A Retirement Reminder to Troops: Be Careful What You Click On

While rumors of service members unintentionally opting-in to the military's new retirement system surfaced on social media this week, Pentagon officials said they have not received any reports of problems.

The program, known as the Blended Retirement System (BRS), launched Jan. 1 and includes automatic Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions with government matching.

Current service members with less than 12 years of service as of Dec. 31, 2017, or Guard and Reserve members with 4,320 retirement points or less can elect to move into the BRS from the current "high three" system, but forfeit the traditional military pension program by doing so.

Troops who joined the military Jan. 1 or thereafter are automatically enrolled in the BRS.

"To our knowledge, there have been no issues with the MyPay BRS opt-in system functionality," Army Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement to Military.com.

Related: The Blended Retirement System Explained

Troops can move themselves into the BRS through several clicks in their online MyPay account by first selecting the home screen "Blended Retirement System Opt-In" link.

Visiting that takes the user through a series of four steps:

  • In the first, the user confirms he or she has taken the mandatory training.
  • A second screen requires the user to click a button acknowledging that the decision to opt-in is irreversible.
  • A third step asks the user to update home address and date of birth, as well as click yet another button acknowledging the decision is irreversible.
  • A final, fourth screen again states that the decision is irreversible, and instructs users to click a main menu button to finish the process.

Despite those on-screen warnings, some service members and at least one military spouse have reported completing the steps and locking themselves into the new system without meaning to do so.

Eastburn cautioned users to utilize the steps only to complete the opt-in process, not to learn more information about the program.

"The MyPay opt-in link is designed to allow members to opt-in once they have already made a decision," he said.

"It is not designed to be an information source, which is why the first screen asks if the member has already completed the mandatory opt-in training, which, along with DoD's BRS policy, clearly informs members that the BRS opt-in decision is irrevocable," Eastburn said.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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