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After military retirement, some retirees have questions about whether receiving cash benefits from Social Security affects their military retirement pay. The answer is no. Entitlement to Social Security payments has no effect on, nor is it affected by, your military retirement benefit. Both benefits are independently payable.
Planning for military retirement means preparation. You can get the information you need to make informed decisions through several publications which provide detailed information on retirement preparation, military retirement benefit, military retirement payscale, and other matters. Ask for a copy of Survivor Benefit Plan for Uniformed Services: The Simple Facts (DOD PA-11H) from your career counselor.
After a military retirement, some retirees find that the military retirement pay isn't enough to cover some large immediate need. Services in the private sector exist that can help you convert your long-term military retirement benefit into a lump sum. Talk to your financial advisor for more information and to weigh the pros and cons of military pension exchange programs.
The TSP is a military retirement savings plan both for civilians who are employed by the United States Government and for members of the uniformed services. The purpose of the TSP is to provide retirement income. The TSP offers Federal employees the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under "401(k)" plans. The TSP is a defined contribution plan. The military retirement benefit that you receive from your TSP account will depend on how much you have contributed to your account during your working years and the earnings on those contributions.
Prior to military retirement, it is important that you attend any military retirement pay briefings offered by your command so you understand the retirement system. The decisions you make when you retire affect your military retirment calculatory and hence the amounts of your military retirement benefit and survivor's benefits. Some decisions cannot be changed, so careful consideration of all your options is in order.
How do you know if you're elegible for military retirement pay? Generally, to qualify for the federal military retirement, a service member must have completed at least 20 years of qualifying uniformed service. Medically unqualified members of the selected reserve with more than 15 qualifying years of service may request early retirement. Military retirement payscale is based on years of service and last rank held.