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Getting Retirement Pay

Military service has advantages, but it also can be difficult. Those who adjust to the rigorous lifestyle and sustain it for 20 or more years are rewarded for life with a monthly military retirement check.

Military retirement pay is unlike civilian retirement pay systems. There is no vesting, no matching funds, no interest, and no special retirement accounts. A retired military member is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), that code of laws that applies only to military members. That means, for example, that a military retired member can be court-martialed for misconduct committed as a retired member. Additionally, a military member can be involuntarily “un-retired” (that is, returned to active duty) for any reason that the military feels is appropriate.

After a number of years of military service, you can retire.  For more information please read:

Your Retirement Pay

Military members receive different types of pay, depending on their job, assignment, and other individual factors. As a member of the military, you may receive combat pay, subsistence allowance, housing allowance, hazardous duty pay, flight pay, jump pay, sea pay, submarine duty pay, and more. When it comes to retirement pay calculation, however, only basic pay counts. Everyone in the military receives basic pay. The amount of monthly basic pay you receive is based on your rank and how many years of military service you have. For more information please read:

How Retired Pay Fits with Social Security and Other Money Matters

A common question from military retirees who have not yet reached the age of 65 is, “Will military retired pay affect my Social Security benefits?” The answer is no. Your military retirement pay is not reduced when you receive Social Security, nor are your Social Security benefits reduced because you receive military retirement pay.  For more information on this and other money issues please see:

Your Medical Retirement

Military service is a dangerous business. Sometimes a serious injury or illness may interrupt a successful military career. In such cases, military medical authorities may decide that medical retirement is appropriate if the medical condition is severe enough to interfere with the proper performance of your military duties. For more information please see:

Keeping DFAS Up-to-Date

Informing the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) of any developments in account such as change of address or number of exemptions claimed for tax withholding purposes is important to remember.

To update the DFAS, retired service members can call toll-free within the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) at 800-321-1080. The commercial number for calls made from outside the United States is 216-522-5955. DFAS hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. eastern time.

For financial changes, service members are required to sign a request and is not possible by telephone. Service members can use the DFAS’s myPay Website for monetary changes at https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx.

Send the request to:

Defense Finance & Accounting Service,

Cleveland Center Retired Pay Operations (Code PPR),

P.O. Box 99191, Cleveland, OH 44199-1126

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