For Retired Soldiers And Family Members
This Handbook has been prepared by the HQDA, Retirement Service Office, ODCSPER, DAPE-RSO, 300 Army Pentagon, Washington DC, 20310-0300
This Handbook is for information purposes only. It does not make or change policy or regulation Retirees and family members should contact their Army Installation Retirement Services Officers for detailed or additional information.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Records and Files
Chapter 3 - Military Status
Chapter 4 - Employment Restrictions
Chapter 5 - Military Retired Pay
Chapter 6 - Taxation of Retired Pay
Chapter 7 - Medical Benefits
Chapter 8 - Burial and Military Honors
Chapter 9 - Survivors Assistance
Chapter 10 - Survivor Benefits
Chapter 11 - Retirement Homes
Chapter 12 - Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act
Chapter 13 - VA Benefits
Chapter 14 - Social Security
Chapter 15 - References and Abbreviations
1-1. Handbook for Retired Soldiers and Their Family Members
a. This handbook outlines military status after retirement, discusses benefits and privileges, and provides other information, which may be helpful in administering personal affairs.
b. The benefits and privileges referred to in the handbook apply to soldiers who have retired from the U.S Army since its date of publication and are receiving Army retired pay. In the case of a retired reserve soldier with 20 qualifying years, entitlement to receive Army retired pay is not established until age 60.
c. This handbook should be made available to family members because it contains information concerning rights, benefits, and privileges to which they are entitled as a result of a spouse’s military service.
d. Many of the benefits listed are administered by government agencies other than Department of the Army. Eligibility for these benefits is determined by the government agency responsible.
1-2. Army Retirement Services Program.
a. The Army's Retirement Services Program was started in November 1955 to provide an effective channel of communication between the Active Army and retired soldiers. The program is basically educational in nature. The Army is concerned with the well being and wants to keep them informed of the benefits and privileges to which they, their eligible family members, and survivors may be entitled.
b. The Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) is designed to enhance and improve the Retirement Services Program by offering transition job assistance programs to retirees and family members before retirement, and for up to 60 days after retirement.
1-3. Retirement Services Offices.
Retirement Services Offices have been established at most major Army installations. A listing of Retirement Services Offices is published in each issue of Army Echoes, the HQDA retiree bulletin, and at www.odcsper.army.mil/retire/rso.asp. These offices are available to assist retirees and family members with military retirement matters. Retirees are invited to call, write or visit these offices when they need assistance.
1-4. Army Echoes.
Army Echoes is a HQDA bulletin published and mailed to retired soldiers and surviving annuitant spouses. It keeps recipients informed of significant changes to laws that affect them and discusses changes in the active Army. Because some laws and directives require action on the retiree and spouse’s part, they are urged to read each issue of Army Echoes carefully and file it with this handbook.
1-5. Chief of Staff Army Retiree Council.
In March 1972, the Army Chief of Staff Officer and Enlisted Retiree Councils were established as part of the Army Retirement Services Program. The Council consists of 14 retirees (7 officer and 7 enlisted). A retired lieutenant general and a retired Sergeant Major of the Army, or a retired Command Sergeant Major serve as co-chairpersons. The objective of the council is to provide the CSA an insight into the issues and concerns of retires and family members.
1-6. Installation Retiree Councils.
Retiree councils have been established at most Army installations. Issues raised by these councils are either solved at the local level or submitted as issues for the Chief of Staff Army Retiree Council to consider, if the issue has Army-wide implications. To take part in this program, retirees can volunteer to serve on local installation retiree councils. Volunteers serving on the Chief of Staff, Army Retiree Council are nominated from retired soldiers who serve on installation councils.
1-7. Retired Army Lapel Button.
Retirees are authorized to wear a Retired Army Lapel Button, which is a distinctive insignia consisting of the Department of the Army Seal, gold colored in low relief, within an olive-colored ring. The words "United States Army Retired" are inscribed on the ring in gold letters with a gold star between each word. Retirees are issued a lapel button at retirement. It also can be purchased from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service or military specialty stores.
1-8. Retired Army Shoulder Patch.
The Army has authorized a "U.S. Retired" shoulder patch which retired soldiers can wear on the left shoulder of their uniform at official functions or on civilian clothing (See paragraph 3-8 on wearing the uniform as a retired soldier). The red, white, and blue patch consists of a coat of arms symbolizing the nation within a circle representing accomplishment and completion of a career in the United States Army. The patch is not issued, but it may be purchased in military clothing sales stores.
1-9. Community Relations.
Retired soldiers are a valuable link between the Active Army and the general public. Their knowledge makes them an effective spokesperson for the Army in the civilian community. Their example and influence can help the Army maintain the kind of public support essential to our national defense. Retired soldiers living near Army installations can be particularly helpful in promoting good relationships between the installations and communities. No other group can better understand the feelings and problems of both the civilian and military communities. By serving as a liaison between the two sectors, retirees help them work together toward common goals. There are many ways in which retirees can serve as an active representative of the Army in your community. Speaking before civic groups, professional and business clubs, and veterans' organizations is one way. Writing newspaper articles on military subjects of current interest to the Active Army is another. Explaining opinions of the Army's position in letters to the editors of newspapers and in conversations with friends and neighbors is most effective. Retirees can help other transitioning soldiers by asking local employers to join the Army Employer Network (AEN), a component of the Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP). The AEN is a network of employers who have recognized the value of former soldiers as employees. Employers in the network list those occupations for which they continually recruit and the way former soldiers may contact them. Tell managers and human resources departments about the AEN and have them call the ACAP information line, 1-800-445-2049. The AEN is free to participating employers. The Army hopes that retirees will do their part in maintaining and strengthening the prestige of the Army and promoting good will between the Army and the general public. Retirees may contact an installation public affairs officer for more ways to help in the field of community relations.
1-10. Army Community Services (ACS) Program.
ACS centers are the hub for social service programs on installations. The programs promote wholesome communities that foster self-reliance and family resiliency. Retired soldiers and their families are eligible to use many of the ACS programs. Retirees and family members are encouraged to become ACS volunteers.
1-11. Installation Volunteer Coordinators.
Most major Army installations have established an office to coordinate their volunteer efforts. Retired soldiers and their family members, because of their wealth of personal experience and insight into many aspects of the military life-style, are in demand as volunteers. Retirees and family members can provide a vital service for the Army's family support programs. To volunteer, retirees and family members should contact their installation volunteer coordinator. It is not necessary that a person volunteer 40 hours a week or five days a week. Even one day or one hour can provide a vital service.
1-12. Assistance to Local Army Recruiter.
Retirees perform a great service by encouraging capable and intelligent young people to select the Army as a career. These young people will pay particular attention to counsel from men and women who have found satisfaction in their own service.
RECORDS AND FILES
a. A good plan is supported by documentation, records and files. To plan for tomorrow, one must start today-- one step at a time. To plan is to take charge of one’s future. Not to plan is to let the future "just happen."
b. A successful retirement requires not only planning today, but also constant reevaluation and updating in the future. Time will clearly illustrate how quickly plans become outdated. Updating financial plans is even more critical because what is fiscally sound today may not be in five to ten years. Inflation, in conjunction with changing personal circumstances, can erode a fiscally sound plan.
c. The first step in planning and determining tomorrow's needs is knowing what one has today. Therefore, retirees are urged to develop a listing of assets and a list the location of important documents which survivors will need to claim them. Family members should be told where this information is on file and should have ready access to this handbook.
2-2. Lost Records and files.
Lost or misplaced records and files create problems for retired soldiers, and their spouses and survivors when they apply for benefits. Soldiers should make and retain a copy of their complete medical and personnel records before turning them in for final outprocessing. These records should be kept in a safe place for future reference. Preparing a will, purchasing insurance, electing coverage under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), or having a service-connected disability determination made by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are all very important actions. Lack of documentation often causes delayed benefits or a complete loss of benefits. It is especially frustrating when this occurs at a very critical or emotional time. The point is to maintain copies of documents in a place easily accessible.
2-3. Replacement of Lost Military Records.
Copies of military records can be requested by writing to: National Personnel Records Center, ATTN: Army Reference Branch (NCPMA), 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200. All requests must include the full name and Social Security number of the person whose records are being requested. Installation Retirement Services Officers are available to provide guidance in this and other matters.
2-4. Correction of Military Records.
a. Using DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military or Naval Record, a retiree, their survivors, or a legal representative may request a correction to military records. The completed DD Form 149 should be submitted to: Commander, AR-PERSCOM, 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200. DD Form 149 may be obtained from a Retirement Services Officer.
b. In order to justify correction of a military record, the applicant must, to the satisfaction of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records, prove that the alleged entry or omission in the record was in error or unjust. This board considers all applications and makes recommendations to the Secretary of the Army. An application for correction of record must be filed within three years after discovering the error or injustice. If filed after the three year deadline, the applicant must include in the application reasons the board should find it in the interest of justice to accept the late application.
c. Evidence may include affidavits or signed testimony executed under oath, and a brief of arguments supporting the application. All evidence not already included in one’s record must be submitted. The responsibility for securing new evidence rests with the applicant, not the US Army.
2-5. Change of Address.
a. Soldiers in receipt of retired pay and annuitants. Prompt reporting of any change in address is essential for the continued receipt of retired pay or, in the case of survivors, continued receipt of an annuity from the Survivor Benefit Plan. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service - Cleveland Center (DFAS-CL) maintains two separate mailing lists, one for pay and one for all other correspondence which includes Army Echoes, Retiree Pay Account statements and income tax forms (1099R). Retired soldiers and annuitants who receive their pay by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) often forget to change their home address, because their pay continues to the financial institution regardless of a change in residence. Keep your address current. Send changes of address to: Defense Finance & Accounting Service - Cleveland Center (DFAS-CL), PO Box 99191, Cleveland, OH 44199-1126 46249-0001. Survivors in receipt of Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) annuities must forward their address changes to Defense Finance and Accounting Service - Denver Center (DFAS-DE/FRB), 6760 E. Irvington Place, Denver CO 80279-6000. Army Installation Retirement Service Offices are also available to assist in changing addresses.
b. Retired soldiers are subject to mobilization. Therefore, they must also submit changes of address to the AR-PERSCOM, 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200.
c. Gray area retired soldiers. Gray area retired soldiers receive Army Echoes upon receipt of their 20-year letter. They should send changes of address to Commander, AR-PERSCOM, 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200.
d. Non-annuitant spouses. Surviving spouses, not in receipt of SBP, do not receive Army Echoes; therefore, they do not need to notify DFAS-DE of changes of address. Changes should still be reported to DEERS via any military ID card issuing facility.
e. Former spouses. Former spouses of retired soldiers do not receive Army Echoes. Former spouses who are eligible for ID Card benefits should, however, keep their address current with Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) via any military ID card issuing facility.
f. Soldiers and survivors receiving benefits from Department of Veterans Affairs. Soldiers and survivors receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs should notify their local VA office (1-800-827-1000) of address changes.
2-6. Identification (ID) cards.
a. Identification cards are issued to retirees and eligible family members as a means of identification and as authorization for various benefits and privileges. DD form 2A (Ret) (blue) (Armed Forces Identification Card) is issued to retired soldiers who are entitled to retired pay, even though they may have waived their pay in favor of VA compensation, or because of employment with or retirement from the Federal Government. DD Form 1173 (Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card) is issued to eligible family members of living and deceased retired soldiers. The DD Form 1173 identifies the family member as being eligible for medical care, commissary, exchange, and theater privileges. Medical care at military facilities may be used on a space-available basis.
b. Retired soldiers and eligible family members who are enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) may apply to any military identification card issuing facility for issue. If not enrolled in DEERS, they must present supporting documents such as retirement orders, marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc. Family members may apply for an ID card without the retired sponsor; however, the sponsor's signature must be notarized before the completed application is presented to the ID Card Issuing Facility.
c. The Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card is the property of the U.S. Government. It is not transferable, and must be surrendered by the retired soldier or family member upon any change in status affecting eligibility, expiration of the card, or upon request of the military authorities. Cards should be returned to Commander, U.S. Army Total Personnel Command, ATTN: TAPC-PDO-IP, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22331.
d. Generally, the following individuals are eligible for military ID Cards. The final decision is based on DA regulations and policies. Always call before going in for an ID card issuing office.
(1) Retired soldiers in receipt of retired pay, or would be in receipt of retired pay but for the receipt of VA compensation or a Civil Service retirement annuity.
(2) Spouses of individuals in (1) above.
(3) Certain former spouses of individuals in (1) above. (See Chapter 12 for former spouse benefits)
(4) Children, including step-children and adopted children, under age 21, or under 23 and attending school full time, or any age if incapacitated before the age of 21 (23 if in school at the onset of the incapacity) and dependent upon the retired sponsor in (1) above for more than one-half their support.
(5) Parents, parents-in-law, and adopted parents, if dependent on the retired sponsor in (1) above for more than one-half of their support.
e. Paperwork for incapacitated children over 21 and dependent parents must be approved for medical benefits entitlements by
2-7. Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
DEERS is a computerized data bank containing information on military sponsors (active, reserve/guard, retired) and their beneficiaries who may be eligible for medical care and other military privileges. The data bank is automatically updated when a new ID card is obtained. Retired soldiers who acquire new family members after retirement should contact the nearest ID Card Issuing Facility for information on ID Card issue and DEERS enrollment.
2-8. Stateside military installation privileges.
a. Retirees, eligible family members, and unremarried surviving spouses are authorized the use of various morale, welfare, and recreation facilities on military installations when adequate facilities are available.
b. The availability to accommodate retired soldiers varies widely at different Army installations. The local installation commander determines whether these facilities may be used by retired soldiers. This determination is usually based on whether the facilities can accommodate retired soldiers without creating hardships for active duty soldiers. Retirees and family members are authorized use of commissary and Post Exchange facilities in the United States regardless of store adequacy.
c. Your military ID card is sufficient proof of eligibility.
2-9. Overseas installation privileges.
a. Many retired soldiers who have traveled overseas have been disappointed to learn that they are not permitted to use the service facilities of an overseas U.S. military base -- a privilege to which they normally would be entitled within the United States. Army regulations regarding exchange and commissary privileges for retired soldiers are applicable overseas only to the extent agreed upon by the foreign governments concerned, better known as Status of Forces of Agreement (SOFA). Sometimes certain facilities are so limited in an overseas area that their use cannot be extended to retired soldiers. Medical facilities in some foreign countries are designed and staffed only for active duty soldiers and their eligible family members, and use by retired soldiers and their family members must be severely limited.
b. Before traveling overseas, contact officials at the overseas location to determine the privileges available. Retirement Services Officer (RSO) can provide their current address.
2-10. Locating former and retired soldiers.
The Privacy Act prevents the Department of the Army from releasing the home addresses of former and retired soldiers to private individuals (including other soldiers and spouses of soldiers) without the express written consent of the soldier. The Army no longer provides a locator service, therefore, one of the several services available from private entities must be used.
3-1. Composition of Retired List.
a. At retirement retirees are placed on one of the following lists:
(1) U.S. Army (USA) Retired List. Regular Army commissioned officers, warrant officers, and enlisted soldiers, retired for any reason, who are granted retired pay under any provision of law, are placed on the U.S. Army Retired List.
(2) Army of the United States (AUS) Retired List. The Army of the United States Retired List is for officers, other than Regular Army officers, who are members and former members of the Reserve Components (U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard of the United States) and soldiers who served in the Army of the United States without component who are granted retired pay under any provision of law; and retired warrant officers and enlisted soldiers of the Regular Army who, by reason of service in temporary commissioned grades, are entitled to receive retired pay of the commissioned grades.
(3) Temporary Disability Retired List. The Temporary Disability Retired List
(TDRL) is for officers, warrant officers, and enlisted soldiers who are retired for disabilities which may or may not be permanent.
3-2. The Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL).
a. Soldiers placed on the TDRL must take a physical examination at least once every 18 months at a time and place designated by the U.S. Total Army Personnel Command
(PERSCOM). After each periodic reevaluation, including review at Headquarters, Department of the Army, a decision is made that the soldier will - -
(1) continue on the TDRL with the same disability rating subject to further examinations;
(2) be removed from the TDRL and permanently retired if the disability is permanent and rated at 30 percent or more, or if the disability is permanent and rated at less than 30 percent, but the soldier has completed 20 or more years of creditable service;
(3) be discharged from the service with severance pay if the soldier's disability is determined to be less than 30 percent and the soldier does not have 20 years of service creditable for retirement;
(4) be removed from the TDRL with a finding of physically fit. A soldier who is found to be physically fit will be re-appointed or re-enlisted, with the soldier's consent, in the component in which he or she was serving immediately before being placed on the
TDRL. If the date of reappointment and placement on the Active Duty List (ADL) is after the date a Regular Army (RA) officer was subject to mandatory retirement because of age, years
AFCS, SERB selection or promotion on-selection, or if an OTRA officer and the reappointment date is on a date after the officer was to be involuntarily separated because of years AFS or promotion non-selection, RA officers will be mandatorily retired and OTRA officers involuntarily separated on the last day of the month following the month in which the officer is re-appointed.
b. Soldiers may be carried on the TDRL for a maximum of 5 years. After the 5-year period, retired pay is terminated and the soldier's name is removed from the list by one of the actions outlined above.
c. TDRL retirees must report immediately any change of address to the Commander, U.S. Total Army Personnel Command, ATTN:
DAPC-POS-RD, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, VA 22332, to ensure they receive notification of their next periodic medical examination. Soldiers traveling or living abroad also are required to undergo a medical examination at least once every 18 months. Failure to report for an examination after receipt of notification, is cause to terminate disability retired pay.
d. Soldiers on the TDRL who have waived their Army retired pay to receive disability compensation from VA must continue to take periodic medical examinations when ordered by the Secretary of the Army. If a patient in a VA hospital at the time of a scheduled periodic examination, the patient must notify
PERSCOM. PERSCOM will then obtain a report from the VA. This report will take the place of the periodic examination.
e. When corresponding with PERSCOM, print or type full name as it appears in military records and includes a Social Security number. If the retiree has served in more than one status (enlisted, warrant, commissioned), include all of these service numbers.
f. Soldiers on the TDRL are authorized travel allowances to and from the medical examination facility. Reimbursement usually is made at the facility.
g. If for any reason reimbursement for travel expenses is not granted, the retiree should contact the commander of the facility where the examination took place.
h. Transportation Requests (TRs) can be obtained from the nearest military installation. The TR will authorize travel at no personal expense to cover the travel expenses to the medical facility.
3-3. Advancement on the Retired List.
When active duty service plus service on the U.S. Army Retired List totals 30 years, each warrant officer of the Army and each enlisted soldier of the Regular Army can be advanced on the Army of the United States (AUS) Retired List to the highest grade satisfactorily served on active duty. The Secretary of the Army decides what criteria constitute satisfactory service. Because those criteria may be revised from time to time, it is not practicable to include them in this handbook. The Army agency responsible for such actions, the U.S. Army Reserve Personnel Center
(AR-PERSCOM). AR-PERSCOM applies the most current criteria at the time the retired soldier has completed 30 years service.
3-4. Reserve Status of Retired Soldiers.
a. The U.S. Army Reserve consists of the Ready Reserve, the Standby Reserve, and the Retired Reserve.
b. Each soldier of the U.S. Army Reserve is placed in one of these categories.
(1) A Reserve officer and warrant officer who has retired after serving 20 years or more of active duty is placed on the Army of the United States (AUS) Retired List and immediately transferred to the Retired Reserve.
(2) An officer holding a commission in the Army Reserve who is retired for permanent disability and placed on the AUS Retired List is transferred to the Retired Reserve.
(3) An enlisted soldier of the Regular Army who retires from active duty with at least 20 but fewer than 30 years service automatically becomes a soldier of the Army Reserve until he or she has 30 years of active and retired service. The Army also assigns these people to the Retired Reserve. When they attain a combined total of 30 years service, they may remain in their dual status (U.S. Army Retired and U.S. Army Reserve Retired), or request
AR-PERSCOM to discharge them from the Army Reserve. Discharge from the Army Reserve in no way affects their retired pay or status on the U.S. Army Retired List. A Regular Army enlisted soldier who holds dual status as a Reserve commissioned or warrant officer may complete the remainder of service in either officer or enlisted status; in either case, the Army will transfer the soldier to the Retired Reserve upon retirement from active duty. If the soldier elects to complete 30 years service in enlisted status, status as a Reserve officer of the Army will be vacated automatically upon retirement, and the soldier will be transferred to the Retired Reserve in enlisted status.
3-5. Obligations for Military Service.
Regular Army retired soldiers remain subject to military law. This applies to those advanced to a higher grade on the AUS Retired List, as well as those enlisted soldiers assigned to the Retired Reserve to complete 30 years service. They may be ordered to active duty at any time by the President, and may be assigned to duties the President considers necessary in the interests of national defense.
a. The Secretary of the Army, with approval of the Secretary of Defense, may order any retired soldier of the Army's Reserve Components, with or without the soldier's consent, to active duty when the Congress declares the existence of a state of war or national emergency.
b. In the event of full mobilization (war), the Army has developed a program for recalling retired Army officers, warrant officers, and enlisted soldiers. This program preassigns retired soldiers, by skill, to CONUS
TDA/MOBTDA requirements considered suitable for fill by retired soldiers. These positions may be mobilization augmentation positions or spaces encumbered by active Army soldiers. When recalled, upon reporting for active duty, retired soldiers free more soldiers for deployment. Retired soldiers may also be deployed provided they are qualified and capable of performing duties related to their military occupational specialty. Selected retired soldiers may also be recalled to active duty, either voluntarily or involuntarily, to fill specific needs during contingency operations requiring less than full mobilization. In such cases,
AR-PERSCOM will issue orders recalling those selected and provide instructions to be followed.
c. Retired soldiers may be recalled up to age 64 for general officers, 62 for warrant officers, and 60 for all others.
d. A soldier of the Retired Reserve who receives retired pay or disability compensation and is recalled to active duty, active duty for training, or any other duty for which compensation is authorized, may receive only one type of payment.
3-7. Military Titles and Signatures.
a. All retired personnel not on active duty are permitted to use their military titles socially and in connection with commercial enterprises. Such military titles must never be used in any manner, which may bring discredit to the Army. The use of military titles is prohibited in connection with commercial enterprises when such use, with or without the intent to mislead, gives rise to any appearance of sponsorship or approval by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.
b. Military titles will not be a part of the signature block of a retired soldier when signing official correspondences as a civil service employee.
c. Retired soldiers not on active duty will not use their military titles in connection with public appearances outside the United States unless such use is authorized by the appropriate overseas commander.
d. When military titles are used by members to sign their names to documents that pertain to them personally, they must show that they are in a retired status after the grade as follows:
(1) USA Retired will be used by all Regular Army personnel retired for service, age, or physical disability including Regular Army personnel on the Temporary Disability Retired List.
(2) AUS Retired will be used by all personnel on the Army of the United States Retired List, including nonregular Army personnel on the Temporary Disability Retired List.
e. Social and business calling cards must reflect the retired status as shown above.
f. In a military office, retired soldiers using military titles on the telephone could lead to confusion and unwitting misrepresentation, conveying the impression of active duty status. In any case, common sense is the guide when a retired soldier works for the Government. No reasonable retired officer would invite awkwardness when employed in a military office by insisting on being called by military title, if such title outranks the retired soldier's active duty chief. The retired soldier's use of his rightful title in Government employment is guided by his acceptance of his civilian status and loyal conformance to the established channels of command. Local customs, practices, and conditions of employment are the primary influencing factors.
3-8. Wearing of the Uniform.
a. Wearing a uniform after retirement is a privilege granted in recognition of faithful service to country. Retirees should exercise this privilege whenever possible and in such a manner as to reflect credit upon themselves and the United States Army.
b. Soldiers who are advanced to a higher grade upon retirement may wear the insignia of such higher grade while participating in retirement ceremonies and thereafter.
c. Retired soldiers on active duty will wear the uniform and insignia prescribed for soldiers in the Active Army or corresponding grade and branch. Retired soldiers not on active duty may wear either the uniform reflecting their grade and branch on the date of their retirement or the uniform for soldiers in the Active Army of corresponding grade and branch, when appropriate. The two uniforms may not be mixed. The grade worn will be as shown on the retired grade of rank line on the retirement order.
d. Retired soldiers not on active duty are not authorized to wear shoulder sleeve insignia except as follows:
e. Junior ROTC instructors will wear the TRADOC shoulder sleeve insignia on their left shoulder.
f. The shoulder sleeve insignia of a former wartime unit may be worn on the right shoulder by retired soldiers who served in the unit.
g. The retired shoulder patch is worn on the left shoulder sleeve, centered one-half inch from the top.
h. Retired soldiers not on active duty are not authorized to wear the Army uniform when they are instructors or responsible for military discipline at an educational institution unless the educational institution is conducting courses of instruction approved by the Armed Forces.
i. Restrictions. Wear of the Army uniform is prohibited for all retired soldiers--
(1) In connection with the promotion of any political or commercial interests or when engaged in off duty civilian employment. Army Reserve technicians who are also soldiers of the Ready Reserve may wear the Army uniform at their option while on duty in their civil service status.
(2) When participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or public demonstrations, except as authorized by competent authority.
(3) When wearing the uniform would bring discredit upon the Army.
(4) When specifically prohibited by Army Regulations.
j. If there is any doubt about wearing the uniform to a function, the commander of the nearest Army installation should be contacted. Retired soldiers in a foreign country should contact the American Embassy, the American Consulate, or a U. S. military authority. The Retirement Services Officer can also provide information and assistance.
3-9. Decorations and Awards.
a. Retired soldiers who have not received the awards to which they are entitled, or who desire replacement of items previously issued which were lost, destroyed, or unfit for use without fault or neglect on their part, may obtain these items by writing to the
AR-PERSCOM, ATTN: DARP-PAS-EAW, 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200.
b. The original issue of all decorations and service medals is made without cost to the retiree. Replacements are made at cost. The request for replacement of awards should include an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the loss. No money should be mailed for replacements until instructed to do so. The Department of the Army does not issue or sell miniatures of decorations or awards. Miniatures may be purchased from dealers in military insignia.
c. The Department of Army does not become involved in the issuance or replacement of foreign decorations. Retired soldiers who have earned military decorations from a foreign nation must apply to that embassy directly for issue or reissue.
3-10. Legal Assistance.
Most military installations have legal assistance attorneys who are available for consultation and assistance on personal legal problems of a civil nature. This assistance is available to retired soldiers and their eligible family members. Assistance is not given in connection with matters relating to business pursuits.
3-11. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
a. Retirement is considered the same as discharge or relief from active duty for purposes of VA benefits. Therefore, the benefits administered by VA which are available to soldiers being discharged or relieved from active duty are available under the same conditions to retired soldiers.
b. VA has regional offices and centers throughout the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Republic of the Philippines. For information or assistance concerning VA benefits, contact the nearest VA office. Residents of foreign countries should contact the nearest American Embassy or Consulate. Toll-free telephone service (1-800-827-1000) is available in all 50 States.
c. Publications describing benefits administered by VA may be obtained at no cost from the nearest VA office or on the Internet at www.va.gov.
3-12. Army Emergency Relief.
a. Army Emergency Relief (AER), a private, nonprofit organization, was established in 1942 and is dedicated solely to "helping the Army take care of its own." AER provides three types of financial assistance to retired soldiers, and their families and survivors:
(1) Emergency assistance to retired soldiers and their families who are faced with a valid emergency often involving essentials of everyday living.
(2) Assistance to spouses and orphans of deceased soldiers based on an emergency, a sustaining need, or for special one-time needs.
(3) Educational assistance to unmarried dependent children of retired soldiers.
b. AER assistance is available primarily through AER sections at Army installations worldwide. When there is no AER section convenient, based on reciprocal agreements, assistance may also be obtained through Navy Relief Society Offices, Air Force Aid Society Offices, or local American Red Cross Chapters.
c. AER does not solicit funds outside the Army. The AER Annual Fund Campaign is conducted at Army installations from 1 March to 1 July. Contributions from retired soldiers may be sent to the nearest AER section or to Headquarters,
AER, Department of the Army, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, VA 22332. Deductions from retired pay is also an option for retirees.
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4-1. Standards of Conduct.
a. Retirees should not engage in personal or professional activities which are incompatible with the standards of conduct expected of active duty personnel. Retired Regular Army soldiers who are entitled to receive pay, including warrant officers and enlisted soldier advanced to a commissioned grade on the Army of the United States Retired List, are subject to the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Retired Regular Army officers are considered to be "officers of the United States" and, unless specifically exempted by law, are subject to any statutory restrictions imposed on officers of the United States even though such statutes do not specifically refer to retired members of the Armed Forces.
b. It is not feasible to cover all the provisions of law which restrict the activities of retired soldiers. Only the general context of the more important provisions are explained in this chapter. If there is any doubt as to whether or not a retiree may be in violation of a particular law by accepting employment with the Federal Government or with a firm doing business with the Government, advice on the matter should be obtained from the Ethics Counselor of the organization from which you retired or at the nearest military legal office.
4-2. Dual Compensation.
a. Retired soldiers are not precluded from holding civilian positions with the United States Government or its instrumentalities and will receive the full salary of the civilian office.
b. Retired regular commissioned and warrant officers subject to the Dual Compensation Act (Section 5532, Title 5 USC) ordinarily will have their retired pay reduced. Current amounts can be obtained from any
c. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 imposed a further limitation on all retired soldiers who first received retired or retainer pay after 11 January 1979, and became employed in a Federal civilian position after that date. While they are entitled to the full salary of the civilian position, if the amount of that salary combined with military retired pay exceeds the rate of pay for Executive Level V, a reduction of the military retired pay is required to reduce the combined pay to an amount equal to Level V pay. Cost of Survivor Benefit Plan is not included in this deduction. Current amounts can be obtained from any
RSO. If retired pay is based on disability resulting from injury or disease received in the line of duty as a direct result of armed conflict or caused by an instrumentality of war and incurred in line of duty during a period of war, it will not be reduced.
d. If eligible, retirees may waive receipt of retired pay and accept instead compensation from VA. VA compensation is not regarded as retired pay and thus is not subject to the Dual Compensation Act.
4-3. Employment in DOD.
a. The Dual Compensation Act of 1964 prohibits the employment of any retired member of the Armed Forces with the Department of Defense (including its non-appropriated fund activities) within 180 days following retirement.
b. The foregoing does not apply when--
(1) The appointment is authorized by the Secretary of a military department and, if appropriate, the Office of Personnel Management; or
(2) A state of national emergency exists.
c. The foregoing is not to be interpreted as preventing application for any position for which a retiree is qualified and meets the civil service requirements for such a position.
4-4. Business Activities.
a. Generally speaking, there is no provision of Federal law which prevents retirees from being employed by a domestic corporation or other concern doing business with or rendering services to the Government. There are no restrictions on the amount of compensation received from private employment, nor does the receipt of salary from a private firm have any effect on the amount of retired pay received.
b. Under the Harbord Amendment, regular Army officers forfeit retired pay on a day-for-day basis for every day in which he or she is engaged in selling any tangible goods to any agency of the Department of Defense (including its non-appropriated fund activities), or any other uniformed service (such as the Public Health Service). This restriction applies to the first three years of retirement. The term "tangible goods" includes any article of tangible personal property and real property, but does not include personal and professional services, such as transportation services, repair services, the supplying of public utilities, and the serving of meals in restaurants, even though tangible property is furnished as an incident to the service being performed. The forfeiture of retired pay applies to that period of employment during which the officer continues to engage in sales activities, and thereafter to the period covered by any contract resulting from those activities. However, this period may not exceed three years from the date of retirement.
c. Retired Regular Army officers are prohibited, within two years after retirement, from representing any person in the sale of anything to the Army. This statute is broader than the Harbord Amendment and includes sales of services as well as tangible property. The prohibition includes sales to nonappropriated fund activities under the control of the Department of the Army as well as to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service. It extends to any part of the sales process which involves contacts with representatives of the Department of the Army even though the goods or services involved are formally procured or utilized by some other agency of the Government. The statute prohibits only representation of others; it does not bar retired Regular Army officers from selling to the Department of the Army upon their own behalf and solely for their own benefit.
d. "Selling," for the purposes of the provisions discussed above, is defined as--
(1) Signing a bid, proposal, or contract.
(2) The Comptroller General has adopted the position that precontract contacts between retired officers representing companies selling to the Government and officials of Defense agencies should be viewed as within the sales prohibition unless clearly shown to be for some other purpose. Further, the fact that the sales contact was unsuccessful in a particular case does not afford any basis for ignoring its purpose.
e. Within this framework, the Comptroller General and the U.S. Court of Claims have concluded that among the specific sales activities prohibited by the Harbord Amendment are the demonstration of drugs, contacts with representatives of the departments in question to determine current and future product needs or to ascertain procurement procedures and policies, contacts to promote goodwill toward a manufacturer's product, and settling disputes concerning performance of a contract.
f. The Department of the Army considers it to be the responsibility of the individual officers to avoid violation of Federal law and regulations, and to determine those activities which they may legally pursue without jeopardizing the rights and benefits of their retired status. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service - Cleveland Center, PO Box 99191, Cleveland OH 44199-1126 will advise retired personnel concerning the propriety of various proposed activities. Questions submitted to the Finance Center for advisory opinions should involve concrete situations and not hypothetical questions. The facts of each case should be fully disclosed with as much detail as possible. Furthermore, the field of law with which this Handbook deals is subject to frequent change by legislation and administrative decisions by the Comptroller General of the United States. At any time, the restrictions discussed might be narrowed or broadened by congressional action or administrative interpretation.
4-5. Employment by Foreign Governments and Concerns.
a. Retired soldiers of the Regular Army, Army National Guard, and the US Army Reserve who want to accept employment with a foreign government must submit a request in writing to the
AR-PERSCOM, ATTN: DARP-PAR-SCI, 1 Reserve Way, St. Louis, MO 63132. The request will include--
(1) A detailed description of the civil duties to be performed for the foreign government, as provided by the prospective employer.
(2) A statement that the retired soldier will or will not receive compensation for the duties performed.
(3) A signed statement that the retired soldier will not be required to execute an oath of allegiance to the foreign government involved.
b. If a retired soldier's approved foreign government employment is materially changed, either by a substantial change in duties specified in the approved application or by a change of employer, the retired soldier must request further approval by the same procedures used for the initial request.
c. Any retired soldier who accepts civil employment with a foreign government without the required approval is subject to having retired pay withheld in an amount equal to the amount received from the foreign government. This withholding is in addition to any other penalty that may be imposed under law or regulation.
4-6. Representation of Interests Contrary to the United States.
a. Retired commissioned and warrant officers of the Regular Army within 2 years after retirement may not act as agents or attorneys for the prosecution of any claim against the United States involving the Department of the Army, or assist in the prosecution of such a claim. Further, they are permanently prohibited from prosecuting, or assisting in the prosecution of, any claim against the United States involving any subject matter with which they were directly connected while on active duty.
b. All retired commissioned and warrant officers are permanently barred from acting as representatives or agents for anyone other than the United States in connection with any claim, contract, or other particular matter in which the United States is a party, or has a direct interest, and in which they participated personally and substantially while on active duty. Further, they are prohibited, within two years after retirement, from appearing personally before any court, department, or agency of the United States as representatives or agents for anyone other than the United States in connection with any particular matter involving a specific party in which the United States is a party or directly interested, and which was under their supervisory or official responsibility, during their last year of active duty.
c. Those persons who are interested in appearing as representatives before the Department of the Army or any of its agencies in matters involving claims against the United States, or matters which lead to the formal presentation of claims, should become familiar all Army Regulations which deal with filing notices of appearance. Copies of Army regulations are available for examination at Army installations.
4-7. Political Activities.
a. There are no statutes or regulations which prohibit retired military personnel from supporting political parties or becoming candidates for public office. The use of military titles by retired officers with respect to politics is permissible provided the usage does not bring discredit upon the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense. Retired personnel may accept positions within the organization of political parties. The Hatch Act is not considered applicable to retired officers who hold no other Federal positions.
b. Retired Regular Army commissioned officers who use contemptuous words in speech or print against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of the Treasury, or the Governor or legislature of any State are subject to trial by courts-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
c. These comments should be considered as advisory in nature only. Definitive opinions and determinations in this area may be made only by the Attorney General of the United States and by Federal courts.
4-8. Submission of Written Material for Review
a. Retirees are not required to submit writings and public statements on military subjects to the Department of the Army for official clearance. This does not modify any official regulations issued for safeguarding classified information. Retirees are personally responsible for insuring that the information they release or make available for release to the public is consistent with the national security. If in doubt as to whether the material prepared for publication may violate security regulations, the retiree may submit it for review to the Chief of Public Affairs, Department of the Army, Washington, DC 20310.
b. Retired Army personnel holding civilian positions with the Department of Defense or the military services are subject to the same controls on their public writing and/or speaking, whether official or unofficial, as other civilian employees.
4-9. Security Program.
Retirees have a continuing responsibility to safeguard classified information of which they have knowledge. At the time of retirement, each member having access to classified information is given an oral debriefing and is required to sign a security termination statement. A copy of the signed statement is filed as a permanent record in the individual's personnel folder. A retired soldier who violates the espionage or internal security laws through unauthorized disclosure is subject to prosecution, fine, imprisonment, or in some cases, death.
4-10. Conversion of Security Clearance.
a. Retired soldiers who are considering employment with a cleared Defense contractor in a position requiring access to classified Defense information may find the following of value:
b. The Department of Defense Industrial Security Regulation (DOD 5220.22-R) contains the provisions for the conversion of security clearances held while on active duty to industrial security clearances.
c. A request for conversion is honored if submitted within 18 months after retirement for retired military personnel of any grade with 19 or more years of Federal service; and 12 months for military personnel separated or retired from active Federal service.
d. Contractors employing personnel eligible for conversion of clearances may request clearances to the level required in the assignment of their duties by submitting one copy of Personnel Security Questionnaire (Updating) (DD Form 398) and duplicate of DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) to the Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office, PO Box 2499, Columbus, OH 43216. The purpose of the Personnel Security Questionnaire is for identification only, and can be obtained from the employer. All requests for industrial security clearances must be submitted by the employing contractor and not by the individual concerned.
MILITARY RETIRED PAY
Military retired pay is NOT a pension, nor is it an annuity. It is not awarded as a vested interest or contractual right. It is "reduced compensation for reduced services." Retired pay for length of service ranges from 40 percent to 75 percent of basic pay. Additional information is available from installation Retirement Services Offices and within the Army’s Retirement Services Web Site (www.odcsper.army.mil/retire/retire1.asp) and clicking on the Pre-retirement Orientation and the Pre-retirement Counseling Guide.
5-2. Computation of Retired Pay.
a. There are various provisions of law under which the computation may be made, but retired pay is generally computed either on length of service or on a percentage of disability. If you are retired for disability, you may elect to have your pay computed by either method.
b. The usual formulas for computing retired pay are as follows:
(1) First entered a uniformed service before September 8, 1980. Compute retired pay based on length of service by multiplying the basic monthly pay for the soldier's retired grade at the time of retirement by the years of creditable active federal service at the rate of 2.5 percent for each whole year of service and 1/12th of 2.5 percent for each whole month of service that is in addition to each year of service.
(2) First entered a uniformed service between 8 September 1980 and 31 July 1986. Compute pay using the formula in paragraph 5-2b(1) except use the average basic pay for your three highest earnings years rather than final basic pay. DFAS-CL will determine during which are the three years to be used. They will then calculate the average of these three years and use that number to determine retired pay.
(3) For those who first became member of a uniformed service before 1 August 1986, compute retired pay based on disability by multiplying the basic monthly pay (or highest 3 years of basic pay) by the percentage of disability, or by using the formula in 5-2b(1)or (2), whichever results in a greater amount.
(4) First entered a uniformed service on or after 1 August 1986, except those retiring under Chapter 61 of Title 10, United States Code (for disability) and those retired from the Reserves and are eligible for pay at age 60. Retired pay will be calculated on the average basic pay for the three highest earnings years, times 2.5 percent for each year of creditable service, minus one percentage point for each year less than 30 years of service.
c. Basic monthly pay is the base pay of the grade and rank in which the member was retired or was later advanced to on the retired list.
d. Retired pay may never exceed 75 percent of the basic monthly pay. Soldiers on the Temporary Disability Retired List will receive no less than 50 percent of their basic pay or average high three earnings years. A soldier may not receive temporary disability retired pay for longer than 5 years from the date the soldier was placed on the
5-3. Procedure for Payment.
a. Retired soldiers, except those recalled to active duty and entitled to active duty pay and allowances, and those who elect to waive all their pay in favor of VA compensation or civil service annuity, will have their retired pay electronically transferred to their financial institution on the first business day of each month. Retired pay is administered by Retired Pay Operations, DFAS - Cleveland Center, PO Box 99191, Cleveland OH 44199-1126.
b. Retired Pay Operations will mail a Retiree Account Statement (RAS) when an account is established. Revised RASs are sent only when a change occurs in retired pay.
c. To make changes in retired pay, Retired Pay Operations should be advised before the 10th day of the month preceding the month of payment. Changes received after the 10th may not be made until the following month. All change requests must contain the retirees signature and Social Security number.
d. Retired soldiers who waive all retired pay in favor of VA compensation will be paid by VA. Retired soldiers who waive a part of their retired pay to receive an equal amount of VA compensation will receive monthly payments from both VA and Retired Pay Operations.
