SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The New Year brings many changes, including those affecting military pay and benefits.
The Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System is a new system combining aspects of the traditional Legacy Retirement System and the Thrift Savings Plan, which took effect Jan 1.
This new system applies to members in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps.
“BRS offers military members the opportunity to leave the military with something, even if they don’t stay until retirement,” said Liz Archuleta, 50th Force Support Squadron, community readiness consultant. “It can be a nice start to a long-term retirement system.”
The opt-in window to enroll in BRS took effect Jan.1, 2018 and will end Dec. 31, 2018. All new service members entering the uniformed services on or after Jan. 1, will be enrolled in the new retirement system, officials said. Those serving on or before Dec. 31, 2017, remain in the traditional retirement plan; however, those with less than 12 Years of Service as of Dec. 31, 2017, are eligible to opt-in to BRS.
“Something members should know is nobody will automatically be moved to BRS,” Archuleta said. “You have to physically go into myPay to opt-in if you choose to do so.”
Major differences between BRS and LRS is members must serve at least two years to be TSP-vested compared to fulfilling 20 years of service in the traditional retirement system. Also, a higher percentage of members earn retirement benefits in BRS than LRS.
According to officials, more than 80 percent of those who join the military do not retire and therefore do not invest toward their retirement. Having this plan in effect will change that.
The government will contribute one percent of basic pay in members’ TSP accounts every month. Additionally, after two years of service, the government will match the member’s contributions in TSP up to four percent. This results in members being able to have an existing retirement fund they can take with them even if they leave the service before 20 years.
Another component of BRS is continuation pay rates, which Air Force leaders recently announced.
“This is a way to encourage Airmen to stay in the Air Force for a longer period of time,” Archuleta said. “Continuation pay is similar to a retention bonus. Members will receive continuation pay at 12 years of service in return for a commitment of four years of service.”
Service members can get more information about the BRS by calling the Airman & Family Readiness Center at 567-3920 to schedule an appointment. The A&FRC will also conduct a BRS training in the Building 210 First Term Airmen Center 8 a.m. Jan. 18.
“Airmen should think long and hard and make an informed decision before choosing,” Archuleta said. “Once it is made there is no reversing it.”
To opt-in to BRS, visit myPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil/). For additional information, visit http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/.