If you are seeking information on your Retirement or Military Records:
Retirement Office FAQs
The South Carolina National Guard Retirement Services Office has a responsibility to protect privacy and ensure information security. Whether the information we work with is stored on paper or in digital form, we must keep it safe. First party individuals have an inherent right under the Privacy Act to their own information (or to the information of the person they represent). Effective today, 16 March 2017, all personnel in the Retirement Services Office will ask required identification protocol questions to verify that we are speaking to the first party, or an authorized individual, prior to divulging protected information. We will also follow identification protocol for office briefings. Please refer all inquiries to our new office number (803) 299-4260. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we make every possible effort to protect your information and provide optimal service to everyone.
What is a non-regular retirement?
A non-regular Army retirement is achieved by serving in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve for a minimum of 20 qualifying years of service. A qualifying retirement year is achieved by earning a minimum of 50 points per anniversary year through drill attendance, annual training, military schooling, mobilizations, membership, or additional training. A non-regular Retired Soldier begins receiving retired pay at age 60 after applying for retired pay.
How is non-regular retired pay calculated?
Non-regular retired pay is calculated based on the total number of qualifying points earned, highest rank achieved, and length of service. To receive an estimate of your non-regular retired pay go to http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/benefit-calculators/retirement
Why should I attend a pre-retirement briefing?
You must make several decisions before you retire that affect your retirement benefits. By choosing not to attend, you risk losing some options and benefits.
Does my leave and earnings statement (LES) show my retirement eligibility?
No! The LES only shows the number of years of pay, not creditable for retirement. The only forms that show retirement eligibility are the Army National Guard Retirement Points History Statement (NGB Form 23B) for Army National Guard Soldiers and the Chronological Statement of Retirement Points (AHRC Form 249-E) for Army Reserve Soldiers.
Do Reserve Component Soldiers not in the Active Guard and Reserve receive a DD Form 214 before retiring?
No! A DD Form 214 is received only during out-processing when a Soldier serves 90 days or more of active duty. To show their accumulated retirement points, Army National Guard Soldiers receive the NGB Form 23C and NGB Form 22 while Army Reserve Soldiers receive the ARPC 249.
When am I eligible for retired pay?
Eligible at age 60 to collect retirement pay. Reduced Age Non-Regular Retired Pay. The eligibility age for receipt of retired pay will be reduced below age 60 by 3 months for each aggregate of 90 days of qualifying active duty or active service performed in any fiscal year after 28 January 2008. A day of duty may only be included once in an aggregate period of 90 days. The eligibility age may not be reduced below the age of 50. Only orders to duty under the following authorities apply to this law: Duty performed as a provision of law referred to in 10 USC 101(a)13(B) and performed under section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, 12406, or chapter 15 (insurrections) or under section 12301(d) of 10 USC. Service performed as authorized by the President or Secretary of Defense under 32 USC 502(f) for the purpose of responding to a national emergency declared by the President or supported by federal funds. Service while performing Active Guard Reserve (AGR) duty as described under 10 USC 12310 will not be eligible for qualifying service for reduced age retired pay.
**If you believe you qualify for this entitlement, you should save all source documents for all qualifying periods of service (ex, DD 214, DD 215, DD 220, NGB 22 and NGB 22a as well as leave and earning statements).
When should I complete my Retirement packet?
Application for retired pay should be completed and sent to the Human Resource Command (HRC), Fort Knox not earlier than 9 months and not later than 90 days prior to the date retired pay is to start (usually your 60th birthday). It is recommended to contact the Retirement Services Office to assist with packet.
What documents do I need to submit to HRC (for retired pay)?
When applying for retired pay your application should consist of:
– DD Form 108 (Application for Retired Pay)
– DD Form 2656 (Data for Retired Pay Benefits)
– SF1199A (Direct Deposit Form)
– NGB Form 23C (ARNG RPAM Statement for Retired Pay)
– Copy of Notice of Eligibility (20 or 15 year letter)
– DD Form 2656-5 RC-SBP Election Certificate (if applicable)
What additional documentation should I send to HRC (along with my retirement packet)?
Any forms showing changes to your RCSBP election.
– DD 2656-6, DD 2656-1, NGB Form 23F (automatic election), divorce decrees, marriage certificates, birth certificates, adoption papers.
Documents to support reduced age retirement (if applicable).
– DD 214s, DD 215s, DD 220, Mobilization Orders, Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
Orders showing highest grade/rank held and administrative reduction (if applicable)
Copy of approved waiver to serve beyond age 60 (if applicable).
Where do I send my application for Retired Pay?
Send all documents to:
U.S. Army Human Resources Center of Excellence
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue
Fort Knox, KY 40122
Is there a Statute of Limitations on Retired Pay?
Yes! There is a six (6) year statute of limitations for back pay of retired pay.
– A claim must be filed within six years from the date of eligibility for retired pay.
– If not filed within the six (6) year limitation, one (1) day’s retired pay is lost for each day of delay in filing the application.
– Example: If you became eligible for retired pay on 2 July 1990 and the application for retired pay was not processed by DFAS until 2 September 1996, payment can only be made from 2 September 1990.
A Compensation FAQs
Listed below are frequently asked questions about VA compensation:
How long will it take to receive a decision on my compensation claim?
The length of time it takes to receive a decision depends on several factors, such as the complexity of your disability(ies), the number of disabilities you claim, and the availability of evidence needed to decide your claim. Currently most claims are being processed within six months, but can take longer in complex claims.
Can I get back compensation payments?
In general, the effective date will be the date your claim was received by VA or the date entitlement arose, whichever is the later, however there are exceptions to this general rule.
Can I be paid retroactively to when I was discharged?
If your claim is received by VA within one year from your separation from service, your award will be retroactive to your separation date. Otherwise, VA can only pay benefits based on the date your claim was received.
How much does VA pay in compensation?
Monthly tax-free benefits vary depending on the type of disability and percent of disability rating. For 30% or more disability, an additional amount is added for each dependent. Additional amounts are also paid for severe disabilities such as the loss of use of a limb or an organ.
What is the difference between VA disability compensation and VA pension?
VA compensation and a VA pension are not the same thing. The simplest explanation is that VA compensation is a benefit paid on the basis of the kind and severity of a disability that happened as a result of your active duty in military service. VA pension is a benefit paid on the basis of a disability that was not a result of active service in the military, or because of age. Pension is also based on income. There are other criteria that may apply to deciding eligibility for VA pension. That’s why it is a good idea to contact a representative at VA regional office to discuss your situation, or go to a national, state, or local veterans service organization for help.
