Blended Retirement System

Regular Air Force: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

Summary

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.

Eligibility

sillouett of an airman on an aircraftService 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 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.

Benefit Highlights

Under the Blended Retirement System, Service members will receive monthly retired pay upon completion of 20 years of 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 creditable service by 2%, times the average of the Service member's highest 36 months of active duty basic pay, after 20 or more 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. Lump sum calculations will consider anticipated cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) between the 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 back to 100 percent of their full entitlement.

Thrift Savings Plan: DoD will automatically contribute an amount equal to 1% of a Service member's active duty basic pay to their TSP beginning 60 days after they enter active duty and continue through their 26th year of service. In addition, after a Service member's second full year of service, DoD will match Service members' voluntary contributions to their TSP accounts up to an additional 4 percent, bringing 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 times and up to 13 times the Service member's monthly basic pay, at the discretion of the Service Secretary.

Reentry into Active Service: Service members with less than 12 years of service as of 31 December 2017 who were released from active duty prior to 1 January 2018 who return 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).

Additional Information

Access the MyAirForceBenefits calculator to calculate your retired pay under the High-3 and Final Pay Retirement Systems:
https://myairforcebenefits.altess.army.mil/Benefit-Calculators/Retirement

Access the MyAirForceBenefits Blended Retirement Calculator:
https://www.myairforcebenefits.us.af.mil/Benefit-Calculators/BRS-Comparison-Calculator-x558

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)  
https://jkodirect.jten.mil/Atlas2/page/coi/externalCourseAccess.jsf?v=1574865926592&course_prefix=J3O&course_number=P-US1332

Air Force’s Personnel Center-Retirement
https://www.afpc.af.mil/Retirement/

Defense Finance and Accounting Service site:
https://www.dfas.mil

DoD Blended Retirement Resources:
https://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/

Document Review Date: 10 December 2020