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.
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
Related YouTube Episodes:
The Basics of Reserve Retirement
So, What is This Reduced Retirement Age Thing Anyway? – Part 1
Types of Qualifying Active Duty for Reduced Retirement Age