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2015 early out programs drop

Marine Corps announces details of the VSP and TERA programs

May. 24, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Ineligible MOSs Staff sergeant, gunnery sergeants and master sergeants in these military occupational specialties are not eligible to apply for Voluntary Separation Pay or the Temporary Early Retirement Authority programs, unless they have been passed ov


The service has released details of its highly anticipated voluntary force-shaping measures for fiscal 2015, which will offer thousands of staff noncommissioned officers a lump-sum payment to leave uniform or an early retirement.

Those programs include Voluntary Separation Pay and the Temporary Early Retirement Authority program, both authorized for next year and detailed in Marine administrative messages 250/14 and 251/14, respectively.

Many of the eligibility requirements for both incentives are the same, except for the years of service requirements. TERA and VSP will be offered to active-duty staff sergeants, gunnery sergeants and master sergeants, with the exception of those in 69 MOSs. All first sergeants are eligible, regardless of MOS. Additionally, any staff sergeant, gunny or master sergeant who has failed selection to the next highest grade at least once is eligible.

In the case of TERA, Marines must also have served at least 15 years to receive the early retirement pension, paid at a reduced rate based on rank and time in service. For VSP, Marines must have served just six or more years. While Marine eligible for TERA are likely eligible for VSP, they are advised to opt for TERA. Although VSP payments can push six figures, they are a one-time payout; the TERA payout will likely be substantially larger over the course of a lifetime.

An eligible gunnery sergeant with 16 years of service would receive $161,291 before taxes under VSP. However, that same Marine would end up receiving $199,440 in just 10 years under TERA, a gain of more than $38,000.

Marines already being separated, those who have requested non-consideration for promotion or those who have taken other early out incentives are ineligible for both programs.

Neither incentive is guaranteed because they are designed to help manpower officials cull overpopulated specialties. As a result, specialties that are undermanned or on target are unlikely to be eligible for the incentive.

“The TERA program supports the strategic force management of the Marine Corps and should not be considered an individual entitlement,” reads MARADMIN 251/14. “The TERA program will be used to retire Marines who, absent the availability of TERA, would have been expected to qualify for a 20-year retirement.”

Those who apply and are approved for TERA or VSP, must agree to leave the service no later than Aug. 31, 2015.

Those who have incurred other obligations, including time-on-station requirements or education payback, may not be approved for either program even if they meet all other requirements.

Waivers, however, will be considered on a case-by-case basis, based on the needs of the Marine Corps, according to the MARADMINs.■

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