Members of the 129th Rescue Wing from the California Air National Guard earn day-to-day credits toward early retirement for up to 90 days deployed within a fiscal year. (Tech. Sgt. Dennis J. Henry Jr. / Air Force)
Q. Who qualifies for the reduced retirement age provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008?
A. National Guard and Reserve members who have served on active duty, excluding active duty for training, under the mobilization and federal call-up provisions of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, sections 688, 12301(a), 12301(d), 12302, 12304, 12305 and 12306, and Title 32 USC, section 502(f).
Q. What categories of reservists are not eligible for a reduced retirement age?
A. Service members of the Active Guard and Reserve; active duty for training under Section 12301(b) of Title 10; in captive status as defined in section 12301(g) of Title 10; receiving medical treatment or evaluation for disability purposes or medical study under section 12301(h) of Title 10; not assigned to or participating satisfactorily in units as defined in section 12303 of Title 10 and under active-duty agreements as covered in section 12311 of Title 10.
Q. How is the retirement age reduction calculated?
A. The age is calculated day for day for every 90 days on active duty within a fiscal year. If a service member is on active duty for 179 days during the fiscal year, he or she will receive 90 days of credit toward the reduction.
Q. When can service members apply to have their retirement eligibility age reduced?
A. Service members should apply at least nine months before their eligibility date.
Q. What should service members do if they are unsure of their eligibility date?
A. Service members who need additional information should contact the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102. ARPC officials recently released a new application within the myPers website. Air Reserve component members can review and submit documentation to update their records electronically regarding the new “Reduced Retired Pay Age” application.
Q. What documents are required to verify eligibility?
A. DD Form 214, the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, Leave and Earning Statements, mobilization orders and orders transferring service members to the Retired Reserve.
National Guard and Reserve airmen who have served nontraining active-duty tours over the past five years have been accumulating credits that can significantly reduce their eligibility age for retirement benefits, according to officials with the Air Force Reserve Personnel Center.
While the entitlement was authorized by Congress in 2008, most Guard and reservists who qualify for the benefit are only now coming into the window of eligibility, officials said.
A provision of the Defense Authorization Act of 2008 reduced the retirement eligibility age for certain categories of National Guard and Reserve from 60 to 50 or younger.
The entitlement, which personnel officials call an “early age drop,” is targeted at reservists who have served active-duty tours and deployments since Jan. 29, 2008.
For qualifying service on or after that date, each day in active-duty status, excluding active duty for training, counts toward a reduction in retirement age eligibility.
While each day of active duty counts in the eligibility formula, the days are credited in aggregates of 90 days only within a fiscal year, according Lt. Col. Belinda Petersen, spokeswoman with the the Air Reserve Personnel Center.
So if a reserve-component airman is mobilized for 179 days, he or she only will be credited for three months, or 90 days, reduction toward retirement eligibility for that fiscal year.
Airmen who are approved for an early drop will receive pay and all benefits normally associated with military retirement, except one, according to Petersen. Medical benefits under the Tricare program will be deferred until age 60, she said.
Premiums for the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Program will be deducted from retired pay when an airman starts drawing pay.
While several types of active duty earn credits toward an early nonregular retirement, service with the Active Guard and Reserve does not count. That is credited toward regular retirement eligibility.
Eligibility for a reduced retirement age is targeted at airmen in three categories:
■Involuntary mobilization through a call or order to active duty under Title 10, USC sections 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12305, 12406 or any other provision of federal law during a war or national emergency declared by Congress or the president.
■Voluntary active duty through a call or order under section 1230(d) of Title 10 USC.
■Full-time National Guard duty through a call to active service authorized by the president or secretary of defense under section 502(f) of Title 32 USC for the purpose of responding to a national emergency declared by the president or supported by federal funds.
Airmen who need additional information should contact the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102. ARPC officials recently released a new application within the myPers website. Air Reserve component members can review and submit documentation to update their records electronically regarding the new “Reduced Retired Pay Age” application.
Staff writer Markeshia Ricks contributed to this report.