Paycheck Chronicles

From The Mailbag: Retiree Pay Issues

As I've mentioned before, there are some topics that I feel like I talk about over and over and over.  And I worry that this is boring to you.  And then, I get another batch of email asking the same questions, so I'm obviously not talking about these issues enough.  What to do?

Here are a variety of questions that I have recently received that all ask about issues dealing with retirement pay:

Question:

My Dad receives military retirement benefits, and we need to change the direct deposit of where the monies are getting deposited. I can't seem to find the correct form to use. Please help me either find me the correct form to fill out and mail in or other info.

Answer:  

You can change the address through his online myPay account, FastForms, or via the mail.  Complete directions are available in Retired Military Change of Address.

Question:

What is the monthly retirement pay supposed to be for an 0-5 who retired in 1991 after 27 years of service?

Answer: There is no single amount, but rather a calculation that includes retirement plan, date of retirement, rank at retirement, years and months of service. In your example, the officer was probably under the final pay retirement plan.  By looking at the 1991 military pay charts, you can see that an 0-5 with 27 years of service appears to have a base pay of $5259.90 per month.  Exactly 27 years of service (with no additional days) would result in a payment of 67.5% of base pay.  In theory, retirement pay would have started at about $3550 per month.  However, that exact figure would depend on the additional months of service.Then, you have to apply the cost of living allowance (COLA) adjustment each year.  The first year may not be straightforward.  Currently, retirees who retire later than the first quarter of the year receive a reduced COLA the first year post-retirement.  I do not know if that was true in 1991, and that would require research.  COLA would have to be applied, cumulatively, to discover the payment for this year.

 Of course, military retirement pay is subject to the same withholding and taxes as regular pay, so you would need significantly more information if you are trying to determine take-home (net) pay vs. gross pay. I know that does not answer your question, but I hope it helps you understand how to determine the answer yourself. Question:

Hello, Kate.  My name is C.  I am retired and am on 100% disability.  Could you please tell me why I am paying $48.93 per month to DFAS?

Answer:

Dear C.  Without seeing your retiree pay statement and your statement from the VA, I can not even begin to guess what that amount may be.  You need to contact that managing agency for the payment from which this amount is being deducted to determine what it represents.  Sometimes things can get coded oddly.  Good luck!

Keep those questions coming, and I will keep working on answer. Show Full Article

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