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Military Retirement Pay Overview

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Servicemembers who remain on active duty or serve in the Reserves or National Guard for twenty years or longer may retire and receive retired pay. 

There are currently three retirement systems in existence choose from, depending on when you first entered active duty:

If you entered the service:

  • Prior to September 1980 you are eligible for the Final Pay retirement system.
  • Between September 8th, 1980 and August 1986 you are eligible for the High 36 system.
  • After August 1986 you are under the REDUX system, which means you have the option to choose either the High 36 retirement system, or the Career Status Bonus/REDUX (CSB) retirement system. If you decline to make a choice you will automatically receive the High 36 retirement plan.
  • Your Pay and Compensation Administrative Officer within your command can provide more information on these system options.

Also, visit DoD's online Retirement Pay Calculators to see how each retirement system will affect you monthly payouts. 

Non-Disability Retirement Pay Options

  • Final Pay -- The Final Pay retirement system only applies to members who first entered Service before September 8, 1980.
  • High-3 -- The High-3 Year Average retirement system applies to members who first entered Service on or after September 8, 1980, and before August 1, 1986. High-3 also applies to members who first entered the Service on or after August 1, 1986, and chose to revert to the High-3 retirement plan by not accepting the Career Status Bonus (CSB).
  • CSB/REDUX -- This system applies only to members who first entered Service after July 31, 1986, and chose to receive the Career Status Bonus (CSB) and the REDUX retirement plan.

See our Military Retirement System page for in-depth details about these retirement plans.

Disability Retirements

Service members who become wounded, ill or injured may be medically retired. They may receive either a permanent or temporary Disability retirement. A Physical Examination Board (PEB --Medical Board) determines the percent disability and recommends whether the disability is permanent or needs re-examination every 18 months up to 5 years at which time a final retirement system determination is made. See your Pay and Compensation Administrative Officer in your command or at your military treatment facility (MTF) for additional information and referrals.

Visit the Defense Finance and Accounting Service website for calculators that can help you compare regular and disability retirements online.

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