5-4. Method of Payment.
a. Soldiers who retired on or after October 1, 1990 must have retired pay sent by EFT to a financial institution. If retired pay will continue to the same financial institution as the active duty pay, a new form is not necessary. However, the routing number and the account number of the financial institution must be provided to DFAS-CL. To initiate a direct deposit of retired pay by EFT, contact your financial institution for an SF 1199A, Direct Deposit Sign-Up Form. This form must be completed by the financial institution and submitted by the retiring soldier to the military finance activity during out-processing.
b. Checks of retired soldiers residing in certain overseas areas are mailed directly to the individual. For those who do not use direct deposit, if it becomes apparent that a check has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, or if it has not been received within 10 days after the normal delivery date, the retiree should request for stop payment of the missing check to DFAS-CL, Retired Pay Operations, PO Box 99191, Cleveland OH 44199-1126. A delay in the issuance of a substitute check should be anticipated.
5-5. Retired Pay Mailing Address.
a. Changes of address to must be sent to DFAS-CL, PO Box 99191, Cleveland OH 441991-1126. Notification of changes of address must be over the retirees signature.
b. A request for a change in address or a change in the name of the payee should be received in Retired Pay Operations on or before the 10th day of the month.
c. A request for a change of home address must be made even if the retired soldier waived retired pay in favor of VA compensation or a civil service annuity, or if pay is deposited in a bank or financial institution. A separate home address file is maintained by Retired Pay Operations for correspondence purposes.
5-6. Increases in Retired Pay.
Military retired pay is usually cost-of-living (COLA) adjusted annually on 1 December. All COLA changes will be reported in Army Echoes.
5-7. Report of Existence.
a. Certain retired soldiers are required to file reports of existence cards with Retired Pay Operations, DFAS-CL. A decision by the Comptroller General of the United States requires reports of existence by retired soldiers when--
(1) Retired pay is payable to a third party on behalf of a retired soldier who is incompetent;
(2) The retired soldier or SBP annuitant lives overseas;
(3) There is doubt as to the existence of an individual and it is deemed to be in the best interests of the Government to continue the requirement for reports of existence;
(4) The report of existence card must be signed and submitted by the retired soldier or, in the case of an incompetent, by a guardian, conservator, committee, trustee, or legal representative. It may not be signed by a spouse, other members of the household, an individual to whom a power of attorney has been granted, or any other person.
b. In the case of an incompetent soldier, or a soldier or annuitant living outside CONUS, the report of existence will be sent separately with every pay. It must be completed and returned not later than the 20th day of the month to ensure prompt mailing of the check. Retired pay will be suspended pending receipt of the report. A report of existence is a notification to DFAS-CL that the retired soldier was alive on the last day of the month for which payment is due.
5-8. Allotments from Retired Pay.
a. Retired soldiers are permitted to continue allotments that they had in effect while on active duty except for Combined Federal Campaign pledges, Delta Dental Insurance, SGLI, and deposits in the Veteran's Educational Assistance Program
b. Retirees are authorized a maximum of six (6) discretionary allotments. Examples of discretionary allotments included insurance premiums for health, auto, or life; voluntary payments to a family member, former spouse or relative; deposits into a financial institution, mutual fund or investment firm, payment of an auto or personal loan, mortgage, rent, or consumer debts.
c. Retirees are authorized an unlimited number of non-discretionary allotments. Examples of non-discretionary allotments are US Government savings bonds; payment of delinquent Federal, state or local taxes; repayment of AER and Red Cross loans; any court ordered garnishment; and charitable contributions to Armed Forces Retirement Homes and
5-9. Deductions from the Retired Pay of Participants in the Survivor Benefit Plan
a. Deductions for SBP participation begin on the first day you are eligible for retired pay. The amount of the deduction is adjusted by the COLA to retired pay at the same time and by the same percentage. The same COLA is applied to the SBP benefit payable. Deductions for SBP cost continue throughout the life of the retiree, except when (as applicable):
(1) Insurable interest person predeceases the retired soldier.
(2) No eligible beneficiary.
(3) The retired soldier is suffering from a service-connected disability and is rated totally disabled for a continuous period of ten years if such rating occurred subsequent to the date of retirement or is rated totally disabled for fewer than 10 years, but not fewer than five years from date of discharge or release from active duty, and the retired soldier withdraws from SBP with the consent of the beneficiary.
(4) The retired soldier, with spouse concurrence opts to discontinue SBP participation within a one year period starting on the second anniversary of the establishment of the SBP account.
5-10. Designation of Beneficiary.
a. At the time of retirement, retires are given an opportunity to designate a beneficiary for unpaid retired pay and allowances at the time of your death. Unpaid retired pay is the amount of pay due the retiree from last pay date to date of death. Changes to a beneficiary may be made at any time in writing to
b. To change a beneficiary, the retiree must list the beneficiary's complete name, Social Security number, address, and relationship to the retiree. The statement must be signed and dated by the retired soldier and include his or her Social Security number and a witness's signature. If more than one beneficiary is designated, the percentage of unpaid pay and allowances each designated benefiicary is to receive must be shown.
5-11. Garnishment of Pay.
a. Retired pay may be garnished for enforcement of a retired soldier's legal obligations to provide child support or make alimony payments. Upon receipt of a valid court order, DFAS-CL may use retired pay that may be available, including any allotments from such pay, to satisfy the amount of the writ. The amount of writ can include all retroactive amounts for which a retired soldier may be delinquent in child support or alimony payments. DFAS-CL will attempt to notify a retired soldier of any garnishment against retired pay. Only the retiree's disposable retired pay is subject to garnishment.
b. Disposable retired pay is gross retired pay less:
(1) Amounts owed to the U.S.
(2) Federal income taxes required or authorized by law. Additional amounts for tax withholding are considered only when the soldier submits evidence of the tax obligation.
(3) State taxes under certain conditions.
(4) Compensation deductions under Title 5 or 38 (dual compensation/forfeiture or VA compensation).
(5) SBP or RSFPP cost deductions regardless of the beneficiary.
c. The garnishment amount is limited to 50 percent of disposable pay if the retiree is supporting a second family, and 60 percent if the retiree is not supporting a second family. When a retiree is more than 12 weeks in arrears for support, the limitation is 55 percent if the retiree is supporting a second family, and 65 percent if the retiree is not supporting a second family.
d. When DFAS-CL has been served with more than one legal process, money is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
e. For division of retired pay as property in a divorce case, see Chapter 12.
f. Compensation paid by VA is garnishable if the retired retiree waived all or part of his or her retired pay in order to receive such compensation from VA. All other VA compensation (e.g., pension, payments for service-connected disability or death) may not be garnished.
TAXATION OF RETIRED PAY
6-1. Withholding Tax Statement.
a. Retired pay, like other income, is subject to Federal income taxation unless wholly or partially exempted by statute. DFAS-CL computes the amount to be withheld from retired pay and withholds this amount. Every year, no later than the 25th of January, DFAS-CL will send you an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 1099-R which will show all the taxable retired pay paid and the amount of tax withheld during the calendar year.
b. If retirement is for disability, and all retired pay is tax-free, a IRS Form 1099-R will not be issued. Retirees are not required to report this tax-free income. See paragraph 6-3 to determine if disability retired pay is tax exempt.
c. Some retirees retired for disability are entitled to claim a sick pay exclusion from their retired pay (para 6-4). The IRS Form 1099-R will not reflect any sick pay exclusion. Individuals must claim the sick pay exclusion themselves on the appropriate line of IRS Form 1040, the "long" form of the U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
d. If a retiree is not a citizen of the United States and does not reside in the United States, IRS Form 1099-R will not be furnished. Nonresident alien tax will be withheld from a retiree's retired pay instead, and he or she will be informed by TDF Form 1042S at the end of each calendar year as to the amount withheld.
e. Taxable income from retired pay does not include the amount of SBP deductions. Participants are taxed only on what they actually receive. For example, if a retiree's non-disability retired pay is $6,000 a year and is reduced by $700 for SBP, only the reduced retired pay of $5,300 need be included as taxable income on the Federal income tax return. The SBP payable to the designated beneficiary is subject to Federal income tax, but is not subject to Federal estate tax.
f. For further details on SBP tax questions, retirees should consult a legal assistance attorney, a tax counsel, an official of the Internal Revenue Service, or State tax authorities.
6-2. Withholding Exemption Certificate.
a. The amount withheld from retired pay for income tax is determined from a wage bracket withholding table and is based on whether a retiree is married or single and the number of exemptions claimed. If a retiree does not submit a withholding exemption certificate (TD Form W-4) or indicate marital status and the number of exemptions on DA Form 2656, withholding tax will be based on one exemption, as if single. A retiree can not claim more exemptions than those to which legally entitled. In order to have more tax withheld from retired pay, retirees may claim fewer exemptions than the number authorized (zero exemptions) or ask that an additional amount be withheld.
b. If a retiree or spouse reaches age 65 during the calendar year, or becomes blind, or if there is an increase in the number of dependents, credit may be gained for the additional exemptions by completing a TD Form W-4 and mailing it to Retired Pay Operations, DFAS-CL, Cleveland, OH. TD Form W-4 may be obtained from any office of the Director of Internal Revenue and most US Post Offices. The Internal Revenue Service requires the filing of a new TD Form W-4 with Retired Pay Operations within 10 days of a decrease in the number of exemptions.
6-3. Disability Retired Pay.
a. If placed on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL), a retiree will not receive less than 50 percent of their basic monthly pay while on the
b. Either all or a part of disability retirement pay is exempt from Federal income tax, depending on when the retiree entered active duty, the cause of the disability, and the method elected to compute retired pay.
c. The Tax Reform Act of 1976 made significant changes with respect to the tax-exempt status of disability retired pay for persons who first entered a uniformed service on or after 25 September 1975. For these persons, retired pay is tax-exempt only if all of it is based on percentage of disability and the disability is the direct result of one of the following: armed conflict, extra-hazardous service, simulated war, or an instrumentality of war.
d. For persons who entered a uniformed service on or before 24 September 1975, all retirement pay is tax-exempt if it is all based on percentage of disability. When retirement pay is based on years of service, the portion of it equal to the amount the person would get if retired pay were computed solely on the basis of disability is tax-exempt. The balance is taxable.
6-4. VA Compensation.
a. Payment received from VA is tax-exempt, but mere entitlement to the payment will not result in any tax saving until a formal waiver of equivalent retired pay has been executed.
b. If retired for length of service or age, it may be to a retiree’s advantage to waive a part of taxable retired pay in favor of tax-free compensation from VA. This is true also for those who entered a uniformed service on or after September 25, 1975, and retired for disability, since their disability retired pay is taxed. On the other hand, the retired pay of a retiree who entered a uniformed service before September 24, 1975 is not taxable. Therefore, there would be no tax advantage effected by waiving military retired pay unless VA compensation exceeded the portion of the retired pay based on disability.
6-5. State Taxation of Retired Pay.
a. Some States exempt all or a portion of retired pay from income taxation. Some States exempt disability retired pay in the same manner as the Federal Government. In all States, disability payments received from VA and all Social Security payments are exempt from taxation. Few States, if any, permit a retirement income credit of the type granted by the Federal Government.
b. State income tax, where applicable, is not withheld from retired pay unless a state has entered into an agreement with the Department of Defense to permit finance centers to withhold state income tax. Retirees who do not currently have state tax withheld from retired pay but would like to may request it from DFAS-IN by a letter over their signature and social security number. The letter must state the amount of tax to be withheld and the state to which it will be paid. The amount must be in even dollar amounts and a minimum of $10. All states that tax retired pay have signed withholding agreements with
6-6. Further Information.
Determinations in each individual tax case are made by the Internal Revenue Service or the tax authorities of the State government concerned. Answers to Federal tax questions may be obtained from the District Director of Internal Revenue Service. Answers to state tax questions may be obtained from appropriate State officials.
6-7. Tax Information on the Internet.
Federal Income Tax information is available at www.irs.gov. State Income
Tax information is available at 1040.com/state.htm
Back to TOC
7-1. Uniformed Services Medical Treatment Facilities.
a. Additional information is available at the Army’s Retirement Services Web Site (www.odcsper.army.mil/retire/retire1.asp) and clicking on the Pre-Retirement Counseling Guide and the Pre-Retirement Orientation. More detailed information on TRICARE can be obtained from the TRICARE Web Site at www.tricare.osd.mil.
b. Subject to the availability of space and facilities and the capabilities of the medical and dental staff, retired soldiers and their eligible family members may receive the following medical and dental care in Uniformed Services Treatment Facilities:
(2) Outpatient care
(4) Treatment of medical and surgical conditions
(5) Treatment of nervous, mental, and chronic conditions
(6) Treatment of contagious diseases
(7) Physical examinations, including eye examinations, and immunizations
(8) Maternity and infant care
(9) Diagnostic tests and services, including laboratory and x-ray examinations
(10) Dental care
(11) Ambulance service and home calls when medically necessary
(12) Durable equipment, such as wheelchairs, iron lungs, and hospital beds may be provided on a loan basis
c. The following care is not authorized:
(1) Domiciliary or custodial care
(2) Prosthetic devices, hearing aids, orthopedic footwear, and spectacles, except that --
(a) Outside the U.S. and at stations inside the U.S. where adequate civilian facilities are unavailable, such items may be sold to eligible family members at cost to the U.S. and
(b) Artificial limbs and artificial eyes may be provided
(3) The elective correction of minor dermatological blemishes and marks or minor anatomical anomalies
d. For purposes of this chapter, an eligible family member is:
(1) A spouse
(2) An unremarried widow(er)
(3) An unmarried legitimate child, including an adopted child or a stepchild, who either--
(a) Has not passed his or her 21st birthday;
(b) Is incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical incapacity that existed before that birthday and is, or was at the time of the retired soldier's death, dependent on the retired soldier for over one-half of his or her support; or
(c) Has not passed his or her 23rd birthday, is enrolled in a full-time course of study in an institution of higher learning approved by the Secretary of the Army and is, or was at the time of the retired soldier's death, dependent upon the retired soldier for over one-half the child's support.
