On Jan. 1, 2018, the Department of Defense introduced a new military retirement plan known as the Blended Retirement System, or BRS. Anyone joining the service on or after that date is covered by the new retirement system, while anyone who joined prior to that was grandfathered under their current retirement system. Although grandfathered, Airmen with fewer than 12 years of service as of Dec. 31, 2017, had the option of switching, or “opting-in,” to the Blended Retirement System.
BRS incorporates a defined contribution retirement savings and investment plan, called the Thrift Savings Plan or TSP, that offers the same types of savings and tax benefits many private corporations offer their employees under 401(k) or similar plans. Airmen who joined the Air Force on or after Jan. 1, 2018, are automatically enrolled in TSP with a three percent personal contribution. Airmen who chose to opt-in to BRS get an automatic one percent DOD contribution and up to four percent DOD matching funds to their TSP. However, in order to get these Service Matching Contributions, all Airmen who opted-in must take an additional step, go into their TSP accounts and set them up to contribute a portion of their own pay. Airmen who don’t make any TSP changes will see their existing contribution rate stays the same, even if that amount is zero.
More information about BRS is available on both myPers (search “blended”) and the DOD Military Compensation website.