New rules about Guard and Reserve retirement

Q: Have there been any changes on National Guard/Reserves retire­ment age after serv­ing on active Duty? I think there was a bill was passed for 90 days decrease of retire­ment age for 90 days served on active duty for Iraqi Free­dom. Why didn’t Con­gress back­date this to the start of the con­flict, so many of us served before the bill was passed?

–Juan, Harker Heights, Texas

A: You’re right. While active duty retirees begin col­lect­ing retired pay the month after they leave the ser­vice, Reservists and Guards­men must wait until they’re age 60. With the government’s heavy reliance on part-time mil­i­tary ser­vice mem­bers to exe­cute the wars over­seas, the 2008 National Defense Autho­riza­tion Act changed the rules. Basi­cally, each cumu­la­tive period of 90 days served on active duty allows for retire­ment pay, to begin 90 days ear­lier than age 60. As you note, only ser­vice after Jan­u­ary 28, 2008 qualifies.

Last year there was leg­is­la­tion in Con­gress intended to make any post 9/11/2001 ser­vice eli­gi­ble, but it was not passed. Also, there is no require­ment for the ser­vice to be in a com­bat zone or over­seas, it just needs to be active duty. So, this was a step in the right direc­tion, but there may be more to do. An impor­tant note is this law does not apply to health care benefits.

Con­sider exer­cis­ing your rights and con­tact your con­gress­man and sen­a­tor. You never know what a grass­roots move­ment may accom­plish. Thank you for your service.

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13 responses to “New rules about Guard and Reserve retirement”

  1. June,
    You left out a crit­i­cal point in your inter­pre­ta­tion of NDAA: the 90 cumu­la­tive days have to be in one fis­cal year to count.
    Juan,
    I’d rec­om­mend you con­tact the Air Reserve Per­son­nel Cen­ter at 800–525-0102 or the Army or Navy equiv­a­lent for more com­plete infor­ma­tion. Each ser­vice is inter­pret­ing the NDAA differently.

  2. You’re right!! Great atten­tion to detail on the 90 day rule. That’s why NCOs have always been such an impor­tant part of my life. Thanks and good catch!!

  3. June:
    A quick cou­ple of updates.
    The 2010 NDAA autho­rizes health care for those gray area retirees (reservists who are retired but not yet age 60). DOD is assess­ing the amount of pre­mium that will be charged and say they will have some­thing pub­lished by Sep­tem­ber 2010.
    There is pend­ing leg­is­la­tion to remove the fis­cal year restric­tion on accu­mu­la­tion of time cred­itable for ear­lier retire­ment eli­gi­bil­ity. Maybe it will be included in the 2011 NDAA.
    Great advice about engag­ing our elected offi­cials. August recess is almost upon us, and those law­mak­ers will be in our neigh­bor­hoods look­ing for our vote. Great oppor­tu­nity to lock eye­balls with them and express our opinions.

    1. Sgt Weis­more

      I,m sorry but i feel that any one. That was in com­bat should be in the win­dow of pay befor age 60. After 9/11? I was sent my 20 year let­ter in Iraq and can not even get a sto­ploss pay­ment because i had 1 year left on my con­tract. No one said do you want to go home and retire but now you want to take this from me as well. WOW THANK,S FOR YOUR SERVISE.

      COMBAT WOUNDED PURPLEHEART WHAT,S NEXT

  4. My time was up in 1998 in the National Guard, and I have not done any kind of paper­work for retire­ment or ben­e­fits, how do I get started?

    1. Send a let­ter to your State National Guard HQ. Request a copy of your Annual State­ment & NGB Form 22. Request the forms to receive retire­ment pay about 6 months before you turn age 60.

