Bonus Episode 0002 – Veterans Can Now Apply for VA Identification Cards

https://youtu.be/yWBzJds3b4k

Veterans can now apply for ID cards through the VA and will no longer need to carry around DD 214s or other documents to prove their service.

Log in to Vets.gov using either the ID.me verification system or a DS log-in to apply for a new veterans ID card.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2017/11/29/veterans-can-now-apply-for-va-identification-cards.html


Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age

Here is a list of the types of active duty service that qualify for reduced retirement age.  This is a direct copy from National Guard implementation guidance so there are a lot of funky acronyms.  If they’re not already defined in the table, I’ll define them at the end of the table.

 

Statute Limitations Factors/Examples
10 USC 12301

*Full

Mobilization

 

Declared by Congress:

·         In time of war or national emergency

·         No limit on number of Soldiers called up

Includes Selective Service in addition to the full mobilization of all Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) members

 

10 USC 12302

*Partial Mobilization

 

Declared by the President:

·         In time of national emergency

·         No more than 1,000,000 called up

·         No more than 24 months

 

The national emergency is declared in an Executive Order.  The 24-month period is tied to the Executive Order.  Any campaign tied to the EXORD counts towards the 24-month period

·         Example: Executive Order 13223, dated 14 Sep 01 (ties Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom together)

10 USC 12304

*Presidential Reserve Call-up (PRC)

 

Determined by the President:

·         Augmented the AD for operational missions

·         No more than 200,000 called up

·         No more than 365 days (12 months)

 

Generally used for operations with ‘boots on the ground for no more than 179 days

·         Example: KFOR, SFOR, etc

A Soldier can only participate one time in a “named” campaign under PRC.  A Soldier can participate in many PRCs as long as the official campaign name is different each time

 

10 USC 12301(d)

Any volunteers for Active Duty

 

Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA)and Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (ASA M&RA) may order to AD any member who:

·         Volunteers (i.e. must have member’s consent)

·         With the consent of the Governor or appropriate authority (i.e. The  Adjutant General [TAG])

Examples: Contingency Operation-AD for Operation Support (CO-ADOSs), ADOSs, Medical Retention Processing Unit, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) violators waiting processing in some cases

 

10 USC  12301 (h) If a member is wounded or otherwise injured or becomes ill while serving on AD pursuant to an original call or order to AD under section 688, 12301 (a), 12302, 12304, 12305, 12406, and chapter 15 (insurrection), or under section 12301 (d) of Title 10 USC and is subsequently ordered to AD under section 12301 (h) (1) of this title. ·         Example: WTU medical care for the wound, injury or illness

·         Each day of AD under that order shall be treated as a continuation of the original call or order to AD

 

32 USC, 502 (f)

 

 

Called to Active Service by a governor and authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense:

·         In time of national emergency declared by the President  or

·         National emergency supported by Federal Funds

·         AGR Service under T32 502(f) is not applicable towards reduced age retirement

 

Time not applicable towards reduced age retirement under sect. 647 of NDAA 2008: Soldiers attending service school under 502 (f)

 

Examples:

·         Secure U.S. airports from terrorists

·         Assist in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina

·         Assist Department of Homeland Security in securing Southwest borders  of the United States

·         Support National Special Security Events as designated by the Department of Homeland Security such as Summer Olympics, G8 Summit

 

 

Acronym definitions:
AC – Active Component
AD – Active Duty
CO-ADOS – Contingency Operations Active Duty for Operational Support
EXORD – Executive Order
KFOR – Kosovo Force (a peacekeeping deployment in Kosovo)
NDAA – National Defense Authorization Act
RC – Reserve Component
SFOR – Stabilization Force (a peacekeeping deployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina)
T10 – Title 10 of United States Code (active duty and reserve law)
T32 – Title 32 of United States Code (National Guard law)
USC – United States Code (Federal law)
WTU – Warrior Transition Unit (a medical holding unit for injured service members)

 

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2


So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2

I recommend reading Part 1 before reading this article.

 

How do I prove I am eligible for reduced retirement age?

This is where a bit of record keeping is required.  As I’ve said before, don’t expect your branch of service to do this for you.  While they may have a complete record of the documents required to prove your eligibility, not all services are as fastidious about maintaining records as they should be.  You will need your active duty orders, all amendments to them, your release from active duty order (not required, but helpful), and your DD Form 214.  If you have multiple periods of active duty, like two or more deployments or other multiple qualifying tours of active duty, you will need to have these same documents for each active duty period.

 

You do not need to send these documents to anyone until you are applying for your retired pay.  It’s best to complete this application and send it to your branch of service at least six months before you are eligible (they are going to verify your eligibility before sending the packet to finance).  Your retirement services officer can assist you with this application.

