How to Find Out How Much I Will Receive for My Military Retirement Pay

by Stephanie Ellen ; Updated July 27, 2017
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If you have served honorably in the U.S. military for more than 20 years, you may be eligible for retirement income. Retirement can give you a solid financial future and benefits are generous; receive up to 100 percent of your pay for the duration of your life -- no matter how old you are when you retire. How much you will receive for your military retirement depends upon when you entered the service and how many years you served.

Step 1

Find out the date you entered service. For retirement calculation purposes, the calculations will differ according to which year you entered service; If you entered the service before September 8, 1980, you will be on the Final Pay retirement plan; if you entered service between September 8, 1980 and July 31, 1986, you will be on the High-3 retirement plan. If you entered service on or after August 1, 1986, you have the choice of High-3 or Career Status Bonus/Redux. You'll be asked to choose in your 15th year if you want High-3 or Career Status Bonus/Redux.

Step 2

Find your base retirement pay. For Final Pay calculations, the retirement pay formula is your monthly basic pay at the time of retirement, and for the High-3 and CSB/Redux your base pay is your average monthly pay for the highest 36 months of service. You may need to look at your pay stubs for the last few years or consult with your personnel department to find your highest pay periods.

Step 3

Multiply your base pay by 2.5 percent for each year of service for Final Pay and High-3 plans. For example, if your base pay was $2,000 per month and you served for 20 years then your retirement pay will be .025 x 20 x $2,000 = $1,000 per month. For the CSB/Redux plan, multiply your pay by 2 percent for the first 20 years and then 3.5 percent for each additional year.

Tips

  • You get a $30,000 bonus (as of February 2011) with the CSB/Redux plan. However, due to the decrease in the amount of retirement pay you receive over time, the bonus is rarely worth it. In order to get the bonus, your yearly retirement is 2 percent of your base retirement pay instead of 2.5 percent for the first 20 years -- a significant reduction in income.

About the Author

Stephanie Ellen teaches mathematics and statistics at the university and college level. She coauthored a statistics textbook published by Houghton-Mifflin. She has been writing professionally since 2008. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science in health science from State University New York, a master's degree in math education from Jacksonville University and a Master of Arts in creative writing from National University.

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