Complete all the tasks in the 36 - 24 months and 24 - 18 months checklists then focus on the following decisions:

  • Set your retirement date
    • Prepare your request for retirement but do not submit until 9 to 12 months prior to your requested retirement date.
  • Seek medical and dental care for underlying problems
    • Ensure your military medical records are up to date by incorporating any documentation for medical care received during deployment or from civilian providers.
  • Prepare post-retirement applications for education and/or employment (this includes your spouse and any family members that plan to pursue new employment or a new educational opportunity following your retirement)
    • Applying to educational institutions may require admissions testing, beginning at a certain date and/or extensive preparation.
      • Applications for scholarships also have deadlines that must be considered when planning your educational track and financing.
  • Expand your network of contacts
    • Networking with fellow soldiers and veterans assists you with finding post-retirement employment, potential mentors, and an overall supportive team.
    • Use LinkedIn to let others know you are retiring and interested in new employment. [Disclaimer: This information is not, nor does it imply, a partnership of the US Soldier for Life Program, the Army Retirement Services Office, the US Army or DoD. This is for informational use only.]
      • Connect with companies and organizations where you are interested in working.
      • Connect with colleagues and friends that have already retired.
      • Connect with people who work in the industries you are considering or at the companies you are interested in joining.
  • Read information on current business and economic trends.
  • Attend virtual or in-person job fairs to become familiar with the process.
  • Begin planning and acquiring a professional wardrobe for interviewing, keeping in mind your planned type of employment.

IMPORTANT: If you decline SBP or elect a reduced amount, your spouse must sign the DD Form 2656 and it must be notarized.