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Blended Retirement System

9 Feb 2017 | Marriane Weaver/Correspondent Marine Corps Base Quantico

The military retirement system is undergoing an overhaul and service members have from now until Dec.  31, 2018 to decide if the new system works for them and their families. However, election cannot be made until Jan. 1, 2018.

Throughout 2017, representatives from Marine Corps Community Services Personal Financial Management Program will educate Marines about the new system, which blends elements of the legacy retirement system with the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP),  which is similar to a 401(k) plan.  The new Blended Retirement System (BRS) goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018. Parisa Fetherson, MCCS program manager for Personal and Professional Development, said before then, “Marines should learn as much as possible about the system so they can make an informed decision.”  Marines will be able to get information about the BRS via online training through Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) using their CAC or DS login.

Who’s affected?

• Service members who joined or signed a contract before Jan 1, 2006 are not eligible for the BRS.

• Service members who signed a contract to serve after Dec. 31, 2005 but before Jan. 1, 2018 must choose between the old plan or new Blended Retirement System.

• Service members who joined or signed  a contract after Dec. 31, 2017 are automatically enrolled in the new Blended Retirement System.

What’s the difference? 

 Current system: 

• 2.5  percent X years served and  X retired base pay

•  TSP is optional

Blended Retirement System: 

• 2 percent X years served and X retired base pay

• Plus an automatic DoD contribution of 1 percent of basic pay (after 60 days of service)

• Plus a matching DoD contribution up to four percent of basic pay (three through 26 years of service)

• Plus Continuation Pay mid-career retention incentive

• Option for 25 or 50 percent payout at retirement

“Many service members leave after four years,” said Fetherson. “This way they still have something to fall back on after they transition from the military.  Also, the TSP component of the BRS is portable so service members will have different options for what to do with their TSP when they leave active duty”

“The benefit of the new system is that one, it has greater portability of retirement benefits; two,  it promotes earlier savings for retirement; and three,  service members no longer have an ‘all or nothing’ retirement plan, “ said Fetherson. “We encourage service members to have many different streams of income.”  Service members should also be aware that with the new BRS their decision to opt into or opt out is irrevocable and that their monthly annuity will be reduced by 10 percent.

Additional information can be found at Joint Knowledge Online at  Individuals who wish to speak with the base financial counselor to learn more about the BRS or to discuss their personal finances can schedule an appointment by calling 703-784-2650. The base financial counselor is located at 3019 Embry Loop (Chapel Annex).


Marine Corps Base Quantico