Military reserve pay, referred to in this report as “drill pay,” is money Military Reservists and National Guard Members earn while training on weekends and during full-time training events. Section 12316, Title 10, United States Code (10 U.S.C. §12316) and 38 U.S.C. §5304(c) prohibit the concurrent payment of VA compensation or pension benefits and drill pay. In FY 2012, approximately 81,000 beneficiaries received more than $117 million in Veterans Administration (VA) benefits who also received drill pay.
VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) have a computer matching program identifying individuals who are receiving VA disability compensation or pension benefits and drill pay. After the end of each fiscal year, VA’s Hines Information Technology Center (ITC) receives information from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), which includes the number of training days for which each veteran was paid. According to Hines ITC staff, FY 2012 data were received by the Hines ITC from DoD in February 2013, and FY 2011 data were received in April 2012. The ITC sends a notice to veterans that they must waive either their VA compensation or pension benefits or their drill pay. Because VA benefits are usually less than what beneficiaries typically receive through drill pay, beneficiaries most frequently elect to waive VA benefits. If the beneficiary elects to waive VA benefits, VBA processes the offset in order to recoup the overpayment from the veteran’s future monthly VA benefits.
Bottom Line: Military Reservists and National Guard Members cannot receive concurrent payment of VA compensation or pension benefits and drill pay. Deploying Soldiers or Soldiers on Active Duty Operational Support (ADOS) that receive VA compensation should forward a copy of their mobilization/ADOS orders to the following (to have their VA compensation suspended, until the termination of orders):
Department of Veterans Affairs
Evidence Intake Center
Post Office Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
or fax to: 844-531-7818
Army Emergency Relief
The Army Emergency Relief (AER) is a private nonprofit organization founded in 1942 by the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff to help Soldiers and their Dependents deal with financial crisis. In 2015, AER made over 46,000 loans totaling $71 million. Funded by contributions, Army Emergency Relief is well suited to helping Soldiers deal with financial needs in critical times.
Army Emergency Relief helps the following personnel:
- Soldiers on extended active duty and their Dependents
- Members of the Reserve Components of the Army (Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve) on continuous active duty for more than 30 days, and their Dependents
- Soldiers retired from active duty because of longevity or physical disability, or retired upon reaching age 60, and their Dependents
- Widows/Widowers and Orphans of Soldiers who died while on active duty or after they retired
Emergency Services help with emergency financial needs for:
- Food, rent or utilities
- Emergency transportation and vehicle repair
- Funeral expenses
- Medical/dental expenses
- Personal needs when pay is delayed or stolen
AER does not offer the following:
- Assistance with paying for nonessentials
- Finance ordinary leave or vacation
- Pay fines or legal expenses
- Help liquidate or consolidate debt
- Assist with house purchase or home improvements
- Help purchase, rent or lease vehicle
- Cover bad checks or pay credit card bills
Army Emergency Relief also gives undergraduate-level education scholarships, based primarily on financial need, to children of Soldiers.
For more information, please contact the Army Emergency Relief Office:
Army Emergency Relief
2530 Crystal Drive
Suite 13161, 13th Floor
Arlington, Virginia 22202
VA Special Monthly Compensation – SMC
The following are frequently asked questions about SMC:
CAN A VETERAN RECEIVE ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS FOR SERIOUS DISABILITIES?
VA can pay additional compensation to a Veteran who, as a result of military service, incurred the loss or loss of use of specific organs or extremities.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED LOSS OR LOSS OF USE?
Loss, or loss of use, is described as either an amputation or, having no effective remaining function of an extremity or organ. The disabilities VA can consider for SMC include:
loss, or loss of use, of a hand or foot
immobility of a joint or paralysis
loss of sight of an eye (having only light perception)
loss, or loss of use, of a reproductive organ
complete loss, or loss of use, of both buttocks
deafness of both ears (having absence of air and bone conduction)
inability to communicate by speech (complete organic aphonia)
loss of a percentage of tissue from a single breast, or both breasts, from mastectomy or radiation treatment
WHAT IF I HAVE A COMBINATION OF THESE DISABILITIES?
The VA will pay higher rates for combinations of these disabilities such as loss or loss of use of the feet, legs, hands, and arms, in specific monetary increments, based on the particular combination of the disabilities. There are also higher payments for various combinations of severe deafness with bilateral blindness.
Additional SMC is available if a Veteran is service-connected for paraplegia, with complete loss of bowel and bladder control. In addition, if you have other service-connected disabilities that, in combination with the above special monthly compensation, meet certain criteria, a higher amount of SMC.
CAN VA PAY SMC FOR BEING BEDRIDDEN, HOUSEBOUND, OR IN NEED OF THE AID AND ATTENDANCE OF ANOTHER PERSON?
If a Veteran is service-connected at the 100% rate and is housebound, bedridden, or is so helpless as to need the aid and attendance of another person, then payment of additional SMC can be considered. The amount of SMC will vary depending on the level of disability.
HOW CAN YOU APPLY?
You should contact your local VA regional office for information about applying for SMC. In determining eligibility for SMC, the VA must review the applicable medical evidence and then make a decision regarding the level of SMC to be paid.
Benefits Deliverable at Discharge – BDD
It is to your advantage to submit your disability compensation claim prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty or demobilization. Processing times tend to be much shorter for claims submitted pre-discharge than after discharge. Pre-discharge programs provide Service Members with the opportunity to file claims for disability compensation up to 180 days prior to separation or retirement from active duty or full-time National Guard or Reserve duty (Titles 10 and 32).
You can apply for disability compensation through one of the following:
- Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD)
- Quick Start
- Overseas Intake Sites
Benefits Delivery Quick Start Overseas Intake Sites
at Discharge (BDD)
When to apply prior 60 -180 days 1 – 59 days Within 180 days
Availability Nationwide Nationwide Select installations
in Germany and Korea
The “Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) Examination” is used to determine a Service Member’s fitness for duty. The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) worked together to make disability evaluation seamless, simple, fast and fair. If the Service Member is found medically unfit for duty, the IDES gives them a proposed VA disability rating before they leave the service. IDES participants may be entitled to Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment services.
For more information while in a pre-discharge program, you may also apply for other VA benefits, such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Education, and Loan Guaranty. The following resources are available when initially applying for benefits:
- Visit VA Returning Service Members (OEF/OIF) and Seamless Transition for additional information, including resources for family and outreach activities for returning Service Members.
- The Summary of VA Benefits is a printable brochure that provides at-a-glance description of VA benefits.
