One of the most wide-reaching and significant changes to military pay and benefits of the last 70 years goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, with the implementation of the Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System (BRS). The new system blends aspects of the traditional defined benefit retirement pension system, with a defined contribution system of automatic and matching government contributions through the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). All new entrants into the Uniformed Services on or after Jan. 1, 2018, will be enrolled in this new retirement system.
Nearly 1.6 million current service members will have the option to remain in the current legacy high-3 retirement system or choose the BRS when the opt-in period for eligible service members opens on Jan. 1, 2018. Opt-in eligible service members from all seven of the Uniformed Services will have an entire year to make their retirement system election. The open period for the majority of service members is from Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2018.
Service members will need to visit one of these designated resources to opt into BRS:
· Army, Air Force, Navy: MyPay (https://mypay.dfas.mil)
· Marine Corps: Marine Online (MOL) (https://www.mol.usmc.mil)
· Coast Guard, NOAA Commissioned Corps: Direct Access (https://portal.direct-access.us)
· U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS): Contact the USPHS Compensation Branch
Service members who believe they are eligible to opt-in, but do not see the opt-in option available online, should contact their local personnel/human resources office to verify eligibility. The decision to opt-in is irrevocable, even if a service member changes their mind before the deadline on Dec. 31, 2018. If an eligible service member takes no action, they will remain in the legacy retirement system.
Prior to opting in, service members should take advantage of all available resources to assist in making an informed decision on the financial implications specific to their retirement situation. The DOD endorses several training and informational tools to support a service member’s decision, to include the BRS Opt-In Course, the BRS Comparison Calculator and numerous online BRS resource materials. Service members can receive no-cost, personal support from an accredited personal financial manager or counselor available at their installation’s Military and Family Support Center or by calling Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647.
The change to the retirement system is a key step in modernizing the Uniformed Service’s ability to recruit, retain and maintain an all-volunteer force in the 21st century. For more information about BRS, visit http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement.