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Navigating Military Retirement: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Benefits

January 22, 2024

As a financial advisor committed to supporting our valued military clients, I understand the importance of demystifying the complexities of retirement benefits. Transitioning from a military career to civilian life involves a series of decisions that can significantly impact your financial well-being. In this blog post, we'll explore key military retirement benefits and provide guidance on maximizing these opportunities for a smooth transition.

Pre-Retirement Checklist:

Before officially entering retired military status, there are crucial steps to take advantage of certain benefits. Permissive Temporary Duty (TDY) for house hunting is one such option. While not automatically approved, exploring this benefit can provide you with the time to find a new home while maintaining your full military pay, allowances, and benefits.

Additionally, scheduling a final physical and dental appointment on your way out of your last assignment is essential. Apart from ensuring your health, this step is crucial for making claims for VA compensation for service-connected medical issues.

Military Retirement Benefits:

  1. Retirement and Disability Pay:
    • Regular and Reserve retirement payments
    • Temporary and permanent disability retirement payments
    • Concurrent retirement and disability pay
    • Combat-related special compensation payments
    • Survivor Benefit Plan payments

The amount of retirement pay you receive depends on various factors, and understanding your options is crucial. Veterans may also qualify for VA disability pay in specific circumstances, adding another layer of financial support.

  1. Final Relocation:
    • Government-paid final relocation move available within a year of official retirement
    • Utilize this benefit to mitigate the stress and costs of relocation
  2. Base Access:
    • Retiree ID cards grant access to base facilities, commissary, and Base Exchange (BX)/Post Exchange (PX)
    • Explore available on-base services such as pharmacies, fitness centers, and recreational offerings
  3. Space-Available Travel:
    • Retirees with valid IDs can fly on military aircraft on a space-available basis
    • Contact the military passenger terminal to explore Space-A flight options
  4. Insurance Options:
    • Transition to retired military life insurance plans
    • Enroll in vision and dental insurance via FEDVIP
    • Enroll in the retirement version of TRICARE for medical coverage
  5. Survivor Benefit Plan:
    • Learn about SBP to ensure part of your military retirement pay goes to your beneficiaries
    • Automatic enrollment with a qualifying beneficiary at the maximum payout level
  6. GI Bill and VA Education Benefits:
    • Utilize GI Bill benefits after retirement
    • Explore state-level education programs for veterans and retirees
    • Understand the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer options
  7. VA Home Loan Program:
    • Qualifying service members and surviving spouses can benefit from no-money-down home loans and refinance loans
    • Veterans and spouses can apply together for VA loans


As you embark on your journey from military service to civilian life, being well-informed about your retirement benefits is paramount. Consult with your transition assistance counselor, VA representative, and financial advisor to tailor these benefits to your unique circumstances. By maximizing your military retirement benefits, you can lay the foundation for a secure and prosperous civilian life.

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