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:

Military OneSource Financial Counseling

If you have questions about saving for retirement, contact Military OneSource to speak with a financial counselor.

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Am I eligible for the Blended Retirement System?

Service members who join after January 2018 are automatically enrolled into the Blended Retirement System. Other service members either elected to join the new blended retirement system or chose to retain the legacy retirement plan. If you previously chose to keep the legacy plan but now wish to switch to the blended retirement system, you are currently unable to do so.

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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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