  5. When can we ever expect retire­ment as active duty gets? When they receive it a month after or will we always have to wait till we are 60. There is a cou­ple of peo­ple I know that never received a dime of retire­ment because they died before 60. It is a shame when you ded­i­cate your ser­vice to your coun­try and never get to enjoy any of the ben­e­fits. Grant you you can die any­time but if our retire­ment was like active duty then at least some of us could enjoy our retire­ment as active duty. Is there any leg­is­la­tion out there to be like active duty retire­ment? If so I hope it does pass and give all the reservist who have served their coun­try hon­or­ably a just retire­ment as active duty has now.

    1. That is Very True,my friend just died and rece­cived one check .
      Why we have to wait age 60 to change ID cards ? Why we can’t just receive our blue ret. I D card so we can fly and see some of the world before we to old to TRAVEL ? THAT IS MEETING HALF WAY OF SOME PART OF LIFE .
      ONCE OLD AND SICK WHERE CANN YOU GO ? JUST ASKING A QUESTION .RESERVES HOPEFUL SHOULD RECIEVE BLUE RET: ID AND CAN WAIT FOR 58 OR 60 FOR PAY

  6. if they call us ‘HERO’ then they sup­pose to give us the check as soon as we retire from the ser­vice. the only thing they said ’ thank you for your ser­vice. they should give us a reward for serv­ing our coun­try’ after 20 years of service…even half retire­ment check from active duty service..at least we don’t have to wait until the age of 60.

    JACK COOL

  7. I served for 12 years in the KY National Guard and was very liucky that i didn’t have to be called up for active duty as we had no wars going on. I was called up for active duty in some diasters that hap­pened. I went to the V A and asked if I could qual­ify for any med­ical help or any kind of retirement,and was told that i couldn’t qual­ify because i wasn’t on active duty. In pri­vate com­pa­nies that have retire­ments, if you work for 10 years you come vested and can draw par­tial ben­e­fits for over ten years ser­vice. i won­der why it is dif­fer­ent if you are in gov­er­ment ser­vice. Looks like this would be dis­crim­i­na­tion to me.

    1. Clarence,

      BLUF: it is a Title 10 (Fed­eral) vs Title 32 (State) issue.

      I am work­ing on imple­ment­ing the Army Total Force Pol­icy which is tran­si­tion­ing the Army from a com­po­nent (active/Guard/reserve) to a capa­bil­i­ties based service.

      One of the stick­ing points is par­ity for state acti­va­tions. The Fed­eral gov­ern­ment can not be liable to pro­vide ben­e­fits for state acti­va­tions. Although I am a States Rights pro­po­nent, this is an instance where it is not advan­ta­geous since the Gov­er­nor and leg­is­la­ture of each state deter­mine the State National Guard duty com­pen­sa­tion. Per­haps some day the Coun­cil of Governors/National Gov­er­nors Asso­ci­a­tion in con­junc­tion with the National Guard Bureau and Office of the Sec­re­tary of Defense will work out a just com­pen­sa­tion model that is trans­par­ent to the Ser­vice Mem­ber yet requires pro­por­tional con­tri­bu­tions by those respon­si­ble for the acti­va­tion periods.

      Hope this helps.

  8. The flags were wav­ing on vet­er­ans day and again on memo­r­ial day but after that vet­er­ans are all but for­got­ten. It is evi­dent in the leg­isla­tive man­dates. It should not mat­ter what com­po­nent an indi­vid­ual served in. The fact of mat­ter is that you served. I served in both active and reserve and retired at the ripe old age of 44 with 27 years of ser­vice. I too missed a lot of t-ball games and recitals. By the way my last three years of ser­vice were that of a mobi­lized reservist. I can not draw my pen­sion until am 60 nor can I trans­fer the rest of my edu­ca­tional ben­e­fits to my daugh­ter because I retired before a cer­tain date as decided by con­gress. On the other hand, con­gress decided that it was a “greater pri­or­ity” to pro­vide edu­ca­tional ben­e­fits to indi­vid­u­als who entered the USA ille­gally. I am not anti-immigrant but, all vet­er­ans deserve bet­ter, includ­ing mil­i­tary fam­i­lies. We deserve to be treated with dig­nity and honor.

  9. god bless you for the time serverd

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