 

That begs the question, of course, of when you are eligible.  If you are in the Army National Guard, you can find your eligibility date on your retirement points statement.  It can be found on the top right hand corner of your statement and is called the RPED (Retired Pay Eligibility Date).  If this date is your sixtieth birthday or is not as earlier as you believe it should be, you should contact the Retirement Points Accounting Manager (RPAM) for your state.  If you are a member of a different reserve component, you should contact a retirement services officer for assistance in computing your eligibility date.

 

I deployed to Iraq in 2006 while I was in the Regular Army.  Will this service count for reduced retirement age?

The short answer is no.  There are two strikes against this deployment.  One, it was prior to the reduced retirement age law; two, it was while you were in an active duty component.  Either one of these facts will make the deployment ineligible for reduced retirement age.  The law only applies to reserve component members and even then it only applies to qualifying active duty on or after 29 January 2008.

 

Great! I am a reservist and I have qualifying service.  I can get my retirement six months earlier than sixty.  What about Tricare medical coverage?

Here is the “bummer” factor of the reduced retirement age law.  Even though you can get your retired pay earlier than sixty, Tricare coverage for you and your family members will not start until your sixtieth birthday.  The only exception to this would be if you have purchased one of the premium-based forms of Tricare such as Tricare Reserve Select or Tricare Retired Reserve.  Again, consult a retirement services officer for more information about Tricare.

 

I am an AGR (Active Guard / Reserve) soldier.  Does my AGR service count for reduced retirement age?

Once again, there is a strike against this type of active duty.  AGR service is considered the same as being in a regular component and does not count for reduced retirement age.  However, if you have a qualifying deployment or other type of active duty during that time and end up not being able to retire as an AGR, you will qualify for reduced retirement age if you are also eligible for a reserve retirement.

 

I am serving on a Temporary Tour of Active Duty (TTAD) / Active Duty for Operation Support (ADOS) / Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW) order.  Does my service count?

This one is tricky.  Eligibility in this case is entirely dependent on how your orders are worded.  In most cases, this type of active duty does not qualify.  However, to be sure, consult with a retirement services officer.  He will be able to tell you whether or not the service qualifies.

 

I don’t have a DD 214 for my active duty service and my branch of service does not have one, either.  What can I do to prove I am eligible for reduced retirement age?

You have two options here.  I recommend trying both at the same time just in case one does not work.  You can request pay documents from your branch’s finance office and you can request Leave and Earnings Statements directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).  You can make the request from DFAS online at https://www.dfas.mil/customerservice/lesrequest.html.  You will need to upload a copy of a form of photo ID as part of this request so be prepared.

 

I believe that is quite enough for one day.  I know this is a lot of information to absorb all at once.  Please post a comment below or contact me directly by email if you have any specific questions.

 

Until next time, thanks for joining me today and, of course, thank you for your service.

 

D.J.

 

References:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 647 – effective 28 January 2008
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 –  effective 19 December 2013
10 USC § 101(a)(13)(B)
10 USC § 1074(b)
10 USC § 12301(a)
10 USC § 12301(d)
10 USC § 12302
10 USC § 12304
10 USC § 12304(a)
10 USC §12305
10 USC § 12406, chapter 15
10 USC § 12301(h)
10 USC § 12731(f)(2)
32 USC § 115
32 USC § 502(f)
Department of Defense Instruction 1215.07 (with Change 1) – 23 September 2013
Army Regulation 135-180 – Qualifying Service for Retired Pay
Army Regulation 600-8-7 – Retirement Services Program – 18 January 2017
National Guard Regulation 680-2 – Automated Retirement Points Accounting Management – 19 August 2011
Personnel Policy Operational Memo 13-029 – Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers – 05 August 2013
Tricare.mil

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age


So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1

Now here is a topic that has caused a lot of confusion over the last several years.  Since the 1940s, reservists have had to wait until age sixty before they could receive their pensions.  Now there is an exception to that rule.  Please pay careful attention to what I’m about to say because there are a lot of rules to this exception.  Due to there being so much information about this change, this will be a longer article than usual.  I’ll try to make it as simple as I can.

 

In January of 2008, the law changed to allow certain reservists to receive their retired pay earlier than sixty.  This law was meant to recognize the increased importance of the reserve components in conducting, as it’s called, the Global War on Terrorism. This change went into effect on 29 January 2008.  Probably due to the cost involved, the change was not retroactive to 11 September 2001.

