Blended Retirement System - The Essentials

Under the military’s Blended Retirement System, about 85 percent of all active-duty and reserve service members will receive a retirement benefit, even if they don’t qualify for full retirement. That’s a big difference from the low numbers of service members today saving for retirement. Your future self will thank you if you begin saving even modestly today. Recent changes make it easier to save for your future.

Learn how you can safeguard your financial future and understand the retirement system, including:

What do I need to know when deciding whether to change over to the system?

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One of the most important things you'll need to do in making a decision of whether or not to opt into the Blended Retirement System is assess the likelihood that you will serve for at least 20 years. If you do not serve that long and do not join the Blended Retirement System, you will not receive a lifetime monthly annuity nor service contributions to your Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, account.

Do your homework and stay informed on early retirement savings and your ability to build interest over time. Get answers to all your retirement questions before you make a decision.

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Am I eligible for the Blended Retirement System?

Service members in the active component as of Dec. 31, 2017, who have served fewer than 12 years, or service members in the National Guard or reserves who have accrued fewer than 4,320 retirement points as of Dec. 31, 2017 and are in a paid status, have the option of electing the Blended Retirement System or to remain in the legacy retirement system.

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How do I opt into the Blended Retirement System?

First, you have to complete the mandatory Blended Retirement System Opt-In Course via Joint Knowledge Online or your service's learning management system before the opt-in option is available to you. If you have completed the Blended Retirement System Opt-In Course via Military OneSource, you must turn the completion certificate in to your training manager before the opt-in option is available to you.

Then, to opt into the Blended Retirement System, you need to visit one of these designated resources, depending on your branch of service, between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018.

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How long will the Department of Defense match my contributions?

Once you are enrolled in the Blended Retirement System, the Department of Defense will contribute 1 percent of your basic pay to your Thrift Savings Plan after 60 days of entering service and will begin to match your contributions (up to an additional 4 percent when you contribute at least 5 percent), at the start of your third year of service. Both the 1 percent contribution and matching contributions from the Department of Defense continue through the end of your 26th year of service.

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How does the Thrift Savings Plan figure into the system?

Blended retirement enrolls all service members joining after January 2018 into the Thrift Savings Plan, with automatic and matching Department of Defense contributions. After completion of two years of service, you are vested and that money belongs to you. If you leave, it goes with you.

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