Guard And Reserve Retirement

U.S. Army Reserve Spcs. Jahvar Billings and Anthony Clark, 385th Transportation Detachment, Fort Bragg, N.C., guide a Humvee driver during a training exercise at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., June 15, 2016. (Army Photo: Spc. Daisy Zimmer)

National Guard and Reserve servicemembers who complete a minimum of 20 "qualifying" years of service (creditable retirement years) become eligible for retired pay at age 60.

How Is Retirement Calculated?

A qualifying year is a year in which the member earns at least 50 retirement points. Inactive point credit is earned for inactive duty training, reserve membership, equivalent instruction, and correspondence courses.

By law, members may receive credit for up to 60 inactive points for retirement years that ended before Sep. 23, 1996, up to 75 inactive points for retirement years ending on or after Sep. 23, 1996 and before Oct. 30, 2000, and up to 90 points in the retirement year that includes Oct. 30, 2000 and in any subsequent year of service. Points from these sources may be added to points earned from active duty and active duty for training for a maximum total of 365 or 366 points per retirement year. Points are credited on the following basis:

  • One point for each day of active service (active duty or active duty for training).
  • 15 points for each year of membership in a Reserve Component (Guard and Reserve).
  • One point for each unit training assembly.
  • One point for each day in which a member is in a funeral honors duty status.
  • Satisfactory completion of accredited correspondence courses at one point for each three credit hours earned.

A law passed in early 2008 allows Reserve and Guard members with 20 or more years to begin drawing retirement benefits before age 60 if they deploy for war or national emergency.  For every 90 consecutive days spent mobilized, members of the Guard and reserve will see their start date for annuities reduced by three months.  But this law only applies for deployment time served after Jan. 28, 2008.

Visit the DoD's Retirement Pay Calculator Page to get an estimate of your monthly retirement pay at age 60.

Formulas for Computing Retired Pay

  • If you first entered the military before Sep. 8, 1980:
    Compute your retired pay based on length of service by multiplying the basic monthly pay for your retired grade at the time of retirement by the years of creditable active federal service at the rate of 2.5% for each whole year of service. This is called the "Final Pay" retirement system. That means you get 50% for 20 years of service up to a maximum of 75% .
  • If you first entered a uniformed service between Sep. 8, 1980 and July 31, 1986:
    Compute your retired pay using the same formula as the Final Pay system above, except you use the average basic pay for your three highest paid years (36 months) rather than final basic pay. This is called the High 36. Under the High 36 system you you get 50% for 20 years of service up to a maximum of 75%.
  • Your years of service are used to determine the value of each point. Your retirement points are multiplied by the approximate value of a point to   produce the estimate monthly retired pay value. For example an E-9 with 20 years in 2009 would receive a valuation of approximately 0.360 per point whereas the same retiree would get 0.432 for 30 years of service.

An important factor: A member who retires under either system receives longevity credit for those years while a member of the Retired Reserve awaiting pay at age 60. However, this does not apply to a former member who is entitled to retired pay under either the Final Basic Pay System or the High-three System. A former member is defined as an individual who elected discharge rather than transfer to the Retired Reserve anytime after receiving notification of eligibility to receive Reserve retired pay at age 60. In the case of a former member, regardless of the system under which the individual will receive Reserve retired pay, longevity credit ceases on the date the former member was discharged.

Visit the DoD's Retirement Pay Calculator Page to get an estimate of your monthly retirement pay at age 60.

Blended Retirement System

Reservists are also eligible for the Blended Retirement System effective Jan. 1, 2018. The Blended Retirement System does not change how retirement points are calculated for members of the National Guard and Reserve. Points are still earned by participating in drill, attending annual training and completing active duty, among other eligible categories. National Guard or Reserve members with 20 or more qualifying years are eligible to receive their monthly retired pay starting at age 60 or earlier based on qualifying active service.

See our Blended Retirement System page for more details.

Keep Up With Military Pay Updates

Military pay benefits are constantly changing. Make sure you're up-to-date with everything you've earned. Subscribe to to receive updates on all of your military pay and benefits, delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues