Blended Retirement System
Benefit Fact Sheet
The Blended Retirement System (BRS) went into effect on 1 January 2018. The BRS applies to all Service members who entered the Uniformed Services with a Date of Initial Entry into Military Service (DIEMS) of 1 January 2018 or later. The BRS is a combination of a defined benefit plan, similar to predecessor plans that pay monthly retired pay, plus defined contributions and service matching to the Federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
Implementation of 5% Automatic Enrollment Percentage for Thrift Savings Plan Participants
On October 1, 2020, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) will increase the automatic enrollment percentage from 3% to 5% of pay for all and Blended Retirement System (BRS) participants who are automatically enrolled in the TSP on or after October 1, 2020, and for BRS participants automatically re-enrolled in the TSP on or after January 1, 2021, per 5 CFR § 1600.34 and 1600.37. This change will not affect the contribution rates in place for BRS participants who were automatically enrolled prior to October 1, 2020, and did not terminate their contributions. Click here for more information.
Service members who entered the Uniformed Services on or after 1 January 2018 will be automatically enrolled in the Blended Retirement System. Service members with less than 12 years of active duty service, or fewer than 4,320 retirement points for reserve component members, as of 31 December 2017 were afforded the opportunity to opt-in to the Blended Retirement System through 31 December 2018 or remain grandfathered in their current retired pay plan.
Under the Blended Retirement System, Air National Guard Service members will receive monthly retired pay at the age of eligibility (usually age 60, unless eligible for a reduced age retirement for qualifying periods of service) upon completion of 20 or more years of creditable service, plus the balance of their accumulated Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts.
Monthly Retired Pay: Monthly retired pay under the Blended Retirement System will be calculated by multiplying the years of credible service by 2%, times the average of the member’s highest 36 months of active duty basic pay for each year of service beginning at the age of eligibility (usually age 60 unless eligible for reduced age retirement). This calculation is based upon accumulated retirement points (Retirement points ÷ 360 = Years of Service). At the time of retired pay eligibility, Service members may choose to receive their full monthly retired pay or request a reduced monthly retired pay along with a lump sum payment of 25 or 50 percent. The lump sum payment will be calculated based on the Present Value of their retired pay scheduled to be paid until their Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Social Security, usually age 67. It is important to note that the lump sum payment is fully taxable. Members choosing the lump sum option will receive reduced retired pay depending on the lump sum option elected. Lump sum calculations will consider anticipated cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) between date of retirement and FRA and will be based upon a personal discount rate to be determined by the Department of Defense (DoD). At Full Retirement Age, retirees' monthly retired pay will increase to 100 percent of their full entitlement.
Thrift Savings Plan: DoD will automatically contribute an amount equal to 1% of an Air National Guard Service member’s basic pay or Inactive Duty Pay to the TSP beginning 60 days after they enter active service and continue through their 26 th year of service. In addition, after a member's second full year of service, DoD will match members' voluntary contributions to their TSP accounts up to an additional 4 percent, bringing the total DoD automatic and matching contributions to 5 percent of basic pay. Service members are fully vested in (entitled to) their TSP accounts after the completion of 2 years of service. NOTE: Automatic contributions and service matching will begin immediately for those who opt-in.
Continuation Pay: Service members enrolled in the Blended Retirement System will be eligible for Continuation Pay upon their 12th year of service in return for a commitment of at 4 additional years of service. The amount payable for CY 21 is 2.5 times the Service member’s monthly basic pay for active component Service members, to include Active Guard Reserve (AGR) and Full Time Support (FTS), will be a minimum of 2.5 and up to 13 times their regular monthly basic pay. Traditional drilling members will be eligible for 4 times their monthly basic pay (calculated as if serving on active duty). Continuation pay amounts are at the discretion of the Service Secretary.
Reentry into Active Service: Service members with less than 12 years of service or 4,320 retirement points as of 31 December 2017, who have been released from active duty or active service prior to 1 January 2018 and who return to active duty or active service after 31 December 2018 may opt-in to the Blended Retirement System within 30 days after reentering service.
Service members who do not opt-in to the Blended Retirement System in 2018 remain under the High-36 Retirement System. They may participate in the TSP, but they will not receive matching or automatic contributions from DoD.
Air Force Academy Cadets: After the class of 2021, all cadets commissioned are automatically enrolled in the Blended Retirement System (BRS) which is similar to a 401k program. The class of 2021 is grandfathered and can choose the old retirement system (serve 20 years and received 50% of base pay).
Access the MyAirForceBenefits calculator to calculate your retired pay under the High-3 and Final Pay Retirement Systems:
Access the MyAirForceBenefits Blended Retirement Calculator:
NOTE: The MyAirForceBenefits calculator pulls the Airman’s current data to provide the comparison of future retired pay outcomes under both the systems.
Education on the Blended Retirement System is available to all members of the Uniformed Services.
Leader Training to Introduce the Blended Retirement System (BRS) For the Uniformed Services (.5 hr) https://jkodirect.jten.mil/Atlas2/page/coi/externalCourseAccess.jsf?v=1574865132798&course_prefix=J3O&course_number=P-US1330
Blended Retirement System (BRS) OPT-IN Course (2 hrs)
Air Force’s Personnel Center-Retirement
Defense Finance and Accounting Service site:
DoD Blended Retirement Resources: