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 is grandfathered under their current retirement system. Although grandfathered, Airmen with fewer than 12 years of service as of Dec. 31, 2017, have the option of switching, or “opting-in,” to the Blended Retirement System.
DOD launched a comparison calculator, which allows you to input information on your unique personal financial situation, career progression, pay and bonuses and retirement options, and review estimated benefits between your current retirement plan and BRS. The calculator allows you to input up to 12 data items to describe your personal situation and plans to see how changes to your career and savings impact retirement benefits over the long-term. You may input various scenarios as often as you like to help you understand the available options. If desired, please review the comparison calculator as soon as possible.
Before you make a decision, you must complete on-line training to become better informed of the benefits under your current retirement system compared to the benefits of BRS. The BRS Opt-in Course is available through the Advanced Distributed Learning System, or ADLS, website, course number ZZ133146.
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. Note that automatic enrollees (those Airmen who join the Air Force on or after Jan. 1, 2018) are automatically enrolled in TSP with a three percent personal contribution. Airmen who choose to opt-in to BRS will 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 opt-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.