(4) A parent or parent-in-law who is, or was at the time of the retired soldier's death, dependent on the retired soldier for over one-half of his or her support and residing in the retired soldier's household;
(5) The unremarried former spouse of a retired soldier who (a) on the date of the final decree of divorce or had been married to the retired soldier for a period of at least 20 years during which period the retired soldier performed at least 20 years of service which is creditable in determining the retired soldier's eligibility for retired pay, and (b) does not have medical coverage under an employer-sponsored health plan;
(6) A person who (a) is the unremarried former spouse of a retired soldier who performed at least 20 years of service which is creditable in determining the retired soldier's eligibility for retired pay, and on the date of the final decree of divorce or dissolution before 1 April 1985, had been married to the retired soldier for a period of at least 20 years, at least 15 of which, but less than 20 of which, were during the period the retired soldier performed service creditable in determining the retired soldier's eligibility for retired pay, and (b) does not have medical coverage under an employer-sponsored health plan (See para 17-4b); and
(7) A person who would qualify as an eligible family member under paragraph (6) above but for the fact that the date of the final decree of divorce or dissolution is on or after 1 April 1 1985, except that the term does not include the person after the end of the one-year period beginning on the date of that final decree.
7-2. TRICARE and Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS).
a. Through TRICARE/CHAMPUS, service families have one of the best health plans anywhere. TRICARE/CHAMPUS shares most of the costs of care from civilian hospitals and doctors when care cannot be obtained at a military hospital or clinic. There are, however, certain things retirees need to know about TRICARE/ CHAMPUS.
b. TRICARE/CHAMPUS is intended as a supplement to benefits from a military hospital or clinic, but it does not duplicate those benefits. The most comprehensive and lowest cost care is available from military medical facilities. Also, TRICARE/CHAMPUS recognizes different categories of eligible persons, for whom available benefits and costs vary.
c. Individuals not eligible for TRICARE/CHAMPUS are active duty military, parents, parents-in-law, and most persons eligible for Medicare hospitalization insurance (Part A).
d. TRICARE/CHAMPUS is not free. Retirees must pay part of their medical costs, as well as everything TRICARE/CHAMPUS does not cover.
e. Because TRICARE/CHAMPUS does not pay the total cost of civilian medical care, a TRICARE/CHAMPUS supplement maybe advisable. TRICARE/CHAMPUS supplements may be obtained from most of the military associations. Health Benefits Advisor have a listing of associations that offer TRICARE/CHAMPUS supplements.
f. TRICARE/CHAMPUS does not cover all health care. There are special rules or limits on certain care, and some care is not covered at all.
g. TRICARE/CHAMPUS pays for only medically necessary care and services that are provided at "an appropriate level of care." Claims for services that don't meet this definition may be denied (example: using emergency room services for treatment for the patient's convenience, rather than for genuine emergency situations).
h. All TRICARE/CHAMPUS-eligible persons must be enrolled in the DEERS eligibility-checking system before TRICARE/CHAMPUS claims can be paid.
i. It's important to know the Health Benefits Advisor (HBA). The HBA's job is to help retirees. There's an HBA at each military hospital and at most clinics. Also, HBA’s can provide a copy of the latest TRICARE/CHAMPUS handbook which provides more details about the program. To get in touch with the nearest HBA, call the information number at the local military base or hospital.
j. Additional information on TRICARE can be obtained on the Internet at http://www.tricare.osd.mil.
7-3. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Care.
a. Additional information is available on the VA Web Site at www.va.gov and the Army’s Retirement Services Web Site (www.odcsper.army.mil/retire/retire1.asp) under Pre-Retirement Counseling Guide and Pre-Retirement Orientation.
b. Medical benefits. Retirees may have dual eligibility for VA medical benefits as a VA beneficiary and as a beneficiary of the Department of Defense. When applying for care at a VA medical facility, a determination is first made on eligiblity for care as a VA beneficiary. The following is a description of the eligibility categories for both inpatient and outpatient medical care, nursing home care, and outpatient dental care.
c. Discretionary. If in the "discretionary" eligibility category, retirees are eligible for VA medical care as a VA beneficiary only after they agree to make a copayment. If they do not agree to make a copayment, VA health care may be offered as a beneficiary of DOD at DOD expense on a space-available and resource-available basis as determined by the VA facility director. Beneficiaries of DOD, with the exception of those in need of emergency medical services, are required to obtain DOD authorization prior to receiving VA medical care.
d. Hospitalization. Eligibility for VA hospitalization and nursing home care is divided into two categories: "mandatory" and "discretionary." Within these two categories, eligibility assessment procedures based on income levels are used to determine whether nonservice-connected veterans are eligible for cost-free VA medical care. These income levels are adjusted on 1 January of each year.
e. Hospital and nursing home care. VA must provide hospital care and may provide nursing home care to veterans in the mandatory category, and may provide hospital and nursing home care to veterans in the discretionary category if space and resources are available in VA facilities.
f. Where to obtain care. For veterans in the mandatory category, the law requires VA to provide hospital care at the nearest VA facility capable of furnishing the care in a timely fashion. If no VA facility is available, care must be furnished in a DOD facility or another facility with which VA has a sharing or contractual relationship. If space and resources are available after caring for mandatory category veterans, VA may furnish care to those in the discretionary category. Veterans in the discretionary category must agree to pay VA for their care.
g. Eligibility assessment exceptions. Veterans in the mandatory category not subject to the eligibility assessment are service-connected veterans; veterans who were exposed to herbicides while serving in Vietnam or to ionizing radiation during atmospheric testing and in the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and need treatment for a condition that might be related to the exposure; former prisoners of war; veterans receiving VA pension; veterans of the Spanish American War, the Mexican Border period or World War I; and veterans eligible for Medicaid.
h. Eligibility assessment. The following eligibility assessment applies to all other non-service-connected veterans, regardless of age:
(1) MANDATORY: Hospital care is considered mandatory if the patient is among the groups just listed or if the patient's income is below the amount set by VA annually. Hospital care in VA facilities must be provided to veterans in the mandatory category. Nursing home care may be provided in VA facilities, if space and resources are available.
(2) DISCRETIONARY: Hospital care is considered discretionary if the patient is a non-service-connected veteran and income is above the limit set annually by VA. The patient must agree to pay an amount for care equal to what would have been paid under Medicare. The Medicare deductible is adjusted annually. VA may provide hospital, outpatient, and nursing home care in VA facilities to veterans in the discretionary category, if space and resources are available.
i. Cost for discretionary care. If the patient's medical care is considered discretionary, VA holds the patient responsible for the cost of care or for a specific amount for the first 90 days of care during any 365-day period. For each additional 90 days of hospital care, the patient is charged half the Medicare deductible. For each 90 days of nursing home care, an amount equal to the Medicare deductible is charged.
j. Additional charges. In addition to the charges enumerated, the patient will be charged a small fee daily for inpatient hospital care and for nursing home care. The fee is based on the Medicare deductible and is adjusted annually.
k. VA outpatient care eligibility. Outpatient medical services shall be furnished to certain veterans and may, at the discretion of the Secretary, be provided to other veterans to the extent resources and facilities are available in accordance with the following criteria:
(1) VA shall furnish outpatient care without limitation:
(a) To veterans for service-connected disabilities.
(b) For any disability of a 50% or more service connected disabled veteran.
(c) For any condition to prevent the need for hospitalization; to prepare for hospitalization; or to complete an episode of treatment after hospitalization, nursing home care, or domiciliary care to:
(d) To a 30% or 40% service-connected disabled veteran.
(e) To a veteran whose annual income is not greater than the maximum annual pension rate of a veteran in need of regular aid and attendance.
(2) VA may furnish outpatient care without limitation to:
(a) A veteran in a VA approved vocational rehabilitation program.
(b) Former prisoners of War.
(c) WWI or Mexican Border period veterans.
(d) Aid and attendance to house-bound pension recipients. (This means veterans who receive increased pension or compensation based on the need of regular aid and attendance of another person or who are permanently housebound.)
(3) VA may furnish outpatient care to prevent the need for hospitalization; to prepare for hospitalization; or to complete an episode of treatment after hospitalization, nursing home care, or domiciliary care to:
(a) Any veteran rated 0% through 20% service-connected for a non-service-connected condition.
(b) Veterans exposed, during service in Vietnam, to a toxic substance or ionizing radiation following the detonation of a nuclear device.
(c) "MANDATORY" category veterans whose income is more than the pension rate of a veteran in need of regular aid and attendance.
(d) "DISCRETIONARY" category veterans, subject to a co-payment of $30 for each outpatient visit.
l. Prescription medication. Veterans receiving medications on an outpatient basis from VA facilities, for the treatment of a non-service-connected disability or condition, are required to make a co-payment of $2 for each 30-day or less supply of medication provided. Veterans receiving medications for treatment of a service-connected condition and veterans rated 50 percent or more service-connected are exempt from the co-payment requirement for medications.
m. Dental care.
(1) Outpatient dental treatment begins with an examination and may include the full spectrum of diagnostic, surgical, restorative, and preventive techniques.
(2) Eligibility. Dental care will be provided under the following conditions:
(a) Dental conditions or disabilities that are service-connected and compensable in degree will be treated.
(b) Service-connected dental conditions or disabilities that are not compensable in degree may receive one-time treatment if the conditions can be shown to have existed at discharge or within 180 days from active service. Veterans must apply to VA for care for the service-connected dental condition within 90 days following separation. Veterans will not be considered eligible if their separation document indicates that necessary treatment was completed by military dentists during the 90 days prior to retirement. Veterans who served on active duty for 90 days or more during the Persian Gulf War are included in this category.
(3) Service-connected, noncompensable dental conditions resulting from combat wounds or service injuries, and service-connected noncompensable dental conditions of former prisoners of war who were incarcerated less than 90 days may be treated.
(4) Veterans who were prisoners of war for more than 90 days may receive complete dental care.
(5) Veterans also may receive complete dental care if they are receiving disability compensation at the 100-percent rate for service-connected conditions or are eligible to receive it by reason of individual
(6) Nonservice-connected dental conditions that are determined by VA to be associated with and aggravating service-connected medical problems may be treated.
(7) Disabled veterans participating in a vocational rehabilitation program may be treated.
(8) Veterans may be treated for nonservice-connected dental conditions or disabilities for which treatment was begun while in a VA medical center, when it is professionally determined to be reasonably necessary to complete such dental treatment on an outpatient basis.
(9) Veterans scheduled for admission to inpatient services or who are receiving medical services may be provided outpatient dental care if the dental condition is professionally determined to be complicating a medical condition currently under treatment by VA.
(10) Veterans with no service-connected disability whose incomes exceed the income threshold amount applicable to hospital care eligibility may be authorized treatment only if they agree to pay the applicable copayment.
n. How income Is assessed. The patient's total income under the eligibility assessment includes: Social Security, U.S. Civil Service retirement, U.S. Railroad retirement, military retirement, unemployment insurance, any other retirement income, total wages from all employers, interest and dividends, workers' compensation, black lung benefits, and any other gross income for the calendar year prior to application for care. The income of a spouse or dependents as well as the market value of stocks, bonds, notes, individual retirement accounts, bank deposits, savings accounts, and cash also are used. Debts are subtracted from the patient's assets to determine net worth. The patient's primary residence and personal property, however, are excluded. The patient is not required to provide proof of income or net worth beyond filling out VA Form 10-10f, Financial Worksheet, at the time care is requested. VA has the authority to compare information provided with information obtained from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Internal Revenue Service.
o. Medical care cost recovery. All veterans applying for medical care at a VA facility will be asked if they have medical insurance. VA is authorized by law to bill insurance companies for the cost of medical care furnished to veterans, including service-connected veterans, for non-service-connected conditions covered by health insurance policies. VA is required to determine if the cost of the medical care can be recovered from companies providing group or individual health insurance. A veteran may be covered by such a policy or be covered as an eligible dependent on a spouse's policy. VA is no different than other health-care providers who need insurance information. To collect benefits covered by health insurance, VA must obtain the information that appears on the health insurance identification card. Veterans are not responsible and will not be charged by VA for any charge required by their health insurance policies.
p. Additional information on VA benefits and health care is available on the Internet at
7-4. Social Security Medicare.
a. Additional information on Social Security and Medicare can be obtained on the Internet at http://www.ssa.gov and at http://www.hcfa.gov and on the Army’s Retirement Services Web Site (http://www.odcsper.army.mil/retire/retire1.asp) under the Pre-Retirement Counseling Guide and the Pre-Retirement Orientation.
b. Medicare is a health insurance program for people 65 or older, certain disabled people under 65, and people of any age who have permanent kidney failure. It provides basic protection against the cost of health care, but it doesn't cover all medical expenses.
c. TRICARE/CHAMPUS. TRICARE/CHAMPUS coverage stops when a person becomes eligible for Medicare. An exception is made for the person under 65 who becomes eligible for Social Security disability (except for kidney failure). TRICARE/CHAMPUS acts as a second payer in these cases.
d. Two parts of Medicare. Medicare is composed of two parts: hospital insurance (also called "Part A" Medicare), which is financed by part of the payroll (FICA) tax that also pays for Social Security; and Medical insurance (also called "Part B" Medicare), which is financed by monthly premiums paid by beneficiaries who choose to enroll.
e. Hospital insurance. Hospital insurance can help pay for inpatient hospital care, inpatient care in a skilled nursing facility, home health care, and hospice care. Some people have to apply for hospital insurance. For others, it starts automatically. If a person is receiving Social Security benefit payments when you turn 65, hospital insurance is automatic. If one is not receiving Social Security payments at 65, they should contact their Social Security office no earlier than 3 months prior to their 65th birthday. Most people 65 or older are eligible for Medicare Hospital Insurance based on their own or their spouse's employment. Before age 65, a person is eligible for Medical hospital insurance if they have been getting Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, or have worked long enough and meet the requirements of the Social Security disability program. Under certain conditions, a spouse, a divorced spouse, a widow(er), or a dependent parent may be eligible for hospital insurance when he or she turns 65, based on their spouse or former spouse’s work record. Also, disabled widows(ers) under 65, disabled divorced widows(ers) under 65, and disabled children may be eligible for Medicare.
f. Medicare insurance. Medicare medical insurance helps pay for doctor's services and many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by the hospital insurance part of Medicare, including outpatient surgery. Many of the services needed by people with permanent kidney failure are covered only by the medical insurance part of Medicare. In most cases, if a person does not sign up for medical insurance during the initial enrollment period, their monthly premium will increase 10 percent for each year they delay enrollment. Then, a person may only sign up between January 1 and March 31 annually, and their coverage will not begin until the following July. Almost anyone who is 65 or older--or who is under 65 but eligible for hospital insurance--can enroll in Medicare medical insurance by paying a monthly premium. A person does not need any Social Security or work credits to get this part of Medicare. Aliens 65 or older who are not eligible for hospital insurance must be lawfully-admitted permanent residents and must live in the U.S for 5 years before they can enroll in medical insurance.
g. Other health insurance. Medicare provides basic health care coverage, but it does not pay medical expenses, and it does not pay for most long-term care. For this reason, many private insurance companies sell insurance to fill in the gaps in Medicare coverage. This kind of insurance is often called "Medigap" for short. For more information on Social Security Medicare and "Medigap" insurance, contact Social Security, toll-free 1-800-772-1213, or visit your local Social Security Office.