 

Here is a brief idea of how the reduced retirement age law works.  There are certain types of active duty service which qualify for this reduction.  For each ninety-day period served in a fiscal year under these types of active duty, a reservist will be allowed to receive retired pay three months earlier than sixty.

 

Did you notice all of the provisos in that last statement?  Yes, it’s a bit tricky.  The ninety-day blocks have to be within a fiscal year.  The federal fiscal year runs from 1 October of one year to 30 September of the next year.  This fiscal year rule means, for example, if a reservist has served eighty-nine days of active duty and then the ninetieth day is 1 October then that entire block of time (the eighty-nine days) will not count for reduced retirement age eligibility.  This means, in short, that a year of active duty service will not necessarily equal a year of reduction in the reservist’s retirement age.  This has disgruntled quite a few reservists.  More on that later.

 

Here is an example of what I said before.  Sergeant Matthews is mobilized to serve as part of Operation Enduring Freedom on 3 August 2009.  He serves active duty for a total of 390 days or until 27 August 2010.  3 August 2009 to 30 September 2009 equals 89 days.  This period of time will not qualify for reduced retirement because the next day, his ninetieth day, is the start of the new fiscal year.  His service for determining reduced retirement age eligibility will restart on 1 October.

 

From 1 October 2009 to the day he is released from active duty, 27 August 2010, he serves an additional 331 days.  If you divide the 331 days by 90, there are three full ninety-day blocks within this time frame (or 270 days).  As a result, Sergeant Matthews is eligible to receive retired pay nine months earlier than sixty.

 

That’s difficult enough to understand, but it does get easier for those who have served under one of those qualifying types of active duty later on.  On 1 October 2014, the law changed again to allow qualifying active duty to cross over fiscal years.  This means shorter periods of service in one fiscal year will not be discounted simply because 1 October has arrived.  Again, this change in the law was not retroactive.

 

Let’s take Sergeant Matthews’s example again and just change the dates.  SGT Matthews is mobilized on 3 August 2015 and serves until 27 August 2016.  This is a total of 391 days of active duty.  There is no limitation based on his service crossing two fiscal years.  Divide 391 by 90 and you see that he has four full ninety-day periods and, as a result, can now receive retired pay one full year earlier.

 

I hope that makes sense so far.  Let’s dive a little deeper in Part 2.

 

Until next time, thanks for joining me today and, of course, thank you for your service.

 

D.J.

 

References:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 647 – effective 28 January 2008
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 –  effective 19 December 2013
10 USC § 101(a)(13)(B)
10 USC § 1074(b)
10 USC § 12301(a)
10 USC § 12301(d)
10 USC § 12302
10 USC § 12304
10 USC § 12304(a)
10 USC §12305
10 USC § 12406, chapter 15
10 USC § 12301(h)
10 USC § 12731(f)(2)
32 USC § 115
32 USC § 502(f)
Department of Defense Instruction 1215.07 (with Change 1) – 23 September 2013
Army Regulation 135-180 – Qualifying Service for Retired Pay
Army Regulation 600-8-7 – Retirement Services Program – 18 January 2017
National Guard Regulation 680-2 – Automated Retirement Points Accounting Management – 19 August 2011
Personnel Policy Operational Memo 13-029 – Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers – 05 August 2013
Tricare.mil

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age


Podcast Episode 0007 – So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway?

Links:
LES Request Tool (DFAS)

References:
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008, Section 647 – effective 28 January 2008
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 –  effective 19 December 2013
10 USC § 101(a)(13)(B)
10 USC § 1074(b)
10 USC § 12301(a)
10 USC § 12301(d)
10 USC § 12302
10 USC § 12304
10 USC § 12304(a)
10 USC §12305
10 USC § 12406, chapter 15
10 USC § 12301(h)
10 USC § 12731(f)(2)
32 USC § 115
32 USC § 502(f)
Department of Defense Instruction 1215.07 (with Change 1) – 23 September 2013
Army Regulation 135-180 – Qualifying Service for Retired Pay
Army Regulation 600-8-7 – Retirement Services Program – 18 January 2017
National Guard Regulation 680-2 – Automated Retirement Points Accounting Management – 19 August 2011
Personnel Policy Operational Memo 13-029 – Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers – 05 August 2013
DFAS.mil
Tricare.mil

Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement

Related Articles:
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 2
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age


Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?

Let’s take a break from SBP this week and talk about another topic that comes up all the time.  People are always looking for documents from their service records, but are they necessarily looking for the right thing?

So, you’re trying to get a VA home loan or prove your military service for some other type of benefit.  Sadly and confusingly, most if not all of the organizations that are offering a service or benefit based on your service will automatically say, “Show me your DD 214.”  For a great many service members, particularly reservists, this is a distressing request.

The Department of Defense (DD) Form 214 is the “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.”  It is, or should be, issued whenever a service member completes a tour of active duty of ninety days or more.  Whether or not you, as a reservist, qualifies for this document is widely variable and depends on whether you have completed the required amount of active duty service.

A great many reservists only have, if they’re lucky, a DD 214 when they finished their basic and advance training at the beginning of their reserve careers.  It is entirely possible for a reservist to complete twenty or more years of service and never receive another DD 214 because they did not have any long-term tours of active duty while they were serving.  Annual training and other short periods of active duty do not qualify for a DD 214.  This can leave reservists seeking to take advantage of service-based benefits in a bit of a quandary.

There is another form, call the DD 220 (Active Duty Report), which is generally issued for shorter periods of active duty (other than annual training).  Very often, reservists never receive these forms, either.

So, what do you do if you need to prove your service to an organization or government agency?  There are options, believe it or not.  If you are a currently serving reservist, you can find other documents in your electronic personnel record.  The most useful document you should find in that record is your retirement points statement.  This statement should show your entire military career and the number of retirement points you earned during each year of service.  If you are an enlisted member, you can also find DD Form 4, Enlistment / Reenlistment Document; if you are an officer, you can find your appointment as a commissioned or warrant officer.

Some organizations, particularly civilian agencies, may not understand what these documents are.  You may need to explain (politely) what the documents mean or give them contact information for your unit or a retirement services officer in order to assist them.

If you were a member of the Army or Air National Guard, you should have a copy of National Guard Bureau (NGB) Form 22, Report of Separation and Military Service.  While it is somewhat erroneous to say so, you can consider the NGB 22 as the National Guard equivalent of a DD 214.  The NGB 22 is verification of your National Guard service.  Sadly, if you discharged from any other reserve component, there is no single-source document which proves your military service.

Now, what can you do, particularly if you were National Guard and need a copy of your discharge documents?  For the National Guard of any state, there is a person as your state headquarters who can request records for you.  Some of them may need a signed Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, or a locally produced form from you before accessing those records.

If you separated from service after 2005, that state-level person will likely have access to the Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System (iPERMS) and be able to pull the documents you need very quickly.  If you separated prior to 2005, that person will likely need to request records from your state records archives warehouse.

If you served in a different reserve component, the first stop is to contact your branch of service or, if you are currently serving, access your electronic record.  I have placed links to each service’s electronic records website below.  If your branch of service no longer has those records, you can try the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  NARA will require an SF 180 from you in order to fill your request.  You can mail or fax a paper form to them or submit a request online.  See my notes below for a link to the NARA site and a link to an SF 180.

Now, here is a hint.  If you served in multiple components, such as the Navy Reserve and the Army National Guard and you are requesting records from NARA, do NOT mention your National Guard service in your request.  If you do, NARA will immediately (or, at least, has every time as of the time I wrote this article) refer you to your state’s National Guard headquarters and will not fill your request.

It is possible, especially if you were in several branches of service, that no one source will have your complete record.  Naturally, the ultimate responsibility for maintaining a complete record falls on the shoulders of the service member.

I will compile and post a page on my website of as many of the state National Guard records managers as I can find.  Building this complete list may take some time so please check back if you do not see your state listed.

References:
Air Force Personnel Records (https://mypers.af.mil)
Army Personnel Records (https://iperms.hrc.army.mil/)
Coast Guard Personnel Records (http://cgbi.osc.uscg.mil/2.0/contentpanes/personal_files/summary_sheet.cfm)
Marine Corps Personnel Records (https://sso.tfs.usmc.mil/sso/DoDConsent.do)
Navy Personnel Records (https://www.bol.navy.mil/DefaultPub.aspx)

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records)

Request National Guard Archived Records (http://rcretirement.com/national-guard-archived-records/) (List In Progress)

Forms:
DD Form 214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
DD Form 220 – Active Duty Report
NGB Form 22 – Report of Separation and Military Service
Standard Form (SF) 180 – Request Pertaining to Military Records

Retirement Points Statements By Service:
Air Force Reserve / Air National Guard: AF Form 526 – Point Summary Sheet
Army Reserve: DARP Form 549 or DA Form 5016 – Chronological Statement of Retirement Points
Army National Guard: NGB Form 23B – Army National Guard Retirement Points History
Navy Reserve: NRPC Form 1070-124 – Annual Retirement Points Record
USMC Reserve: NAVMC Form 798 – Reserve Retirement Credit Report
Coast Guard Reserve: CG Form 4175 – USCG Reserve Retirement Points Statement


YouTube Episode 0007 – Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?