If a soldier is retired for time in service or medically retired, he is required to attend a retirement briefing on post. This briefing must be attended in order to outprocess from the post. Spouses are encouraged to attend the briefing as well.
While most benefits and compensation plans apply to time in service retirements and medical retirements the same, there are some differences particularly if the soldier is being placed on TDRL (temporary disability retirement list). This briefing is a great time to have all of your questions answered; do not be shy about speaking up.
In addition to covering benefits and the way the pay process works, they will provide a large stack of paperwork and the retirement booklet. This retirement booklet is an invaluable resource and covers a great deal of information. Nearly any information you could possibly need is covered in this booklet.
They will also explain who the soldier’s RSO (Retirement Service Officer) will be. This person is there to assist in the transition as well as answer any questions that may arise as the soldier enjoys their retirement from military life. Offices can be found at www.armyg1.army.mil/retire
One of the most important reasons for the spouse to be present is to hear the information about the SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan). This program is designed to continue to provide 55% of the soldier’s retirement compensation to the spouse and/or children when the soldier passes away. There is a small premium for this program that can be taken as an allotment from retirement pay. The premium is based on the amount of retirement compensation received. This is the only chance to sign up for this program. If this coverage is not elected, all retirement pay will cease when the soldier dies. Coverage can be provided at the maximum of 55% rate or a reduced rate. The soldier cannot deny this coverage without consent of the possible beneficiary (typically the current spouse).
Information on converting SGLI (Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance) to VGLI (Veterans Group Life Insurance) is also provided. If SGLI is converted to VGLI within 120 days of retirement, there is no physical required. For those who may be unable to obtain life insurance with a physical, this can be a great option. For others who are otherwise healthy, you are encouraged to explore your options as VGLI premiums can be incredibly expensive after the age of 60.