- Visit DoDTAP and MilitaryOneSource for 24/7 access to helpful guides on pre-separation and transition, information on employment, education, relocation, benefits, and more.
Lowes Military Discount Program – updated 01 May 2017
Lowe’s established the 10% Military Discount to extend our gratitude to the men and women who have served or are currently serving our country in the US armed forces.
To receive the Everyday 10% Military Discount*, you must:
- Be currently serving in, or a veteran of the US armed forces* or
- Be the immediate family member and enroll in the program online.
Lowe’s uses a trusted third party to verify eligibility status for online enrollment and may require additional documentation or proof of eligibility.
*US armed forces include active and reserve members of the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard and the National Guard.
*The advantage of this program is that you can take advantage both online and in-store purchases; even at the self-checkout lane.
The Military Discount is established for personal purchases and cannot be used for previous sales or the purchase of gift cards or services including product installations. It cannot be used with any other offer, coupon, promotion, discount, Lowe’s Low Price Guarantee, special price programs such as Lowe’s volume or special discount programs or on LowesForPros.com purchases. Extended Protection Plans, fees or taxes are also excluded from the Military discount. Offer is not redeemable for cash, is nontransferable, cannot be combined with manager discretion price adjustments or Lowe’s credit discount offers, such as but not limited to, Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card 5% Off Every Day discount.
We reserve the right to cancel or modify this program at any time at our sole discretion. We also reserve the right to revoke enrollment status based on evidence of misuse.
- All individuals who are retired from the US armed forces or who have been discharged (e.g., honorable, under honorable condition, general). Individuals dishonorably discharged or for bad conduct are not eligible to receive a military discount.
- Immediate Family: Spouses and/or dependent children (up to 18 years old)
The ID Card Appointment Scheduler is a web-based system that will allow any ID card customer to make an appointment for an ID card by utilizing this system. This is a more effective management tool and will significantly reduce the customers’ wait time. Appointment times Monday – Friday range from 0940 – 1600, and hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 0800-1630. All appointments are made online by logging onto the Appointment Scheduler at:
Procedures for making an appointment are as follows:
– Log onto the Appointment Scheduler web site
– Click on the “Make Appointment” button
– Select a state – Select “SC” from the drop-down menu, then click “Go”
– Select a city – Select “Ft. Jackson” from the drop-down menu, then click “Next”
– Click “Select”
– Select date from available appointment (Green indicate available times)
– Select time from available appointment times
– Fill in your information and click “Submit”
– Print your confirmation; customer will also receive an e-mail confirming appointment
– Please arrive on time for your selected appointment
Valid Forms of Identification
The Defense Enrollment and Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) requires individuals 18 years and above to present two current valid forms of identification when applying for a United States Uniformed Services Identification (ID) card or a CAC. One of the forms of identification must be a valid federal or state picture identification card (unexpired). Secondary forms of identification are social security card, passport (unexpired), voter’s registration card, or a Green Card. The sponsor must accompany the individual receiving an ID card. If the Sponsor is unavailable, a General or Special Power of Attorney for ID cards, pre-verified DD Form 1172 (Application for Uniformed Services Identification Card – DEERS Enrollment) issued within the previous 90 days by a “verifying official” or through http://Milconnect.dmdc.mil may be presented at the time of service. The hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 0800 – 1630. For more information (on Ft. Jackson’s location), please contact Ms. Dennison, phone: 751-6024, or email: email@example.com.
301 North Campus Blvd Spartanburg SC, 29506
SFC Brock, Pamela and SPC Powell, Samantha-(803)-299-1279 (Tuesday thru Friday 0900-1600 hours)
ROCK HILL SC ARMORY
126 Museum Rd Rock Hill SC, 29732
SSG Mclaughlin, James and SSG Anderson, Thomas – (803) 299-3047or 803-366-7124 opt 9(Tuesday and Thursday 0900-1600 hours Appointments only)
355 Anderson Highway Clemson SC, 29631
SGT Farmer, Sandra- (803)-299-1353(Tuesday and Thursday 0830-1630 hours)
Legal Assistance for Retirees
Due to manpower shortages, Retirees are currently seen on a space available basis only. Notary services and basic Powers of Attorney (POA) are available on a walk-in basis during regular office hours.
A basic POA does not require an attorney consultation. Durable Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Health Care Powers of Attorney require attorney consultations and cannot be obtained on a walk-in basis. These three documents, in addition to a Last Will and Testament, are likely the most important to Retirees. Appointments for Retirees to have these documents prepared, as well as to speak with an attorney (about other matters), are limited to weekends when local Reserve Judge Advocates are performing Battle Assembly and able to provide Legal Assistance services.
When space allows during normal duty hours, limited appointments will be made available to Retirees. All appointments are made on a first come, first served basis.
Regular office hours are M/T/W/F from 0900 to 1115 and 1230 to 1600.
On Thursdays, the office is open from 1230 to 1600.
The office is closed on all Federal and Training Holidays.
For further information, please call (803) 751-4287
or visit the Legal Assistance website at http://jackson.armylive.dodlive.mil/sta_/osja/legal-assistance/
or the Fort Jackson OSJA Facebook page.
Apple Military Discount
The Apple Military Discount is a program provided by Apple for active duty, Veterans and Family Members of the U.S. Military, National Guard and Reserve. The Federal Government and Military Employee Purchase Program is also available to current and retired employees, contractors and family members of government entities. Details are limited on Apple’s website so we prepared a FAQ to most commonly asked questions related to the Apple Military Discount.
Where do I go to Save?
Visit the Apple Military Discount Website.
What Can You Save On?
You can save on computers such as the iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and Mac Pro. Discounts vary but typical ranges are between 5% and 15% with 8%-10%. There is also a discount provided for the Apple Care Protection Plan.
How Much is the Apple Military Discount?
Apple does not list how much you’ll save on each product so even though the Apple Program’s website will have discounts on some items, not all, it is difficult to tell which items are discounted. One solution is to go to the main Apple Store website. Do this in a separate browser, not tab, otherwise you might wind up on the Military Purchase Program website by default. You can now look up the Apple product you’re interested in buying on the program website and compare it against the main Apple Store website. If there is no difference, than Apple is not offering a military discount on that product.
What Can’t I Save On?
Unfortunately, the military discount is primarily limited to computers and the Apple Care Protection Plan. Items such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Apple Watch and accessories are not discounted. There may be exceptions, but rarely.
Can This Purchase be Used Towards Personal Use?
Yes! The military discount from Apple is intended for personal use.
What Proof is Required to Qualify?
Apple has no set policy and may request proof after the order is submitted.
