty – same pay, benefits, and retirement benefits. The Points you earned from the Regular Reserve will still count toward your retirement. Each Point will count for one day of service.

      So you will take the Points you earned from the Regular Reserves and add those to your 24 years of active duty service. For example, if you earned 360 Points during your 6 years of Regular Reserve duty, you would add one year to the 24 years of active duty service for a total of 25 years.

      The Department of Defense standardizes each month at 30 days. So every 360 days worth of Points equals 1 year for retirement purposes.

      I’m not aware of a process that allows for recalculating your retirement pay at age 60, or if it would even change anything.

      The best recommendation I have is to speak with your human resources or personnel section. They should be able to give you more specific information on how to calculate your retirement pay, and whether or not there is a process for recalculating your retirement pay when you reach age 60. Please let me know if there is a process, as this isn’t something I am aware of and would like to share it with others if that is the case. Thank you for your comment, and thank you for your service!

  35. steven says

    I retired as a USNR TAR , I am now a federal employee and I am making a military deposit for my 20 years, do I still have to give up my military retirement, when I chose to combine, I was in the reserves but a TAR

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Steven, Thank you for contacting me. Did you serve all 20 years as an active duty equivalent? In other words, are you receiving military retirement after your 20 years of service? If so, I recommend speaking with your HR representative and running the numbers to make sure you want to give up your active duty pension to buy back your military time. It rarely works out in your favor to give up your current military retirement pay. However, you can submit your DD Form 214 and you may still get credit for some of your military service as it pertains to your leave dates, vacation accrual, etc.

      If you are not currently receiving active duty retirement pay, then you should be eligible to buy back your military time and still receive your Reserve retirement at age 60, along with any civil service pension you may earn. You just can’t buy back your military time when you are receiving active duty retirement pay and later receive both pensions.

      Again, I recommend speaking with an expert for further information. In the meant time, I recommend reading the following article or listening to the accompanying podcast: Military Service Credit Deposit – Buy Back Military Time. I also recommend contacting Eddie Wills (who I interviewed for the podcast). He should be able to help you better understand your options. Here is his website</a>.

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

  36. BG Goddard says

    @ Richard – Many states are now issuing Veterans ID cards. Typically they are issued by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) just like getting a Drivers License. Some states even combine the two I believe. You’ll need your DD214 to prove service.

  37. Richard S says

    I will be 65 in May of this year. I served in the National Guard and received an honorable discharge. I have been turned down for benefits and even an I.D. card which would indicate my time in the service. Is there any way I can receive an I.D card from the government so I can distinguish myself as a prior service member? I would appreciate any advise you can supply.
    Best Regards, Richard S

  38. Barry T. Cox says

    Great service you provide for all of us retirees! I am a gray area retiree (USN Reserve) and I find your Website, Newsletters and Podcast an awesome tool to refer to and back on from time to time.

    Thank you again

    Barry T. Cox
    National Legislative Committee Member
    American Military Retirees Association

  39. Mark Johnson says

    I joined the Marine Corps on June 29, 1979, and after my commitment ended I stayed in the Air Force Reserves. I pinned on 0-5 a year and a half ago. Can I retire today and draw 0-5 pay when it comes time to receive retirement pay?
    Not many people are in this category. The AF gurus don’t seem to know about it.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mark, This is a great question, and one I had to look up. I’m going to assume you have the requisite 20 Good Years, and 10 years as an officer. With that in mind, we need to look at the Title 10 of the US Code, which covers military pay and benefits. Here is the applicable section: 10 U.S. Code § 1370 – Commissioned officers: general rule; exceptions.

      Look under the following section: 10 USC 1370(d)(3)(A), which states, “In order to be credited with satisfactory service in an officer grade above major or lieutenant commander, a person covered by paragraph (1) must have served satisfactorily in that grade (as determined by the Secretary of the military department concerned) as a reserve commissioned officer in an active status, or in a retired status on active duty, for not less than three years.”

      However, Section 10 USC 1370(d)(5)(A) states, “The Secretary of Defense may authorize the Secretary of a military department to reduce the 3-year period required by paragraph (3)(A) to a period not less than two years.”

      I’m not sure if the 2-year time period is applicable at the present time. I suggest contacting your personnel department for further information, or possibly even contacting AFPC at Randolph. The officer career advisors probably have a better feel for what is going on right now and should be able to answer that question.

      So, to answer your question: assuming you have the requisite 20 Good Years and at least 10 years as an officer, you should be eligible for retirement. However, you would only be eligible for O-5 retirement pay after you have completed 3 years as an O-5 (unless the Secretary of the Air Force has authorized 2 years as the minimum requirement). I hope this helps, and thank you for your service!

      • Terrance Pulliam says

        Ryan, I have a question that I’m sure is asked a thousand times. Why can’t Guard and Reserve veterans draw their retirement directly after 20 years, regardless of age? Could this be something that can be discussed with a government entity?

  40. Lupe Hernandez says

    I am reaching my 60 birthday and wanting to know how much my pay is going to be, would I take my points and divide by 360 and X 2,5 but what pay scale do I use for my last 3 year, I retired as E-8 USMC. Do I use the active duty pay or reserve pay. Is there any seminar on Retiring close by in San Antonio or Corpus area. Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Lupe, Thank you for contacting me. Retirement pay is based on the active duty pay charts. The answers to your other questions depend on when you entered the service and whether or not you “Retired Awaiting Pay” or if you “Resigned” from the Reserves.

      The first question is whether you Retired Awaiting Pay or Resigned. If you Retired Awaiting Pay, you will use the active duty pay charts in effect the year you turn age 60. If you Resigned, you would use the active duty pay charts in effect the year you resigned.

      If you entered before September 8, 1980, your pay would be calculated using your highest pay grade. If you entered military service after that date, you would take the average of your three highest years of pay.

      You should be able to contact the closest military installation and see if they have any retirement seminars planned. However, you may find it more helpful to sit down for a one on one meeting. Contact the finance or personnel office to the closest military installation and see if they can help you. I hope this points you in the right direction. Thank you for your service!

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