Military Retirement Pay For Service or Medical Retirement

The military pension system is one of the greatest benefits of serving in the military. After twenty years of service, the soldier is entitled to a pension. The pension is calculated based on the number of years of service. For each year of service, the military awards a pension of 2.5%. For twenty years of service, the pension is 50% of base pay; for thirty years of service, the pension is 75% of base pay, etc.

In the past, there was a cap of 75% of base pay. This was changed and those who serve more than thirty years can still have those extra years of service count in the calculation of retirement pay. This also means that those who served more than forty years can receive more than their base pay in retirement.

Base pay can be calculated in several different ways depending on when the soldier entered the military:

1. Before September 1980 = Final Pay System

2. September 8, 1980 – August 1986 = High 36 System

3. After August 1986 = High 36 System or Career Status Bonus/REDUX (CSB) System

In addition, retired service members also receive COLA each year as well.

The DFAS website has more in depth information about military retirement pay.

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Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. Many years my husband and I served, he was the soldier but I was the supporting wife. When I hear about how much time the soldiers these days are spending in Iraqu, it is hard for me to imagine the transition to life at home with your family. Charles my husband served in Vietnam and he only spent 13 months in the war zone, but when he returned he was a different person. His personality change was so dramatic until it actually changed how he looked. After Vietnam he smiled a lot less and things that were important to him before going to Vietnam, were no long important when he returned. It actually took us several years to fill up that hole of 13 monts.

    My heart goes out to the military members and their families, it is not an easy task. They make it seem simple when they talk about a military man or woman serving their country, but the not only serve the entire family makes a sacrifice.

    Prior to going to Vietnam Charles used to play with the children a lot doing silly things. His heart was very light and he seemed very happy. When he returned, it seemed as if there were two Charles’, the one that was there and the one who was missing. We used to share almost everything but after Vietnam there was a part of his life that it seemed he just could not share.

    While Charles was in the service he always wanted to appear to be in great health and for the most part he was. His 10 mile runs in the mornings with the troops helped to keep his blood sugar levels down so the fact that he had Diabetes never showed up until he retired. After retirement he found out about the diabetes and we had heard about Agent Orange, but did not really pay much attention to it.

    Charles mother had diabetes and he just assumed the reason for the diabetes being so aggressive was because it was inherited. It was about two years after he retired that he found out about Agent Orange and when the Dr.s took a test of his pancrease they saw something different then what they saw in normal diabetics. Charles applied the the VA and they gave him disability of 10 percent not because of the diabetes but because of a problem he had with his hands. Charles begin to show signs of neuropathy in his hans and arms. It was not until 2003 that VA recognized the affects of Agent Orange. Shortly after that Charles recieved 80% disability. Just recently Charles died from the affects of Agent Orange.

    This was from 13 months exposure to a war, it is hard to imagine what consequences our soldiers will suffer after spending years in a war zone, where weapons are fired and chemicals are used.

    It bugs me to hear the words support our troops, those are just words. Real support could not send a young man to battle for months and months at a time. Support of a soldier would be more understanding of what the soldier goes through and what his family has to face. Can you imagine telling your children that their dad would not be coming home any more. That sacrifce is suffered not only during the time it occurred but for generations to come. The hardest part is when they deny what they knew they have done.

    It goes way beyond the government, it is not the government sending us to war. The government does not run the country, big business and money runs the country. Our military men and women are nothing but ponds. We are actually using our resources to maintain the riches of the rich. Every war we have had, has had something to do with economics. The reason we did not have a war with Cuba was because of economics. Cuba served no purpose, they have nothing worth going to war for.

    I did get a VA pension as a widow because of Agent Orange, but everything else has been cut. I’m currently living in Costa Rica and I can not get TRI-CARE benefits unless I pay for Medicare benefits, but medicare does not pay medical cost overseas. I would be paying every month for nothing, plus in Costa RIca because TRI-Care pays so lousey most Dr.s and hospitals will not accept TRI-CARE and I can not get VA medical care because I’m not signed up for Medicare, but then again if I’m entitled to Tri-Care, I am not elibigle for VA medical benefits.

    My husband served and I served right the with him, when they trashed him, I was the one that carried him through. As a military wife you are deserving of all the benefits that the husband is entitled to, thats the way I feel. Not many wives are going to survive until the end but there should be something that says if you were with the soldier during his military service career there should be something more.

    No amount of money could ever pay for what is suffered as a consequence of war, but to have your income reduced almost 75% is very difficult.

    1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband and all that you have had to deal with because of Vietnam. I cannot even imagine. My uncle also died from the effects of Agent Orange. It worries me as well what our soldiers could be exposed to now that we will find out years later is dangerous.

  2. Was wondering when you retire at 20 years from the Army, can you get Retirement, VA Disibility, AND SSDI. Based off a Soldier receiving over 50% from the VA of course? I know you can obviously get Retirement and VA, but can you ALSO receive SSDI? cause I got a Bad Back, Right Knee, Right Shoulder, mTBI and PTSD and was just wondering…Thanks!

  3. I am retireing july 26 2013 and it will be 21yrs my retirement is july 26 2012 20 good yrs. and I was wondering what is my benefits. and will I be able to get SSdI for my left Knee that was mess up in the military wile I was serving. please response back to me Cpl Lucy M. Martin

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