Security Clearance Jobs After Leaving the Military
Per the Security Office, please see the following corrections to the email below:
Security Clearances do not expire, they just fall out of a scope window that OPM and other agencies recognize (for the investigation).
Confidential Clearances are not granted in the SCARNG.
Top Secret/SCI are now reinvestigated every six years to help with the back up at OPM and CAF (this is new information).
SSBI – this investigation is basically a TS/SCI.
Soldiers/Officers retiring or getting out of the SCARNG within a year cannot renew their clearance per DoD, NGB, and OPM.
Soldiers/Officers retiring cannot request an upgrade in clearance just because they want it to get a job in the civilian world.
Reserve Component ID Card Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q: Who is eligible to receive an ID card?
A: Soldiers, Retirees, Retired Reserve (Gray Area Retirees), Reserve Component Former Members, and eligible Dependents (see back of trifold).
Q: I’ve been transferred to the Retired Reserve. What ID card do I receive?
A: DD Form 2 (Retired (Red) ID card).
Q: I took a discharge, but I’m eligible for retirement at age 60. What ID card do I receive?
A: You are now a former Member and will receive a DD Form 2 (Former Member (Red) ID card).
Q: I am receiving retired pay. What ID card do I receive?
- If you are a Retiree, you will receive DD Form 2 RET (Retired Blue ID card).
- If you are a former Member, you will receive DD Form 2675 (Tan ID/Privilege card).
Q: What ID card can my eligible Dependents get?
A: DD Form 1173 (Dependent (Tan) ID card) if you are over 60 and in receipt of retired pay. DD 1173-1 Red Card—If you are under 60 (not in receipt of retired pay).
Q: When I get a divorced, what must I do?
- Service Members MUST produce an original final decree of divorce from a court of competent jurisdiction with seal and file number. Present these to the local ID card site to remove your Spouse from DEERS.
- When a Spouse is removed from DEERS, any step Children listed will also be removed. Biological Children of the Sponsor will not be removed. It is a good practice to have the IDs surrendered at the final divorce hearing because they must be returned to a DEERS facility.
Q: Is my former Spouse eligible for an ID card and benefits?
A: Only if your former Spouse is not remarried, has no employer-Sponsored health insurance and meets one of the following:
- 20/20/20 (20 years of marriage, 20 qualifying years of service for retired pay, overlap of marriage and service was at least 20 years). The former Spouse will receive full benefits until remarried or enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance. The former Spouse will receive benefits only when the service Member is also eligible to receive them.
- 20/20/15 (20 years of marriage, 20 qualifying years of service for retired pay, overlap of marriage and service was at least 15 years) (after 29 SEP 88).
The former Spouse will receive medical benefits for one year from the date of divorce, unless remarried or enrolled in employer-sponsored health insurance, and only when the service Member is also eligible to receive them.
Q: How do I get an ID card for my new Spouse?
A: Bring the following to the RAPIDS site:
- Spouse’s birth certificate
- Spouse’s Social Security card
- Spouse’s driver’s license (Copies are OK in some circumstances)
- Certified marriage certificate
Q: How do I get ID cards for my children?
A: Parents by birth or adoption must register their newborn or newly adopted Child in DEERS within 30 days* or as soon as possible after birth or legal adoption.
Stepchildren may be added if the sponsor is providing over 50% of their support and the new Spouse provides all items listed above and the Child’s birth certificate and Social Security Card*. Bring the following to the RAPIDS site:
- The sponsor must provide the original /certified copy of the birth certificate or certificate of live birth / hospital verification of birth
- Adoption decree
- Social security card – as soon as possible.* The DEERS system will automatically suspend medical benefits for the eligible Family Member if the SSN is not provided.
How do I request Retirement?
- Submit a AGSC 37-R to your unit.
o In the request, state if you desire to transfer to the Retired Reserves, IRR Control Group Reinforcement, or discharged.
o You must state the date in which you desire to retire from the National Guard.
*** Once you leave the Guard you must keep your information (i.e. telephone, mailing address) updated with U.S. Army Human Resources Center (HRC) of Excellence-Ft. Knox, KY directly.****
What is the South Carolina National Guard (SCNG) Plan?
Effective January 1, 2006, the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) assumed administration of the South Carolina National Guard Retirement System (SCNG Plan), a defined benefit pension plan established to provide supplemental benefits to National Guard members who served in South Carolina. While the SCNG Plan was previously closed to new Entrants as of July 1, 1993, legislation reopened the system effective January 1, 2007, to any new entrants since June 30, 1993. As a National Guard Member, you are considered a federal employee; therefore, the pension benefit that the state provides through the SCNG Plan is intended only to supplement the retirement benefit you receive or will receive from the federal government.
Do I qualify for the State pension?
- SCNG Members must satisfy the following requirements:
o Served and qualified for at least twenty years of creditable military service,
o Served at least fifteen years of creditable service as a member of the SCNG with the final or last ten years of service immediately before retirement in the SCNG;
o Received an honorable discharge from the National Guard of South Carolina.
Computation (for the state pension) is based upon $50.00 per month for the first 20 years of creditable service, plus $5.00 per month for each additional full year of creditable service (monthly pension will not exceed $100.00). South Carolina military pension is taxable for federal income tax purposes, but is exempt from the South Carolina income tax. Survivor Benefits are not payable for state pension.
Can I begin collecting retired pay early?
- National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2008 reduces the retirement age from 60 to a lesser age but not below age 50, for applicable situations:
o Must have served on Active Duty on or after 29 Jan 2008 (not retroactive).
o Must have been called to Active Duty for Overseas Contingency Operations: GWOT, OIF or OEF.
Generally starts at age 60 (after you apply), however Retirees may start collecting prior to age 60 as follows: Soldiers/Retirees that qualify for reduced retirement age (for qualifying service on or after 29 January 2008), must submit their request for early retirement with verifying documents to the U.S. Army Human Resources Center of Excellence-Ft. Knox, KY. The Retirement Services Office will assist with the validation of the retired pay application. Soldiers are required to submit verifying documents, to include orders placing them in the Retired Reserves and 20 or 15 year Notice of Eligibility (NOE) for Non-Regular Retired Pay, at the time of application to receive the reduction in retirement age. HRC will mail the Retired order to the Retiree. The Retiree must take the Retired order (from HRC) and two current (valid) forms of identification to receive their (Blue) ID card to an ID Card Site location.
***Please note The reduction of the minimum age for eligibility for retired pay for non-regular service does not reduce the age for eligibility for health care under 10 USC 1074 (b). The eligibility for health care will continue to be 60 years of age. Qualified Retired Reserve Members under the age of 60 requiring TRICARE medical coverage may purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR). Once the Retiree reaches age 60, the Service Member and qualifying Family Members become eligible for TRICARE Standard, Extra or Prime (where available).****
Am I eligible for TRICARE after Retirement?
- Gray Area Retirees (retirement age – 60) can purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve.
- Soldiers/Retirees (under the age of 60) that qualify for reduced age retirement (and require TRICARE medical coverage) may purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) until their 60th birthday.
- Retired Soldiers (60-65) are automatically enrolled in TRICARE Standard and can purchase TRICARE Prime and US Family Health Plan.
- Retirees 65 + is eligible for TRICARE for Life. TRICARE For Life is Medicare-wraparound coverage for TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and B.
Can I keep my Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)?
- SGLI can be converted to Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI).
What type Coverage do I have with SGLI?
- SGLI coverage is available in $50,000 increments up to the maximum of $400,000. Covered Members receive 120 days of free coverage from their date of separation. Coverage can be extended for up to two years if the Service Member is totally disabled at separation. Part-time coverage is also provided to Reserve Members who do not qualify for full-time coverage (members covered part-time do not receive 120 days of free coverage).
***If you are totally disabled at the time of separation (unable to work), you can apply for the SGLI Disability Extension, which provides free coverage for up to two years from the date of separation. At the end of the extension period, you automatically become eligible for VGLI, subject to premium payments.
What is VGLI (Veteran’s Group Life Insurance)?
- VGLI is a program of post-separation insurance which allows Service Members to convert their SGLI coverage to renewable term insurance. Members with full-time SGLI coverage are eligible for VGLI upon release from service.
When do I apply for VGLI?
- Service Members must apply to convert SGLI to VGLI within one year and 120 days from discharge. Veterans who submit their application within 240 days of discharge do not need to submit evidence of good health, while those who apply more than 240 days after discharge are required to answer questions about their health. Some medical conditions may make it difficult or even impossible to obtain private insurance. If you have any of these conditions, you should consider purchasing VGLI.
Do I keep my education benefits?
Federal Tuition Assistance (FTA) and College Assistance Program (CAP).
- Upon retirement you will lose (the benefit of) receiving FTA and CAP.
- Enlisted Soldiers’ expiration term of service (ETS) must be after the semester or course end date.
- Officers incur a four year service obligation from the end date of the course. However, if non-retained by a board (SRB, QRB, ASMB, or MEB) the Service Members must provide supporting documentation and the service obligation could be waived.
What happened to expiration of 0, 1, 2 and 3-year active duty service obligation (ADSO) eligibility?
- Effective 1 August 2013, the 0, 1, 2, and 3-year ADSO eligibility expired.
- To have qualified for a 0, 1, 2, or 3-year ADSO, Soldiers must have applied to transfer education benefits (TEB) before 1 August 2013.
- Any requests to TEB submitted on or after 1 August 2013, incur a 4-year ADSO from the TEB request date.
- Soldiers who request to transfer their education benefits on or after 1 August 2013 incur a 4-year ADSO (regardless of their total service on 1 August 2009 or if they are eligible for retirement).
- Chap 1606 – Select Reserve. Not eligible after retirement.
- Chap 33 – Post 9/11 – Eligible for benefits for 15 years from your last period of Title 10 service.
- Chap 30 – Eligible for benefits for 10 years after last period of active duty service.
*Service Members MUST transfer benefits under Post 9/11 BEFORE separating from the military. HOWEVER, THE SERVICE MEMBER WILL INCUR A FOUR YEAR SERVICE OBLIGATION. Post 9/11 benefits cannot be transferred while in Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or Inactive National Guard (ING).
Do I need a new ID card?
- Yes. When you retire from the SCNG you will need to obtain a new ID card.
o A Gray Area (Red) Retiree card will be issued once the Retiree is released from the National Guard, valid until age 60;
o (if eligible) A Soldier/Retiree that qualify for reduced retirement age (for qualifying service on or after 29 January 2008), will be issued a Blue ID card. The Soldier/Retiree must submit their request for early retirement with verifying documents to the U.S. Army Human Resources Center of Excellence-Ft. Knox, KY. The Retirement Services Office will assist with the validation of the retired pay application. Soldiers are required to submit verifying documents, to include orders placing them in the Retired Reserves and 20 or 15 year Notice of Eligibility (NOE) for Non-Regular Retired Pay, at the time of application to receive the reduction in retirement age. HRC will mail the Retired order to the Retiree. The Retiree must take the Retired order (from HRC) and two current (valid) forms of identification to receive their (Blue) ID card to an ID Card Site location. ***Please note The reduction of the minimum age for eligibility for retired pay for non-regular service does not reduce the age for eligibility for health care under 10 USC 1074 (b). The eligibility for health care will continue to be 60 years of age. Qualified Retired Reserve Members under the age of 60 requiring TRICARE medical coverage may purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR). Once the Retiree reaches age 60, the Service Member and qualifying Family Members become eligible for TRICARE Standard, Extra or Prime (where available).****
o At 60; (if eligible) The Retiree will begin receiving retired pay, a (Blue) Retiree card will be issued. ***This is not automatic, at age 59, the Retiree must submit the application for retired pay packet to the U.S. Army Human Resources Center of Excellence-Ft. Knox, KY. HRC will mail the Retired order to the Retiree. The Retiree must take the Retired order (from HRC) and two current (valid) forms of identification to receive their (Blue) ID card to an ID Card Site location.
o At 60; (if eligible) The Retiree will begin receiving a state pension. The Retiree must have: Served and qualified for at least 20 years of creditable military service, served at least 15 years of the service as a Member of the SCNG with the final or last ten years of service immediately before retirement in the SCNG; and received an honorable discharge from the National Guard of South Carolina.
o At 65 (if eligible) an updated (Indefinite, Blue) Retiree card will be issued with new health benefit information. TRICARE For Life is Medicare-wraparound coverage for TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and B.
Please contact the Retirement Services Office (803) 299-4260 for more information.
Life Insurance – Accelerated Benefit Claims
Accelerated Benefit Claims
The Accelerated Benefit Option gives terminally-ill SGLI, Family SGLI and VGLI Policyholders access to the death benefits of their policies before they die. The Member may receive a portion of the face value of the insurance in a lump sum payment.
A Member is eligible to receive an Accelerated Benefit if he/she or a covered Spouse has a valid written prognosis from a physician of 9 months or less to live.
Only the insured Member may apply for an Accelerated Benefit. No one else can apply on the Member’s behalf. In the case of a terminally ill Spouse, only the Member may apply for accelerated benefits. (Please contact the National Guard Liaison (Ft. Knox, KY) for exceptions).
The amount of Accelerated Benefit available to a Member is up to 50% of the face value of the Member’s insurance coverage. If a Member elects less than the maximum, the amount requested must be in increments of $5,000.
Remaining Insurance Value
The remaining portion of the face value of insurance which is not paid in a lump sum as an accelerated benefit is payable to the Member’s designated Beneficiary or Beneficiaries upon his or her death. In the case of a terminally ill Spouse, the remainder of the insurance is payable to the Member upon the Spouse’s death.
How to Apply
- SGLI and VGLI Policyholders, use Form 8284, Service Member/Veteran Accelerated Benefits Option
- Spouses covered under Family SGLI, use Form 8284A, Service Member Family Coverage Accelerated Benefits Option
The application contains one part to be completed by the insured and a second part to be completed by the insured’s physician. In addition, the branch of service for active duty Service Members must complete part of the form.
Send the completed application to:
Office of Service members’ Group Life Insurance
80 Livingston Avenue
Roseland, NJ 07068-1733
The National Guard Liaison Team Line information:
Telephone number: (502) 613-4551
For more information, read chapter 5 of the SGLI VGLI Handbook, or contact OSGLI
Army Reserve & Guard Payment Procedure
Reserve (TPU) and Guard Members in a pay or non-pay status accumulate debts for unpaid SGLI premiums on their Defense Joint Military Pay System – Reserve Component Master Military Pay Account (DJMS-RC MMPA). TPU Reserve or National Guard Soldiers with a DFAS Debt Notice (or an SGLI Debt reflected on their LES) must mail their payment to:
DFAS-IN Disbursing Operations
Attn: Collection Department 3292
8899 E. 56th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46249
For Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or Individual Mobilization Augmentation (IMA) Soldiers that are “Attached” and “Drilling for Points Only”, HRC will send out individual billing notices semi-annually. Soldiers in this category are required to send their payments to the address below (which is reflected in the HRC notices):
U.S. Army Human Resources Command
Human Resource Service Center/ SGLI
1600 Spearhead Division Ave Dept. #420
Fort Knox, KY 40122-5402
Check or money order should be made out to the “Collection Agent, DSSN 5570”. It should be clearly marked “SGLI payment” and have Soldier’s full Social Security number visible.
- HRC cannot process payments for Reserve Troop Program Unit (TPU) Soldiers. They must contact their unit S1 or higher headquarters (US Army Reserve Command (USARC)).
- HRC cannot process payments for the National Guard (NG). They must contact the National Guard Bureau for the state in which they serve.
- HRC does not have visibility of SGLI records/information for TPU or National Guard Soldiers that will permit the tracking/posting of SGLI payments.
- Soldiers that have received a DFAS Debt Notice must contact DFAS or their last drilling unit for resolution of debt.
For inquiries regarding IRR/IMA SGLI coverage status or premium payments, call 502-613-9122 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. EST, Monday thru Friday, or Email: USARMY.KNOX.HRC.MBX.TAGD-SGLI@MAIL.MIL
Convalescence – Temporary Rating (Surgery/Immobilization)
Temporary Rating (Surgery/Immobilization)
A temporary 100% rating is for convalescence based on surgery or immobilization of a joint by a cast without surgery for a service-connected disability. The temporary 100% rating may continue for one to three months depending on individual circumstances. Extensions up to an additional three months may be granted in severe cases.
- You must be a Veteran.
- You must have had a surgical or other treatment performed by a VA or other approved hospital or outpatient facility for a service-connected disability.
- The evidence must show the surgery or treatment was for a service-connected disability, AND
- The surgery required convalescence of at least one month, OR
- The surgery resulted in severe postoperative residuals, such as incompletely healed surgical wounds, stumps of recent amputations, therapeutic immobilizations, house confinement, or required the use of a wheelchair or crutches, OR
- One major joint or more was immobilized by a cast without surgery.
If the surgery or procedure was at a VA facility, simply tell us when you apply and we will obtain the records for you.
A Veteran has a left knee condition rated 30% disabling. His VA physician has discussed the knee’s deterioration and they have decided to operate. Since the success of the surgery won’t be known for three months following the one week of hospitalization, the Veteran is granted a temporary 100% evaluation for three months, and his disability compensation is increased accordingly.
How to Apply
- Apply online using eBenefits, OR
- Work with an accredited representative or agent, OR
- Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you.
Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD)
Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) allows a Service Member to submit a claim for disability compensation 60 to 180 days prior to separation, retirement, or release from active duty or demobilization. BDD can help you receive VA disability benefits sooner, with a goal of within 60 days after release or discharge.
BDD requires a minimum of 60 days to allow sufficient time to complete the medical examination process (which may involve multiple specialty clinics) prior to separation from service. If you are closer than 60 days to separation from service, you can submit a Quick Start claim. BDD is available nationwide and open to all Service Members on full time active duty, including Members of the National Guard and Reserve. Members of the Coast Guard may also participate.
Requirements To Participate:
Do I have a known separation date? Yes
How far away is my known separation date? 60 – 180 days
When must I submit my service treatment records to VA? At the time claim is submitted
When and where must I complete all phases of my VA/DoD medical separation examination process? At point of separation, prior to release from the military
When may I apply? If you meet all of the BDD requirements above, you may apply for BDD 60-180 days prior to separation.
How to Apply:
To file a pre-discharge claim under BDD, do one of the following:
- Submit your application online using eBenefits and follow the instructions about where to submit your service treatment records
- Complete the VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, and submit it with copies of your service treatment records to the VA location nearest you.
- Call VA toll free at 1-800-827-1000 to have the claim form mailed to you
- Visit your local VA regional office. For the VA regional office nearest you, call VA toll-free at 1-800-827-1000.
TRICARE Changes to Nexium Coverage
Effective 28 June 2017, TRICARE will no longer include the drug Nexium in the preferred, or formulary, drug list, and it will no longer be available in military hospitals and clinics. In order to prepare for the change, patients are currently being asked to switch to one of the following three preferred alternatives that have been shown to demonstrate effective results.
Your doctor may determine that the preferred alternatives are not right for you and that Nexium is medically necessary. To be medically necessary means it is appropriate, reasonable, and adequate for your condition. In those cases, TRICARE will continue to cover the cost of Nexium, minus the $20 copay for a 90-day supply of home delivery and $24 copay for a 30-day supply via a retail outlet. On or after June 28, 2017, your doctor must submit a prior authorization and a reason why Nexium is medically necessary via the Express Scripts doctor line for you to fill your prescription. For patients who continue to use Nexium with a prior authorization but WITHOUT a doctor’s medical necessity determination, the non-formulary copay cost will be $49 for a 90-day supply via home pharmacy delivery or $50 for a 30-day supply via a retail outlet.
What is GERD and how is it treated?
Nexium is a popular drug to treat gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a chronic digestive disease, which occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus (or food pipe). This acid irritates the lining of the esophagus which over time can lead to GERD. Many people can make lifestyle changes and take over-the-counter medication to manage their GERD symptoms. Others need stronger medicine to reduce symptoms. Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) is the drug class used to treat GERD. PPIs decrease the amount of acid created in the stomach and relieve GERD symptoms. The drugs also work to heal previous acid damage to the stomach and esophagus.
Advancement on the Retired List after 30 Years on Active Duty and the Retired Lists
The Army Grade Determination Review Board (AGDRB) determines the highest grade in which a Soldier served satisfactorily. A “satisfactory” determination of service at a particular grade has pay implications in three types of cases:
– Advancement on the retired list for enlisted Soldiers and Warrant Officers who previously held a higher grade after 30 years combined service on the active duty and retired lists (see application procedure below),
– Retiring Officers above the grade of Warrant Officer who have been the subject of adverse information since their last promotion, or
– Disability separations and retirements.
Advancement on the Retired List after 30 Years on Active Duty and the Retired Lists
Who May Apply
Under the provisions of Title 10, United States Code section 3964 (10 USC §3964), if you are an enlisted (E-1 through E-9) or Warrant Officer (W-1 through W-5) Retiree with less than thirty years of active service who previously held a higher grade, you can apply for advancement to that higher grade on the retired list. This applies to former Members of the Regular Army, and reserve Members of the Army who were serving on active duty at the time of regular retirement. In the case of Members of the National Guard, full-time National Guard duty is considered active duty. Those who retired as a commissioned officer above a warrant grade (O-1 through O-10) are not eligible.
In order to be advanced on the retired list to the highest grade held satisfactorily, you had to have actually held that higher grade. Simply stated, you must have been promoted to, paid in that grade, and served at that grade for the required statutory or regulatory time. Merely serving in, “acting as” or holding a position or job title authorized a higher grade is not sufficient. If you were an enlisted Member or a Warrant Officer and also held a reserve commission, you may be eligible for advancement on the retired list if you served on active duty in that higher Commissioned Officer rank for the required statutory or regulatory period of time. For example, if a retired E-7 during his or her career on active duty also served on active duty in his or her reserve status for more than thirty consecutive days as a W-1 through W-5, or at least six months as an O-1 through O-4, or at least three years as an O-5 or above, then the Retiree may be eligible for advancement on the retired list. However, a retired enlisted Soldier who held a reserve commission while serving on active duty in the Regular Army in an enlisted status (sometimes referred to as “dual status”), is not eligible for advancement [to the Reserve Officer grade unless they served in the officer grade on active duty] absent the required service on active duty in the officer status.
When to Apply
You should submit your application when you reach a total of 30 years time on active duty plus time on the retired list. Although Army Regulation 15-80 allows applications to be submitted prior to reaching the 30-year point when misconduct is not an issue, neither the Human Resources Command nor the Defense Finance and Accounting Service have a suspense system that can accommodate early applications.
How to Apply
If you qualify under 10 USC ‘3964, you should request a review by the AGDRB. Army Regulation 15-80 and a sample application letter is attached.
Mail your application letter to the Army Review Boards Agency, AGDRB, 1901 South Bell Street, 2nd Floor, Arlington, VA 22202-4508. The AGDRB, consisting of three field grade Officers, will convene to determine the highest grade you served satisfactorily while on active duty. Since you are not entitled to appear in person before the AGDRB, you should attach a copy of any relevant documents you have.
If the AGDRB decides to advance you on the retired list, your resulting increase in retired pay will be retroactive to the date you became eligible; that is, the thirty-year mark, not back to the date of retirement or the date of your application. The thirty-year mark is the date you accumulated thirty years of combined active duty service and time on the retired list. Active duty service does NOT include Section 1405 service.
For those who will be receiving non-regular retired pay based on service in a Reserve Component, AR 135-180 authorizes the US Army Human Resources Command to make final determinations on the highest grade served when reduction was not due to misconduct, inefficiency or for cause. If you will be receiving non-regular retired pay and you were reduced for other reasons, such as a down-grade of your position or a reduction in rank caused by a reduction in force or transfer between positions, you should write to: Commander; US Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-PDR-RCR, 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Dept 420, Ft. Knox, KY 40122-5402 when you apply for non-regular retired pay Your letter should explain the circumstances surrounding your promotions and “demotions,” the grade at which you retired, and the highest grade you held. You should also include a copy of any supporting documentation that you may have, such as promotion orders, reduction orders, and DD Forms 214. Please include your full name, social security number and if applicable, your service number. If you are receiving non-regular retired pay and you believe your retired pay should be based on a higher grade, you can apply to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) for a correction.
2017 NDAA Reserve Component Survivors Benefit Plan (SBP) Changes by Bill Hursh
The following article was written by Mr. Bill Hursh:
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2017) changed the law to eliminate the survivor benefit inequity between Soldiers who die on active duty in the line of duty and Soldiers who die on Inactive Duty for Training (IDT) in the line of duty.
The survivor benefit for Soldiers who die on IDT in the line of duty after Dec. 23, 2016 will be calculated as if the Soldier was being retired from active duty with a 100 percent disability rating. The survivor benefit will be 55 percent of the calculated retired pay. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will recalculate the survivor benefit for the Survivors of Soldiers who died on IDT in the line of duty since Sept. 10, 2001 but will pay these additional amounts only back to the enactment of the law, Dec. 23, 2016. Address any questions concerning the adjustment of the survivor benefit for a Soldier who died on IDT to DFAS, (800) 321-1080.
The law also changed the following beneficiary rules for Soldiers who die on Inactive Duty for Training (IDT) in the line of duty:
– Effective Dec. 23, 2016, surviving Spouses who lose survivor benefit eligibility for any reason will have the survivor benefit go to any eligible Children. The effective date of the Child’s annuity will be on or after Dec. 23, 2016. DFAS will automatically make the change.
