Army Reserve Retirement System
The Army Reserve Retirement System is a little less straight forward than its Active Duty counter part. The entire system is based on accumulating retirement points. Some of the things you can do for retirement points can also get you promotion points.
Army Reserve Retirement Age
Soldiers in the Army Reserve are eligible to receive retirement compensation at the age of 60 as long as they have accumulated 20 “Good Years”. However, in January 2013, Congress has created an option that allows soldiers to opt into a reduced-age retirement. For every fiscal year, the soldier can earn a maximum 90 days towards early retirement. To earn this, the soldier must be mobilized for a minimum of 90 days total during
that fiscal year. Army Reserve Soldiers can use this system to reduce their retirement age to as low as 50.
Reserve Retirement “Good Year”
For any one year to count towards your retirement, it must be classified as a “Good Year”. No, we are not talking about tires here. A “Good Year” is one in which you served in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) or the Active Reserve (AR) and accumulated a minimum of 50 retirement points. Your year for accounting purposes is not the same a calendar year or even the Army fiscal year.
50+ Retirement Points = 1 “Good Year”
Each soldier has their own date that their retirement year starts and ends. Mine, for example, starts April 30th. This is when I signed my first contract with the Army entering into the Delayed Entry Program (DEP). So, any points I accumulate between April 30th and April 29th of the next year go toward one retirement year.
Army Reserve Retirement Pay
Once you have 20 “Good Years” toward your Army Reserve Retirement, and meet the age requirement above, you can start drawing a retirement check. But, how much will your check be? The Active Duty system is pretty simple. You get paid 2.5% of your base pay for every year you serve. The Army Reserve is the same, although a year of service is defined a little differently. One year of service for Reserve retirement is considered 360 retirement points. Reserve service is “converted” to active service by dividing retirement points by 360.
SFC Smith has earned a total of 4027 retirement points while serving in the Army. He has received his 20 year letter and is trying to determine how much his retirement will be when he hits 60 years old.
4027 / 360 = 11.186 years
11.186 x 2.5% = 27.965%
This means that SFC smith will receive a monthly check for 27.965% of the average of his 3 highest paying years in the Army. You can check your LES to see what this will be for you since everyone has a different situation. But, to make things simple, we will look at the SFC pay rate with 20 years of service.
27.965% x 4372 = $1222.63 / month.
Maximum Retirement Points per Year
The maximum number a points you can get each year is not number of calendar days in that year. This is in reference to total Army Reserve Retirement points. However, there is a second maximum that is typically more important to remember. The maximum Inactive Duty Training (IDT) points is more relevant to the Army Reserve soldier. This is because the majority of your points throughout the year will fall into this category. These different categories will be discussed below in the “Earning Army Reserve Retirement Points” section.
Maximum IDT point limits have 4 different dates to reference. These effective dates show changes to the regulation. As long as your points were earned after the effective dates, they are subject to the corresponding maximums listed below.
Earning Army Reserve Retirement Points
Army Reserve Retirement Points can be earned in the following ways:
Inactive Duty Training (IDT), paid and non-paid 4 or 8 hour duty (IRR Soldiers must be attached to a Unit per AR 140-10 to earn points this way.)
- The main thing this applies to is your monthly drill. Every full day of drill is considered 2 retirement points.
Active Duty (AD), Active Duty for Training (ADT), Annual Training (AT)
- Every calendar day you spend on orders is considered 1 retirement point.
Distance Learning (Nonresidential) Points
- Every 8 hours worth of distance education you complete is worth 1 retirement point.
Funeral Honors Duty (Maximum of 1 retirement point per calendar day)
- Funeral Duty must be a minimum of 2 hours to qualify and is worth 1 retirement points.
Army Reserve Membership
- Just for being a part of the Army Reserves or even the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR), you get 15 retirement points in the IDT section. This means that you don’t even have to be a drilling reservist. You can accumulate enough points to count as a “Good Year” by being in the IRR and completing Correspondence Courses.
Active Duty Training Points Vs Inactive Duty Training Points
The only retirement points that count as Active Points are those that require orders. If you were not issued orders to perform the military service, schooling or activity; those points will not count towards Active points. Active points include Active Duty (AD), Active Duty for Training (ADT), and Annual Training (AT).
Army Reserve Retirement Calculator
There are quite a few websites that have calculators available, but I prefer to track my own. Below is the calculator the Army HRC provides.
Regulations & Reference
AR 140-185 and DODI 1215.07 governs awarding/crediting of retirement points.