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What is the Blended Retirement System?

The Blended Retirement System (BRS) blends the traditional, 20-year cliff-vested defined benefit annuity, similar to the existing Uniformed Services’ legacy retirement systems, with a defined contribution plan that allows Service members to contribute to a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account with government automatic and matching contributions. This change of military retirements was a result of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission.

When Congress passed Blended Retirement in the 2016 NDAA, they also passed into law the requirement for DoD to teach Financial Literacy to Service members and their spouse upon request. The Service Secretaries will ensure financial literacy training at key phases of a Service member’s career.

 

Am I eligible to “Opt-In” to the Blended Retirement system?

You are eligible if you are a Service member in drilling or active Service, who is in a paid status on 31DEC17 and you have less than 4,320 retirement points. If you are eligible to opt-in to the Blended Retirement System, you must take the mandatory Blended Retirement opt-in training.

For Army National Guard members: To obtain your point summary, you must see your State RPAM NCO for your “ARNG Annual Statement, Form 23A”. The correct column to use to verify your opt-in eligibility is the “Total credible points”.

For Air National Guard members: You can find your points by visiting the vMPF (virtual MPF) on the AF Portal. Once in vMPF, go to “Self Service Actions” then go to “Personal Data”, “ANG/USAFR Point Credit Summary Inquiry (PCARS)”, and “Service History”. You should use the Total Points Summary however, please verify your points with your FSS.

Chief of the National Guard Bureau Blended Retirement Message


Blended Retirement System Highlights:

  • Under BRS about 85 percent of service members will receive a government retirement benefit if they serve at least two years, even if they don’t qualify for a full retirement.
  • Blended Retirement System does not change the manner in which members of the National Guard earn retirement points.
  • Eligibility for continuation pay is based on a member’s years of service on the day they sign the agreement to continue serving. If a Service member is eligible to opt into the Blended Retirement System as of December 31, 2017, but will soon after go over 12 years of service, they must make their opt-in decision and agree to the additional obligated service before reaching the completion of 12 years of service if they wish to receive continuation pay.
  • Current service members opting into the new Blended Retirement System between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, will receive DoD automatic 1 percent contribution and up to 4 percent additional DoD matching beginning the first pay period after opting in – there is no 60 day/2-year waiting period as there is for new accessions starting January 1, 2018. Those who opt in will be immediately entitled to their own contributions and government matching contributions. However, Service members must have at least two years of service (based on Pay Entry Base Date) in order to entitled to the government’s automatic 1 percent contributions and associated earnings.
  • Service members can make contributions to their TSP accounts and/or a 401(k) or similar retirement account in the same tax year, but are subject to a single IRS elective deferral limit ($18,000 for 2017).
  • National Guard Service members will not have to re-elect TSP percentages every time their pay status changes (activating and deactivating) – TSP elections carry-over.
  • Long-term success in the Blended Retirement System is dependent on maximum Thrift Savings Plan contributions and individual participation of retirement savings.
  • Eligibility for DoD matching contributions ends at the end of the 26th year of service.