– Spouses may request to be excluded from the survivor benefit and the survivor benefit go to eligible Children. This is beneficial because a Spouse’s survivor benefit is offset dollar for dollar by a Spouse’s dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There is no offset of a Child’s survivor benefit by DIC. For IDT deaths prior to Dec. 23, 2016, the surviving Spouse should contact the Army Human Resources Command (HRC), at (502) 613-8950 for additional information and or assistance.
– When there is no one else eligible for survivor benefits at the death of the Soldier, an election may be made by the Service for someone otherwise not eligible for survivor benefits but authorized an ID card under US Code, Title 10, Section 1072(2) as the deceased Soldier’s Dependent. For additional information and or assistance concerning the Child only Spouse
Effective Dec. 23, 2017, Soldiers who die on IDT whose surviving Spouses’ survivor benefit is offset by DIC will receive Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA). The SSIA amount is $310 through June 1, 2018 when it will end if not extended by Congress. DFAS will automatically establish the SSIA.
Military Retirement Payments Subject to Federal Payment Levy Program
Military Retirees who owe federal taxes may have their military retired pay levied in order to pay an overdue tax bill. The Internal Revenue Service added military retirement payments to the Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP) in March 2017. Military retired pay can now be levied (reduced) by 15 percent through the Federal Payment Levy Program. The federal tax levy could remain in place until the Member’s tax debt is satisfied.
What You Should Know
The Federal Payment Levy Program only goes into effect if a Retiree has not paid their taxes on time or made arrangements to pay his or her overdue tax bill. Usually, an overdue tax occurs when someone doesn’t have enough taxes withheld from their military retirement and other income.
Before a levy is issued, the Retiree will receive the following from the IRS:
- An initial tax bill with information on what is owed and how to pay it
- A final tax bill with information on what is owed, how to pay it, what can happen if it isn’t paid and an explanation of their appeal rights
The IRS will not issue a levy if the Member pays what they owe, or makes payment arrangements, within 30 days after the final billing notice is sent.
Once it is imposed, the 15 percent levy stays in place until the debt is paid or payment arrangements made. The remaining balance of the retired pay after the levy is deducted is sent to the taxpayer. The Federal Payment Levy Program does not apply to people:
- In bankruptcy,
- Who have been granted a temporary delay of collection due to hardship, or
- That qualify for relief as an innocent Spouse or injured Spouse.
Military retirement disability payments will not be levied through FPLP. Tools and information to help Retirees with their taxes are available through the IRS website at IRS.gov.
DFAS’s mailing address has changed
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service’s addresses for Retirees and Annuitants have changed effective May 1, 2017. The new addresses are:
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Retired Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis IN 46249-1200
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Annuitant Pay
8899 E 56th Street
Indianapolis IN 46249-1300
The old PO boxes in London, Kentucky will remain open for one year with all mail forwarded to the new address. However, sending mail to the old address will add three to five days to normal processing times. The telephone and fax numbers are not changing. Please disseminate to lowest level.
Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Premium Calculations
The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) was established in 1972 as a way for Retirees to financially provide for their loved ones after their death. Retirees can elect their Spouse or former Spouse, their Spouse and Children, or just their Children as Beneficiaries. Retirees pay a premium for this coverage, and the amount of the premium is specific to amount of coverage and beneficiary elected. Below is are examples of how the premiums for Spouse only coverage are calculated. Spouse-only is the most commonly elected form of coverage and understanding how it is calculated may help you understand the details of how the premiums of other forms of coverage are calculated as well.
Retirees can select a base amount for coverage under the plan from a minimum of $300.00 up their full gross retirement pay. After their death, the SBP Beneficiary will get 55% of the selected base amount. Although SBP is a free benefit for everyone on active duty, after retirement there is a cost for the coverage. The monthly cost for Spouse-only SBP is 6.5% of the base amount selected. For example, if the Retiree elects full SBP and has a gross pay of $1,000.00 per month, the monthly cost for SBP is $65.00. If that same Retiree elects a reduced base amount of $600.00 for coverage under the plan, the monthly cost would be $39.00 per month.
If a Reservist elects SBP, there is one additional election that they must make. In addition to electing a Beneficiary and a base amount for coverage, Reservists must also elect either deferred or immediate coverage. If the Member elects deferred coverage, the Member’s Spouse would not receive SBP until the date the Member would have turned 60 years old. In this case, there is no difference in cost from a regular Retiree.
If the Member selected immediate coverage, his or her Beneficiary would start receiving benefits effective the day after the Member’s death, regardless of whether the Member’s death occurred before age 60. There is an additional cost for this type of coverage of 3.5% of the monthly base pay selected.
For example, a Reservist who selects immediate coverage at the full amount of his gross pay ($1,000 in this example) would pay $65.00 for SBP and an additional $35.00 for the immediate coverage component. If that same Reservist elects a reduced base amount of $600.00, the SBP premium would be $39.00 per month and the immediate coverage cost would be $21.00. Neither the cost for SBP nor the additional 3.5% begin until retirement at age 60 even though the benefit would be immediate should the Retiree pass away before age 60. In such cases the cost of the program is covered by the premiums paid by those that do survive past 60.
It is important to note that the Reserve component of SBP does not have any cost until the Retiree turns 60 years old and starts collecting retired pay. At age 60 the cost begins. It is not a debt repayment; it is the actual monthly cost of a benefit the Member elected when they entered the “Gray area.”
A New Feature in the Customer Care Center
During peak service hours (on pay dates and during tax season) it can be a challenge for Retirees and Annuitants to reach a Customer Service Representative in the Cleveland Customer Care Center (DFAS). Members who cannot wait in one of the call queues may have to hang up and call back. When they do, they lose their place in line and have to start their wait period all over. To reduce the frustration associated with this situation, the Cleveland Customer Care Center has added a new feature.
“Welcome to Call Back Assist, press 1 to leave a callback request or press 2 to continue holding”. Have you ever heard this message when calling the Cleveland Care Center? This message is the offer for the Customer Care Center Enterprise Solution Call Back Assist (CBA) feature. The CBA system activates anytime a customer experiences a wait time greater than one minute.
If the Customer presses “1”, he or she can request a callback instead of waiting in queue. If the Customer opts for a callback, they can enter the phone number they wish to be called at and hang up without losing their place in the call wait line. When it is their turn, the Call Back Assist system will call them and connect them to a CSR.
This program has been in place on a limited basis for some time. It has been so successful that the Cleveland Care Center recently expanded the CBA to the Annuity, Garnishment, Retired Pay 2, Marines, and Casualty call types. These are the complex calls where the CSR needs to do more research to resolve the customer’s inquiry. When the Customer Care Center receives a CBA, they will wait until the Customer picks up, greet the Customer and proceed normally like any other call.