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BURIAL AND MILITARY HONORS
In general, retirees are not authorized mortuary benefits at Government expense by virtue of their retired status. They may, however, be authorized certain benefits due to another status. For example, a retiree employed as a Department of the Army civilian (DAC) could qualify for preparation of remains and shipment of remains from overseas by military aircraft. Military service could qualify a retiree for burial in a Government cemetery, a grave marker, and burial honors.
8-2. Mortuary benefits.
a. Retirees are not eligible for the full range of mortuary benefits at Government expense unless, while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days, they become an inpatient in a U.S. government hospital, are retired while an inpatient, and die before being discharged from the hospital.
b. Retirees who retire under circumstances other than in a above are not entitled to mortuary benefits at Government expense by virtue of their retired status.
c. Retirees and their eligible family members who die outside the United States may be eligible for preparation of remains on a reimbursable basis for a nominal fee in an Armed Services mortuary if such services are available at the place of death and are requested by the U.S. Department of State. Requests should be made by a family member or representative of the family directly to the American Consular office in the country of death. Transportation of the remains to the preparing mortuary, casket, permits and fees, and further transportation of remains must be paid from private funds.
8-3. Transportation of Retirees Remains.
a. Retirees who die while properly admitted to a military medical facility in the United States are authorized transportation of remains from the place of death to the place of burial, providing the place of burial is no further than the retiree's last residence.
b. When the place of death and place of burial are local to the residence, transportation is authorized for the removal of the remains from the place of death to a local funeral home and from the local funeral home to a local cemetery.
c. Transportation of the remains described in a and b above may not be to a place outside the United States.
d. Transportation of remains of eligible family members of retired soldiers who die in a military medical facility in the United States is also authorized. The installation mortuary officer at the place of death should be consulted on the status of implementation of this benefit.
e. Remains of retirees are authorized transportation of remains from overseas to the United States on U.S. military aircraft on a reimbursable or space available basis.
f. Retirees who die in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital or nursing home may be eligible for transportation of remains by VA. The local VA office should be contacted for eligibility rules.
8-4. VA burial benefits.
a. VA will provide headstones or markers to memorialize veterans or mark the graves of veterans buried in national, State, or private cemeteries as well as those whose remains have not been recovered or identified. This includes those buried at sea, those remains donated to science, and those cremated and whose cremated remains were scattered without burying any portion of them. VA will also provide markers for eligible family members interred in a national or State Veteran's Cemetery. When interment is in a private cemetery, the cemetery may require, and charge for, a foundation for the marker and installation of the marker. Such costs must be paid from private funds.
b. VA may provide $300 toward the burial expenses of retirees who are eligible for VA pension or compensation and for those who die in VA medical facilities. An additional $150 gravesite or interment allowance may be paid if a retired soldier served during a war period and is not buried in a national cemetery or other Government cemetery.
c. If a retiree's death is service-connected, VA will pay an amount not to exceed $1,500 in lieu of the usual burial and gravesite allowance.
d. The VA will provide:
(1) An American flag, upon request, for covering the casket.
(2) A memorial certificate, bearing the President's signature, expressing our Nation's grateful recognition of the deceased veteran's service.
e. In addition to VA burial benefits, the surviving spouse or eligible child of a retiree may be eligible for a $255 lump-sum death benefit from Social Security. Local Social Security offices have details.
f. For more information on VA burial benefits, contact any VA office or national cemetery.
8-5. Burial in Arlington National Cemetery, Columbarium inurnment or burial in Army post cemeteries.
a. Burial in Arlington National Cemetery. Retirees are eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery and inurnment (for cremated remains) in the Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium, and the few Army post cemeteries where grave space is available. Their surviving spouses, minor children, and certain unmarried adult children are eligible for interment in the same grave.
b. Surviving spouse and eligible children who predecease the retiree may be interred in Arlington or a post cemetery provided the retiree, before the family member's burial, signs an agreement to be buried in the same grave. Eligible children are defined as those who are unmarried and under 21 or, if 21 or older and incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability, are dependent upon the retiree for more than one-half of their support. Approval authority for the burial of non-eligible adult children in Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) and Army post cemeteries is the Secretary of the Army. Requests for exception to policy for burial in ANC should be submitted to: Director, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211. Requests for exception to policy for burial in Army post cemeteries should be submitted to: Director, Casualty and Memorial Affairs Operations Center, ATTN: TAPC-PED-A, Alexandria, VA 22331-0482.
c. Assignment of space. One grave is authorized for the interment of a retiree and his or her eligible family members. A gravesite will be assigned at the time a request for interment is received. Gravesites may not be reserved in advance of the initial interment.
d. Arrangements for interment. As soon as possible after a retiree's death, the person making arrangements for the interment (usually the funeral director) should contact the Office of the Director of Arlington National Cemetery or the superintendent of the post cemetery where interment is desired. When a request for interment is received, a tentative date and time are scheduled pending verification from official records of the decedent's entitlement to burial. The funeral director or family member will be notified as soon as eligibility for burial is confirmed. The remains are not to be shipped to the cemetery until eligibility for burial is confirmed. The Office at Arlington National Cemetery is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The telephone numbers are (202) 695-3250, 695-3253 and 695-3255.
e. Cremated remains. Cremated remains may be taken directly to the cemetery, or they may be shipped via the U.S. Postal Service or air express to the Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211. If sent by air express, the funeral director or family member must arrange for pickup and delivery to the cemetery. If sent by mail, consult the post office for best parcel post method of delivery.
f. Cost. There is no charge for a niche in the Columbarium nor for the inscribed marble plaque with which each niche is sealed. Also, there is no charge for a grave in Arlington National Cemetery or Army post cemeteries, for opening and closing the grave, or for a Government headstone or marker, or installation of the marker. Other disposition of remains expenses, including preparation of the remains, a casket or urn, an outer shipping container, and/or burial vault, services of a funeral director, and transportation of remains to the cemetery are the responsibility of the family or other party that secured funeral services.
g. Additional information. Additional information concerning burial at Arlington National Cemetery, may be obtained from the Superintendent, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA 22211.
8-6. Burial in Other National Cemeteries.
VA has responsibility for national cemeteries, except Arlington and the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Contact the VA (1-800-827-1000) for more information.
8-7. Military Honors.
a. The continuing policy of the Department of the Army is to provide, when resources are available, the same funeral support to deceased retirees as is given to deceased active duty soldiers. Funeral support may include pallbearers, firing party, bugler, chaplain, and an officer or noncommissioned officer in charge. In those cases where full support cannot be provided, a Service representative will represent the Army at the interment service and present the flag to the designated recipient. The ultimate decision on the level of support provided is made by the installation commander having responsibility for the geographical area in which the deceased retiree is being buried. The intent of Army policy is for commanders to provide maximum support possible taking into consideration competing mission requirements or training priorities, availability of trained personnel, distance to be traveled, available funds, and time to respond.
b. The capability of the commander to provide full funeral support is, to a great extent, determined by the assigned strength of the activities from which funeral details will be drawn and the size of the retiree population in the geographical area of responsibility. Installations with small active contingents serving large retiree populations are finding it difficult to provide even the minimal support of an officer or enlisted representative. As the retiree population increases, and the size of the active force decreases, the availability of funeral details, even at larger installations, will decrease.
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a. This section will suggest some of the things retirees can do now to help their families prepare for the future. It will also summarize the major benefits to which the surviving spouses and, in some cases, the children or parents of retired soldiers may be entitled.
b. In planning for the future, it is important to remember that retired pay stops when the retiree dies unless the retired soldier was a participant in the Survivor Benefit Plan
c. Retirees are responsible for making sure their families understand that applications must be made to the appropriate Government agencies before survivor benefits can be paid. It is also the retirees responsibility to advise their families to file applications for any benefits for which they might be eligible.
9-2. Preparing a Will.
a. One of the first steps that should be taken is to make a will which expresses the distribution of an estate. A ready-made will or mimeographed form should not be used. Each will should be prepared by an attorney or a military legal assistance attorney. It is wise to have witnesses who live in the community and whose addresses are fairly permanent. An executor should be chosen who would be available to administer the estate and who qualifies under the applicable State laws.
b. A will should be kept in a safe, known, and easily accessible place. The Department of the Army does not maintain a repository for wills. Estates can be settled faster if the will is retained locally.
9-3. Personal Affairs.
a. The lack of knowledge of a deceased retiree's personal affairs may result in considerable inconvenience and even a loss of benefits to survivors. To minimize difficulties, keep a list of assets and the location of documents which will be needed to apply for them.
b. There are various papers and documents which should be readily accessible to the next of kin at the time of death. These include the will, life insurance policies, bankbooks, stocks and bonds, deeds to property, Social Security card, birth certificates, last retired pay statement, and DD Form 214 or "Notification of Eligibility for Retired Pay" letter.
c. It is also important for the surviving spouse of a retiree to possess proof of marriage when applying for compensation or pension from VA or Social Security, and when applying for other benefits. Equally important is proof of termination of any other marriages by the retiree or spouse.
9-4. Army Assistance to Survivors.
a. Upon request and availability a Casualty Assistance Officer (CAO) will assist the spouse and orphan(s) in applying for financial assistance from Army Emergency Relief (AER). If the need for financial assistance arises at a later date, application may be made to the nearest AER section located at most Army installations, to a local American Red Cross Chapter, or direct to Headquarters, AER, Department of the Army, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, VA 22332.
b. If the deceased retiree was receiving compensation or pension from VA, VA must be notified.
c. It is the retirees responsibility to tell their spouse or next of kin about the Army's casualty assistance program.
9-5. Other Assistance to Survivors.
a. There are certain organizations from which the survivors of a retiree may receive assistance.
b. Most military and veterans organizations are happy to provide advice and assistance.
10-1. Arrears in Pay.
a. It is important to know that entitlement to retired pay ceases immediately on the date of a retiree's death. Eligibility for retired pay does not pass to the surviving spouse or other survivors unless the retiree elected the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). The person the retiree designates as beneficiary for any unpaid retired pay will be eligible for a one-time payment which includes the pay due from the first of the month up to and including the date of death. DFAS-CL will notify the financial institution where the retired check was going to return the full amount of any retired pay deposited through EFT after the retiree's death. An application for arrears in retired pay (DD Form 1174) is sent by DFAS-CL to the beneficiary on file. Proof of death must accompany the completed application.
b. Retired paychecks which were sent by mail to a financial institution or directly to the retiree, which were not negotiated before the retiree's death, must be returned to DFAS-CL. Upon receipt of a completed application for arrears in pay, DFAS-CL will send the portion rightfully accruing to the deceased retiree's account to the beneficiary on file for arrears in pay.
10-2. Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP).
a. The SBP allows retirees to provide an annuity to certain designated survivors, i.e., spouse, spouse and child, child, former spouse, former spouse and child, or a person with an insurable interest.
b. Soldiers are automatically covered by the SBP once they attain retirement eligibility (e.g. acquire 20 years active service). While on active duty, SBP is free and provides an annuity of up to 55 percent of what the retired pay would be as of the date of death, if death occurs before retirement. Before retirement, soldiers must state in writing if they wish to continue that coverage, reduce it, or decline it.
c. Married soldiers may not elect less than full spouse coverage without their spouse's written consent (unless former spouse or former spouse and children coverage is elected). Married soldiers who decline coverage for a spouse at retirement may not elect to cover that spouse or any future spouse after retirement. Since an SBP annuity may be the major source of income for survivors, careful consideration should be given to participation in the plan as an important aspect of estate planning. Prospective retirees should thoroughly study the plan, discuss it with their spouses, and seek counseling from a Retirement Services Officer (RSO). It is the soldier’s responsibility to obtaining information and counseling from an RSO before making an SBP election decision.
10-3. Death Gratuity.
A death gratuity is payable to certain survivors of retirees who die of service-related causes during the 120-day period following retirement as determined by VA.
10-4. Government Insurance.
If the retiree had National Service Life Insurance or US Government Life Insurance at the time of death, VA will provide the beneficiary with the necessary forms and instructions for making application for insurance payments. Survivors who believe themselves to be insurance beneficiaries but who do not receive application forms and instructions should request them from the nearest VA office or from the Veterans Administration Center, PO Box 8079, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Identification of government insurance policies by number will expedite payment of claims.
10-5. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
a. Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is payable to certain survivors of retires whose death is determined by VA to be the result of a service-connected disability. In order for DIC to be payable, the retiree's death must result from--
(1) Disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on active duty or active duty for training, or
(2) Injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while on inactive duty training.
b. Authorized beneficiaries. DIC payments are authorized for surviving spouses and unmarried children under age 18 (as well as those between 18 and 23 if attending a VA-approved school) of certain veterans who were totally service-connected disabled at time of death and whose death was not the result of a service-connected disability, if:
(1) The veteran was continuously rated totally disabled for a period of 10 or more years, or
(2) The veteran was so rated for a period of not less than 5 years from the date of last discharge from military service. In the case of a surviving spouse, the marriage to the veteran must have been in effect at least 1 year immediately preceding the death of the veteran.
c. And other benefits. DIC payments are exempt from taxation and are not subject to seizure by the creditors of either the retiree or the beneficiary. Receipt of DIC will not disqualify an eligible family member from receiving Social Security benefits. The survivoring spouse’s standard SBP annuity will be reduced by the amount of the DIC payment. An SSBP annuity is not reduced by
d. Spouse payment. VA will make monthly DIC payments to the eligible surviving spouse of a retiree whose death is the result of a service-connected disability. Payments are made in addition to any other income received by the surviving spouse, but are offset dollar-for-dollar by SBP
e. Child payment. The DIC award will be increased for each child under age 18, and for each child over 18 who became permanently incapable of self-support before reaching age 18.
f. Surviving spouse remarriage. DIC payments terminate if the surviving spouse remarries (at any age). They may be reestablished if the second marriage is dissolved.
g. Child eligibility. When there is no surviving spouse entitled to DIC it may be paid to the children of a retired soldier whose death is the result of a service-connected disability. To be eligible for DIC payments, a child must--
(1) Be unmarried;
(2) Be under the age of 18;
(3) Have become permanently incapable of self-support before reaching age 18; or
(4) Be pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution. A child who qualifies in this category may continue to receive compensation payments until he or she reaches age 23, terminates education, or marries, whichever occurs first.
h. Adopted and step children. A legally adopted child or a stepchild also may qualify for the DIC payment.
i. Parent or parent-in-law. DIC may be paid to a parent or parents of a retired soldier whose death is the result of a service-connected disability regardless of whether a surviving spouse or child is also being compensated. The term "parent" includes father, mother, father through adoption, mother through adoption, or the person who last stood in loco parentis to the deceased retiree before his or her entry into the service. The amount of DIC paid to parents is dependent upon their annual income.
j. Aid and attendance. Surviving spouses and parents who qualify for DIC may be granted a special allowance for aid and attendance if they are patients in a nursing home, helpless or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person.
k. Housebound allowance. Surviving spouses who qualify for DIC who are not so disabled as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person but who, due to disability, are permanently housebound, may be granted a special monthly allowance in addition to the
10-6. Needs-based death pension.
a. VA will pay a death pension to a surviving spouse whose income falls below a level of support related to a national standard of need. Pensioners will generally receive benefits equal to the difference between their annual income from all sources and the appropriate income standard. In determining eligibility and the amount of benefits payable, all outside income is considered with exclusions for certain unusual one-time payments or expenditures.
b. Benefits are increased annually at the same time and by the same percentage as Social Security benefits. Most surviving spouses entitled to SBP will receive too much income to qualify for the needs-based death pension.
c. Application for the death pension is made on the same form as application for DIC payment and should be submitted in the same manner.
d. A surviving spouse who is granted a death pension will receive an annual income questionnaire from VA. On this questionnaire, the surviving spouse will report annual income and expected income for the coming year.
e. It is important that a surviving spouse who is receiving death pension payments report promptly to VA any change in income during the calendar year. Early notification to VA will save the inconvenience of being called upon to refund pension payments that have been received.
10-7. Loan Guarantee.
un-remarried surviving spouse of a retired soldier who died as a result of service-connected disability is eligible for a home loan guarantee. The guarantee may be obtained even though the retired soldier also obtained a loan guarantee before death.
10-8. Educational Assistance to Surviving Spouses and Children.
Educational assistance is available to surviving spouses and children of retired soldiers who are rated by VA as totally disabled by reason of service-connected disability or who die of injury or disease incurred or aggravated during wartime or in the performance of military duties during peacetime. Education benefits are normally paid for 10 years from the retired soldier's death. Children are eligible until age 26, although benefits may be extended in some circumstances.
10-9. Social Security.
Survivors may make application for Social Security benefits at the same time they apply for VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or death pension. The substantiating evidence they submit to VA also may be used by the Social Security Administration. However, survivors must still make application for Social Security benefits to a Social Security Administration office. Submission of separate applications with required substantiating evidence to VA and the Social Security Administration will expedite the processing of claims for compensation or pension and Social Security benefits.
10-10. Civil Service Survivor Annuities.
a. If a retired soldier should die while employed by the Federal Government after at least 18 months of creditable Federal civilian service, the surviving spouse will automatically get an annuity equal to 55 percent of the earned civil service annuity, provided they were married for at least 1 year (or there is a child of the marriage). This annuity is payable immediately upon the death of the employee.
b. Dependent children of a retired soldier who dies while employed by the Federal Government after at least 18 months of creditable civilian service are also entitled to a civil service annuity. Their annuities will continue until they die, marry, or reach 18 (age 22 if in school full time).
c. Inquiry may be made at the Bureau of Retirement, Insurance, and Occupational Health, Office of Personnel Management, Washington, DC 20415.
10-11. Civil Service Preference.
a. Ten points are added to the passing exam scores of unmarried surviving spouses of deceased retired soldiers who served on active duty during any war, or in any campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge or service medal was authorized.
b. Mothers. The mother of a retired soldier who became permanently and totally disabled because of a service-connected disability, is entitled to 10-point preference provided that she is widowed, divorced, or separated from the father of the veteran, or the father is permanently and totally disabled. An otherwise eligible mother who has remarried may be granted preference only if, with reference to the subsequent marriage, her husband is permanently and totally disabled, or she is divorced or legally separated, or she has been widowed.
c. Most civil service positions are filled through competitive examinations. Persons entitled to 10-point preference for Federal civil service employment must attain an eligibility rating in a civil service examination before the 10 points can be added.
d. Information concerning available Federal employment and civil service examinations may be obtained from the Federal Job Information Centers in your area. Examination announcements and application forms also may be obtained from most post offices throughout the United States.
10-12. State Benefits.
Many States have passed laws providing certain benefits to surviving spouses and children of deceased retired soldiers. Those include bonuses, educational assistance, employment preference, tax exemptions, and other benefits. Further information about the laws of a particular State should be obtained from local Government officials.
11-1. The Armed Forces Retirement Home.
a. Congress, in 1990, passed Public Law 101-510, Title XV, "The Armed Forces Retirement Home Act of 1991," which created an independent establishment in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government incorporating the United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home (USSAH) in Washington, DC, and the U.S. Naval Home (USNH) in Gulfport, Mississippi, into the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Policy oversight for both homes is exercised by the Armed Forces Retirement Home Board, appointed by the Secretary of Defense. Operational oversight for the individual homes are administered by local boards of trustees, appointed by the Service Secretaries.
b. Except as provided in subsections d and e, the following persons who served as members of the Armed Forces, at least one-half of whose service was not active commissioned service (other than as a Warrant Officer or Limited Duty Officer) are eligible to become residents of the
(1) Category 1 - Persons who are 60 years of age or over and were discharged or released from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions after 20 or more years of active service;
(2) Category II - Persons who are determined under rules prescribed by the AFRH Board to be incapable of earning a livelihood because of a service-connected disability incurred in the line of duty in the Armed Forces;
(3) Category III - Persons who served in a war theater during a time of war declared by Congress or were eligible for Hostile File Special Pay under section 310 of title 37, United States Code (37 USC 310); Were discharged or released from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions; and are determined under rules prescribed by the AFRH Board to be incapable of earning a livelihood because of injuries, disease, or disability; and
(4) Category IV - Persons who served in a women's component of the Armed Forces before the enactment of the Women's Armed Services Integration Act of 1948 and are determined under rules prescribed by the AFRH Board to be eligible for admission because of compelling personal circumstances.
c. Whenever the number of applicants is greater than an individual branch of the Retirement Home can accommodate, priority will be given to Army and Air Force applicants for admission to the USSAH, and to Navy and Marine Corps applicants for admission to the
d. For U.S. Coast Guard personnel, only active service when operating as part of the Navy will be considered in determining eligibility for admission.
e. Persons ineligible to be residents are persons described in subsection b(1) through b(4) who have been convicted of a felony or are not free of drug, alcohol, or psychiatric problems.
Members of the Homes receive quarters, meals, medical care, and laundry, dry cleaning, and shoe repair service. A comprehensive recreation and hobby shop program embracing a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities also is maintained for members.
11-2. The United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home.
a. The USSAH was established by Congress in March 1851 to provide a home and other benefits authorized by law for former enlisted and warrant officer members of the Regular Army and Regular Air Force.
b. The USSAH is not a military establishment, but rather a home for the relief and support of former members of the Armed Forces who have earned the right, under law, to its membership. It is a home whose pleasant grounds, fine buildings, excellent facilities, and carefully planned programs for the care and diversion of its members offer an attractive environment to qualified persons.
c. Home members are provided all necessary medical care and treatment by the King Health Center, a long-term care nursing facility. More complete facilities and services are available through a support agreement with Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other medical facilities.
d. Members of the Home, who so elect, may be buried in the USSAH National Cemetery, located adjacent to the Home.
e. The Home has all of the shops, facilities, and services essential to its operation and maintenance. There are also concessionaires and a branch of the Fort Myer Exchange available for the members' use.
f. Any former member of the Armed Forces who believes he or she meets the eligibility requirements may submit an application for admission directly to the Admissions Office, U.S. Soldiers' and Airmen's Home, 3700 N. Capitol Street, NW, Wash DC 20317.
11-3. United States Naval Home.
For information, write to the U.S. Naval Home, 1800 Beach Drive, Gulfport, Mississippi 39507-1597 or call 1-800-332-3527.
11-4. State Veterans Homes.
a. Many states maintain veterans homes for veterans. Some of the homes also admit certain family members or survivors.
b. Generally, a period of residency in a state or entry on active duty from the state is required for admission to a home. However, since entrance requirements and conditions of residence differ from state to state, information on a specific home should be requested from that state veterans agency or home.
UNIFORMED SERVICES FORMER SPOUSES’ PROTECTION ACT
The legal ramifications associated with the dissolution of a marriage should not be taken lightly. Competent legal advice should always be sought. Each person must seek competent legal advice to feel satisfied, not confused, with the advice they receive. Title 10 is a public document and available to all lawyers. In addition, because state laws differ and because it's state law that governs divorce proceedings and decrees, it is important that a legal advisor have complete knowledge of the divorce laws applicable to the state under which the divorce will be granted.
12-2. Effective Date.
The law prevents division of retired pay when the divorce was finalized prior to June 25, 1981.
12-3. Disposable Retired Pay.
Only disposable retired pay can be divided between the retiree and the former spouse. The term "disposable retired pay" means the total monthly retired pay to which a member is entitled less amounts which:
a. are owed by that member to the United States for previous overpayments of retired pay and for recoupments required by law resulting from entitlement to retired pay;
b. are deducted from the retired pay of such member as a result of forfeiture of retired pay ordered by a court-martial or as a result of a waiver of retired pay required by law in order to receive compensation under Title 5 and/or Title 38;
c. in the case of a member entitled to retired pay under chapter 61 of Title 10, are equal to the amount of retired pay of the member under that chapter computed using the percentage of the member’s disability on the date when the member was retired (or the date on which the member's name was placed on the temporary disability retired list); or
d. are deducted because of an election under chapter 73 of Title 10 to provide an annuity to a spouse or former spouse to whom payment of a portion of such member's retired pay is being made pursuant to a court order under this section.
12-4. Authority for Court to Treat Retired Pay as Property of the Member and Spouse.
a. Subject to the limitations of Title 10 USC, a court may treat disposable retired pay payable to a member for pay periods beginning after June 25, 1981, either as property solely of the member or as property of the member and his spouse in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction of such court. A court may not treat retired pay as property in any proceedings to divide or partition any amount of retired pay of a member as the property of the member and the members's spouse or former spouse if a final decree of divorce, dissolution, annulment, or legal separation (including a court ordered, ratified, or approved property settlement incident to such decree) affecting the member and the member's spouse or former spouse (A) was issued before June 25, 1981, and (B) did not treat (or reserve jurisdiction to treat) any amount of retired pay of the member as property of the member and the member's spouse or former spouse.
b. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, this section does not create any right, title, or interest which can be sold, assigned, transferred, or otherwise disposed of (including by inheritance) by a spouse or former spouse. Payments by the Secretary concerned under subsection (d) to a spouse or former spouse with respect to a division of retired pay as the property of a member and the member's spouse under this subsection may not be treated as amounts received as retired pay for service in the uniformed services.
c. This section does not authorize any court to order a member to apply for retirement or retire at a particular time in order to effectuate any payment under this section.
d. A court may not treat the disposable retired pay of a member in the manner described in paragraph (1) unless the court has jurisdiction over the member by reason of (A) his residence, other than because of military assignment, in the territorial jurisdiction of the court, (B) his domicile in the territorial jurisdiction of the court, or (C) his consent to the jurisdiction of the court."
12-5. Additional Information.
More complete information may be obtained by contacting an installation Staff Judge Advocate or a Retirement Services Officer or on the Army’s Retirement Services Web Site at www.odcsper.army.mil/retire/retire1.asp under the Unformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.
Many of benefits will come from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Complete information on VA benefits can be found in DA Pam 360-526, Once a Veteran or at www.va.gov.
13-2. VA benefits timetable.
Many VA benefits have time limitations on how long a veteran is eligible to take advantage of these benefits. A listing of VA benefits and the time frame for application is as follows:
Dental treatment. VA provides necessary dental care for veterans who were not provided dental examination and treatment within 90 days of discharge or separation from service. The time limit does not apply to veterans with dental disabilities resulting from combat wounds or service injuries.
Unemployment Compensation. The amount of benefit and payment period varies among states. Apply soon after retirement. Normally, retired pay will reduce unemployment benefits dollar for dollar.
VGLI. Servicemen's Group Life Insurance may be converted to VGLI (Veterans Group Life Ins.) - a five-year, renewable term policy. At the end of any five-year term, VGLI may be converted to an individual commercial policy with any participating insurance company. No physical is required.
GI Insurance. Life insurance (up to $10,000) is available for veterans with service-connected disabilities. Veterans who are totally disabled may apply for a waiver of premiums on these policies and for $20,000 additional insurance.
Education. You may be eligible for educational assistance while you pursue approved training if you participated in either the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) (Chapter 32) or the Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) while on active duty; or, if you had entitlement under the Vietnam Era GI Bill (Chapter 34) remaining on Dec. 31, 1989, and were on active duty from Oct. 19, 1984, through Jun. 30, 1988, without a break; or were on active duty from Oct. 19, 1984, through Jun. 30, 1987, and subsequently entered into the Selected Reserve under a four-year enlistment.
For members of the Montgomery GI Bill -- Selected Reserve (Chapter 106), benefits will end on the date of separation from the Selected Reserve or 10 years from the date eligibility began, whichever happens first.
Vocational Rehabilitation. For disabled vets, VA will pay tuition and fees, and the cost of books, tools, and other program expenses as well as provide a monthly living allowance. Upon completion of the vocational rehabilitation program, VA will assist in finding employment.
Disability compensation. VA pays compensation for disabilities incurred in or aggravated by military service. Compensation is tax free, but must be waived dollar-for-dollar from retired pay.
Medical care. VA provides a wide range of care benefits, including help for alcoholism and other drug dependency, to veterans with a service-connected disability and to nonservice-connected veterans who qualify. See Chapter 10 on VA medical care. Readjustment counseling is available at VA vet centers for veterans with readjustment problems.
GI Home Loan. VA will guarantee a loan for the purchase of a home, farm with a residence, manufactured home, or condominium.
Employment assistance. Assistance is available in finding employment in private industry, in federal and local government.
State Employment Offices; local Office of Personnel Management.
a. Under certain conditions, retired soldiers and their families, or their survivors, may receive monthly Social Security payments. General eligibility requirements for Social Security benefits are described in paragraph 14-2.
b. Social Security benefits are administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Only that agency can make the final determination as to whether or not Social Security benefits are payable. More detailed information on retirement and survivor benefits and many other aspects of Social Security are given in the booklet, Your Social Security (SSA Publication No. 05-10035), published by the Department of Health and Human Services. A copy of this and other informative publications may be obtained at any of the Social Security offices located throughout the United States, or by calling their toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.
14-2. Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Benefits.
a. Soldiers have had Social Security tax deducted from their active duty pay since 1 January 1957. Social Security tax is not, however, deducted from retired pay.
b. A retired soldier becomes insured for Social Security benefits through the quarters of coverage earned in employment covered by the Social Security law. Generally, a quarter of coverage is a 3-month period beginning 1 January, 1 April, 1 July, or 1 October in which the retired soldier (in most occupations, including military service) had the minimum required earnings.
c. A retired soldier has earned one quarter of coverage for every calendar quarter or part of a calendar quarter served on active duty during a period in which he or she was eligible for Social Security wage credits. The number of quarters of coverage a retired soldier has earned before reaching retirement age determines eligibility for Social Security benefits.
d. To be eligible for retirement benefits, the retired soldier must be fully insured. Once a retired soldier has earned 40 quarters of coverage, he or she is fully insured for life. Soldiers who were on active duty for at least 10 years have earned 40 quarters of coverage and are, therefore, fully insured.
e. While the number of quarters of coverage earned determines whether benefits are payable, a retired soldier will increase the future Social Security benefit amount by continuing to work in Social Security covered employment after retirement.
f. Full retired pay and full Social Security benefits may be drawn without an offset to either.
14-3. Types of Social Security payments.
a. Retirement payments.
(1) Worker benefit. Workers who are fully insured may receive a full monthly Social Security benefit at age 65. Workers who retire at age 62 receive 80 percent of the full benefit they would have received had they waited until age 65 to begin drawing it. The closer the worker is to age 65 when the benefit is first applied for, the larger the benefit. Once a worker elects to take the Social Security benefit at the reduced rate, the reduced rate will continue even after the worker's 65th birthday. It will, however, increase with cost of living adjustments or if additional wages are earned.
(2) Spouse/divorced spouse benefit. If a worker is receiving a Social Security retirement benefit, the spouse and/or divorced spouse may receive a spouse benefit based on the worker's record. The benefit will be approximately 37 and one-half percent of the worker's benefit if the spouse or divorced spouse begins drawing it at age 62. Every month the
spouse or divorced spouse delays receiving the benefit it increases. A full spouse benefit of 50 percent of the worker's benefit is payable if the spouse or divorced spouse begins drawing it at age 65. Once a reduced benefit is drawn, the reduced rate is not increased when the spouse or divorced spouse turns 65. A spouse may receive a benefit at any age if caring for a child, under age 16 or disabled, who is entitled to a child's benefit based on the worker's record.
(3) Child's benefit. Each unmarried dependent child under age 18 (up to 19 if still in secondary school (high school and below) or of any age if disabled before age 22 of a worker who is receiving a Social Security retirement benefit is eligible for a child's benefit based on the earnings of the worker parent.
b. Survivor payments.
(1) Surviving spouse/divorced spouse. A surviving spouse married at least one year, or a divorced spouse who was married for 10 or more years to a worker may be entitled to receive 100 percent of the worker's benefit at age 65. A reduced benefit may be drawn as early as the surviving spouse or divorced spouse's 60th birthday. A surviving spouse who remarries after age 60 continues to receive the surviving spouse benefit.
(2) Caring for child. If the surviving spouse/divorced spouse is under 62 and caring for a worker's child (under age 16 or disabled) entitled to a child's benefit, the surviving spouse/divorced spouse benefit will be three-fourths of the worker's benefit subject to a maximum family benefit limit. The benefit to the surviving spouse or divorced spouse will terminate when the child reaches age 16, unless the child is disabled. If a disabled child continues to receive benefits, the surviving spouse/divorced spouse may continue to receive benefits.
(3) Dependent children. Each unmarried dependent child under 18 may be entitled to a child's benefit based on the Social Security account of a deceased worker. An unmarried dependent child 18 or older may be entitled to benefits if the child was disabled before age 22 or is a full-time student under age 19. Each child receives a monthly benefit of three-fourths of the worker's benefit subject to a maximum family benefit limit.
(4) Dependent parent. A parent who was supported by more than one half by the deceased worker at the time of the deceased worker's death or the beginning of the deceased worker's period of disability may receive a benefit at age 62. This benefit would be in addition to the benefit received by a surviving spouse/divorced spouse or child. The parent must file proof of support within two years of the worker's death or application for a period of disability. One parent will receive 82 1/2 percent of the worker's benefit. If there are two parents, each will receive three-fourths of the worker's benefit subject to a maximum family benefit limit.
c. Disability payments. An eligible worker can become entitled to disability payments at any time before age 65. A surviving spouse/divorced spouse who becomes disabled before age 65 may receive Social Security disability payments as early as age 50. The disability benefit is paid in addition to retired pay or VA service-connected disability compensation. The eligibility criteria for Social Security disability is much stricter than for Army disability retirement or VA service-connected disability compensation. Contact Social Security for more details.
14-4. Eligibility for more than one type of benefit.
a. Each married person who has earned sufficient quarters of Social Security coverage in his or her own right has the option of drawing a worker benefit on his or her own work record or a surviving spouse benefit based on his or her spouse's work record. Further, a person entitled to a benefit based on his or her own work, and a surviving spouse/former spouse benefit, may switch from one type of benefit to another if it is financially advantageous. An individual entitled to a benefit based on his or her own work, and a higher spouse benefit on his or her spouse's Social Security record, is required to file for both benefits, if eligible to receive both benefits at the time their application is filed. Two examples follow:
(1) Example 1: Tom is drawing $750 monthly in Social Security. At age 62, his wife Mary is eligible for a benefit of $225 on her own work record, or $325 as the spouse of Tom (37 1/2% of Tom's benefit). She is required to file for both benefits. If Mary's own benefit is higher than her benefit as Tom's spouse, she is not required to file for the spouse benefit.
(2) Example 2: Joe died leaving a 60 year old widow, Susan. Susan, at 60, could not yet draw a benefit on her own covered employment. Instead, she drew a surviving spouse's benefit of $536, 71.% of Tom's benefit. At age 65, Susan switched from the $536 surviving spouse's benefit to a benefit of $700 based on her own covered employment.
14-5. Eligibility for a pension from work not covered by Social Security.
In most cases, a person who first qualified on or after July 1, 1983, for a local, state, or federal pension from work not covered by Social Security will have the Social Security spouse or surviving spouse benefit reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds of the pension amount. This is called the Government Pension Offset. Call your local Social Security office for more details.
14-6. Benefits reduced for those with little Social Security covered employment.
The Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision requires that a reduced formula be used to calculate Social Security benefits for those with very little Social Security covered employment who are also eligible for a pension based upon their own work, which was not covered by Social Security. This would apply to those with few active duty years after December 1956. It would also affect a civil service retiree who perhaps had only part-time Social Security covered employment. Call your local Social Security Office for more details.
14-7. Lump-sum death payment.
Upon the death of an eligible worker, a lump-sum death payment of $255 is paid in addition to monthly benefits from any other agency. The lump-sum death payment is made only to a surviving spouse or, if there is no eligible surviving spouse, to a child eligible to draw a benefit on the worker's record.
See Chapter 7 for an explanation of Social Security Medicare.
14-9. Sources of more information.
To obtain more information about Social Security benefits, call toll-free, 1-800-772-1213 - business days, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Information may also be obtained at www.ssa.gov
REFERENCES AND ABBREVIATIONS
Related Army publication that can be used as a source of additional information are listed below. These publications are available through the US Army Publications and Printing Command Web Site at www.usapa.army.mil.
AR 632-35 (Appearances Before Command or Agency of the Dept of the Army)
AR 37-104-1 (Payment of Retired Pay to Members and Former Members of the U.S.
AR 135-80 (Qualifying Service for Retired Pay Non-regular Service)
AR 290-5 (Army National Cemeteries)
AR 600-8-1 (Army Casualty and Memorial Affairs and Line of Duty
AR 635-5 (Separation Documents)
AR 635-10 (Processing Personnel for Separation)
AR 635-40 (Physical Evaluation for Retention, Retirement, or Separation)
AR 635-100 (Officer Personnel)
AR 635-200 (Enlisted Personnel)
AR 640-3 (Identification Cards, Tags, and Badges)
AR 930-2 (United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home)
DA Pam 360-506 (Disability Separation)
DA Pam 360-526 (Once a Veteran)
DA Pam 600-8-11 (Military Personnel Office Separation Processing
DA Pam 608-4 (A Guide for the Survivors of Deceased Army Members)
DA Pam 608-33 (Casualty Assistance Handbook)
DA Form 4240 (Data for Payment of Retired Army Personnel)
DD Form 2a (res) (red) (Reserve ID Card)
DD Form 2a (ret) (blue) (Retired ID Card)
DD Form 48-3 (Personnel Security Questionnaire)
DD Form 149 (Application for Correction of Military or Naval Record)
DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty)
DD Form 1173 (Uniformed Services Identification and Privilege Card)
DD Form 1357 (Statement of Employment)
DD Form 1787 (Report of DOD and Defense-Related Employment)
SF 1199A (Authorization for Direct Deposit of Federal Recurring Payments)
IRS Form 1099-R (Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.)
TD Form W-4 (Employee Withholding Allowance Statement)
Army Career and Alumni Program - Transition and job assistance for retiring soldiers, civilians, and their family members.
Army Emergency Relief - A private organization which provides financial assistance to active and retired soldiers and their families.
Arrears in pay - Retired pay which has not been paid to the retired soldier before his or her death.
Army Echoes - An authorized periodical published for retired soldiers and their annuitant survivors.
Base amount - Gross retired pay or any amount down to $300 upon which an SBP annuity is based.
CHAMPUS - A program which shares with retired soldiers and their families the cost of medical care through civilian sources.
Deemed SBP election - An SBP election established by a former spouse's request, within one year of date of divorce, when a retired soldier has failed to establish the election in compliance with a court order to do so.
DEERS - A data base containing information on beneficiaries eligible for military medical care and CHAMPUS.
DIC - A tax-free, monthly compensation paid to survivors by the VA when an active or retired soldier's death is due to an injury or illness incurred on or aggravated by active duty.
Disposable retired pay - Retired pay which may be divided with a former spouse as property when a court so orders.
Electronic Funds Transfer - A method of electronically sending retired pay to a financial institution.
Gray area retiree - A reserve soldier who has completed 20 years service, qualifying for retirement purposes but who has not reached age 60 and is not yet entitled to retired pay.
Non-annuitant spouse - A surviving spouse who is not eligible for a Survivor Benefit Plan annuity.
Retirement Services Officer - A local officer that provides information and assistance to retired soldiers and their families.
SBP - A plan into which retiring soldiers may enroll to provide for continuation of a portion of their retired pay to survivors.
Supplemental SBP - A plan which can be elected by retiring soldiers to increase the age-62 SBP annuity by 5 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent, or 20 percent of the base amount.
Unpaid retired pay - The same as arrears of pay.
Uniformed Services Former Spouses" Protection Act - A law which provides benefits for certain former spouses of retired soldiers.
US Voluntary Insurance Program - A private health insurance for those who lose eligibility for medical care through the military medical care system.
VEAP - A program run by the VA which pays education benefits to soldiers based on active duty served.
VGLI - A renewable VA insurance available to retiring soldiers