Big changes coming to military retirement in 2018

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Cheyenne, Wyo. - The coming year will bring a big change to how members of the military retire.

Starting in 2018, the U.S. government is rolling out their largest change to military retirement since World War II. An estimated 1.6 million members of the US Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard will be affected.

Those with 12 years of service or less will become part of a blended retirement system that combines their pension, which will be cut by 20-percent, with another 401k-type of plan called the 'Thrift Savings Plan.'

Congress approved the changes as part of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act.

Right now, retiring military service members who spent 20 years in uniform earn a lifetime pension that equals half their base pay. Currently, that’s only about 17 percent of service members.

The upside of these changes is that service members no longer need to spend 20 years in service to qualify for a pension. It will also lead to higher retirement income for most members.

All new entrants into the Uniformed Services on or after Jan. 1, 2018, will be enrolled in this new retirement system. The changes are expected to save taxpayers billions of dollars.

Service members will need to visit one of these designated resources to opt into the program:
· Army, Air Force, Navy: MyPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil)
· Marine Corps: Marine Online (MOL) (https://www.mol.usmc.mil)
· Coast Guard, NOAA Commissioned Corps: Direct Access (https://portal.direct-access.us)
· U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS): Contact the USPHS Compensation Branch

Prior to opting in, service members should take advantage of all available resources to assist in making an informed decision on the financial implications specific to their retirement situation. Service members can receive no-cost, personal support from an accredited personal financial manager or counselor available at their installation’s Military and Family Support Center or by calling Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.

The change to the retirement system is a key step in modernizing the Uniformed Service’s ability to recruit, retain and maintain an all-volunteer force in the 21st century. For more information about BRS, visit http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement.