The MyArmyBenefits website helps active duty Soldiers transition to the Reserve Component

MyArmyBenefits is a great resource for Soldiers and family members at all stages of their military lives and that includes retirement and transition. The Army’s official benefits website can provide anyone considering leaving the Army a lot of help making decisions by looking at different angles.

For the Soldier who is separating after several years and for one reason or another won’t stay long enough to qualify for retirement, the website provides some important information to consider. Many Soldiers in this situation fail to look far enough down the road and end up leaving good money on the table by walking away without making the years they served count.

Soldiers can get credit for the time spent on active duty by joining the Army National Guard or Army Reserves when they transition. The Army calls this a Continuum of Service. Soldiers who join and serve 20 “good” years (active duty time counts toward “good years for retirement”) will receive a non-regular retirement check beginning at age 60 plus TRICARE for eligible family members for the rest of their lives. (Soldiers could receive retired pay even sooner than age 60 if they have qualified active duty time supporting contingency operations while in the Reserve Component.) How much retired pay? A Staff Sergeant with nine years’ service would transfer about 3,300 points (every day served on active duty counts as one point) to the Reserves. The Soldier must attend monthly weekend drills and 14 days of annual training each year to maintain good standing. After serving at least 11 more years until he or she attains 20 years’ creditable service (4197 points), he or she can anticipate at least one promotion in that time. At age 60, this Soldier would begin to receive approximately $1450 a month; plus TRICARE, which alone is a significant benefit.

Soldiers can see this for themselves by going to MyArmyBenefits, selecting Benefit Calculators on the home page, clicking on Retirement from the drop down menu and logging in with a CAC or DS Logon.

The Soldier next clicks on Active Duty to Reserve Component Retirement at the bottom of the page.

The next screen is the Active to Reserve Retirement Projection and requires the Soldier to enter the intended date of separation from active duty in the top line. This information automatically generates summary information and calculates your personal retirement projection information including the total projected points.

Soldiers may project a promotion, as this Soldier did to Sergeant First Class, with a projected date of rank, and then select Calculate to see the estimated Reserve Retirement Pay that will begin at age 60.

This next screen shows grade at retirement, total points, the pay base amount used to calculate retired pay (High-3), multiplied by the percent (derived from total points), and an estimate of pre-tax retired pay at age 60 in today’s dollars.

There are several more advantages for selecting the Continuum of Service than just building a future retirement account including special incentives to specific military occupational specialties, appointment to warrant officer or officer and bonuses. To find out more, Soldiers should contact their local Reserve Component Career Counselor or Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Plan office. They can explain the options and process required to put a plan into action and can help find vacancies in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve units near a future home after separation from active duty. Officers and enlisted can secure a Reserve Component position up to one year out from their release from active duty.