Retirement Services Program

Army Reserve: Drilling

Benefit Fact Sheet


The Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) Retirement Services Program provides assistance to Soldiers and their Families preparing for and transitioning to retirement, Families of Soldiers who die on active duty, and Retired Soldiers, surviving Spouses and their Families. Through a network of Retirement Services Officers (RSOs) at major Army installations, National Guard State Headquarters, and Army Reserve Readiness Divisions and Mission Support Commands worldwide, they: 1) provide counseling to these groups on their rights, benefits and entitlements, 2) assist with Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) elections, 3) assist with Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) elections and 4) keep the retiree population informed of law and benefit changes. 


Retirement planning services of local RSOs are available to active duty, ARNG, and USAR Soldiers and their Families.  Post-retirement program services are available to all Retired Soldiers, surviving Spouses, and their Families.

Benefit Highlights

paratroopers hooked to static line

Major program components include:

Retirement Planning

  • Mandatory Retirement Planning Briefing - All United States Army Reserve (USAR) Soldiers should receive a retirement planning briefing between 18 and 20 qualifying years of service in order to receive counseling prior to receiving their Notification of Eligibility (NOE) or 20 year letter and in the gray area prior to applying for retired pay. A USAR Soldier may elect to receive another retirement planning briefing between the Soldier's 58th birthday and 9 months prior to age 60. For RC Soldiers who will begin receiving retirement pay before age 60 under provisions of Title 10 United States Code section 12731 (Reduced Age Eligibility), the retirement planning briefings will be conducted prior to the adjusted retirement date. Click here to view the Reserve Component Retirement System.

  • Mandatory Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) and Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Counseling - Reserve Component Soldiers who have received their Notification of Eligibility (NOE) for Retired Pay at Age 60 (the 15 or 20 year letter) should receive the mandatory RCSBP briefing and "gray area" benefits briefing within 60 days of receipt of the NOE. Soldiers should be counseled on how the RCSBP election could remain in effect if the Soldier retires with a non-regular retirement. If a Soldier retires with a Regular AFS retirement, the RCSBP election will be nullified and no payment will be required on RCSBP premiums.

  • Mandatory RCSBP Election - RC Soldiers must complete their RCSBP election within 90 days of receipt of the Notification of Eligibility (NOE) for Retired Pay at Age 60 (the 20-year letter or 15-year letter). If the Soldier fails to complete the RCSBP election within 90 days of receipt of the NOE, the Soldier will receive automatic full RCSBP coverage Option C for the dependents at the date the NOE was issued. If the Soldier is married, the Spouse must provide notarized written concurrence with the election when Soldier elects anything other than full Spouse coverage Option C. Without the Spouse's written notarized concurrence prior to date retired, the Soldier will receive the maximum level of coverage allowable under the law. If Soldier chooses option A (no RCSBP coverage choice) at the 20-year letter mark, then Soldier can make an SBP election when they apply for non-regular retired pay at the age of eligibility (age 60 or earlier if eligible for reduced age retirement). If Soldier chooses Option B (deferred annuity until age 60) or Option C (immediate annuity) at the 20 year mark, those choices automatically become the SBP election when Soldier applies for non-regular pay, at the age of eligibility, usually age 60, unless entitled to reduced age retirement under Title 10 United States Code section 12731. If the Soldier retires with an Active Duty or regular retirement, or medical retirement, any RCSBP election will be nullified and no RCSBP premiums will be due. Soldier can make a new SBP election at the time of their regular retirement using DD Form 2656.

  • Special provisions will be made for medically retiring Soldiers who are so severely wounded/injured that neither the Soldier nor a Family member are able to attend a retirement planning/SBP briefing. Such special Change of Mission Newsletterbriefings will be conducted no later than the start of the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) process.

  • Change of Mission Newsletter - The Army’s retirement planning newsletter, Change of Mission, is a quarterly, electronic newsletter sent to Soldiers in all three components with 17+ years of service. Change of Mission educates Soldiers about the retirement process, the decisions they and their Families will make leading up to and immediately after their retirements, how their benefits will change when they retire, and why the Army wants them to be active Soldiers for Life in retirement.


  • Retiree Council Programs - The HQDA Retirement Services office administers the Chief of Staff, Army Retiree Council; each installation RSO administers an Installation Retiree Council. The main objectives of the councils are to provide input to Army leadership on significant issues affecting the retiree community and to help the Army communicate with the retired community across the Army. The Army’s Retired Soldier Council Program consists of five elements:

    • The CSA Retired Soldier Council established by the CSA and chartered by HQDA

    • Installation Retiree Councils established and chartered by individual installation or garrison commanders

    • ASCC Retiree Councils established and chartered by ASCC commanders

    • State Retiree Councils established and chartered by TAG of the States and Territories

    • RD or MSC Retiree Councils established and chartered by RD or MSC commanders.

  • Retiree Appreciation Days (RADs) - RADs are conducted by installation and Reserve Component (RC) RSOs to keep Retired Soldiers and their Families informed of rights, benefits, and privileges and to foster goodwill between the retired and active duty communities. RADs are conducted at least annually by major Army installations in CONUS and by garrisons in overseas command. Click here for current schedule. These will usually be publicized in Army Echoes and in local installation newsletters sent to the retiree community in their area of operation.Army Echoes Newsletter

  • Army Echoes and Installation Retiree Newsletters-The Army Retirement Services office publishes the Army Echoes newsletter four times per year to keep Retired Soldiers and their Spouses in touch with the Army and inform of their rights, benefits, and responsibilities. Army Echoes is sent electronically to all Retired Soldiers and SBP annuitants with an email address associated with their myPay accounts with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Only those without an email address in myPay will receive the hardcopy edition of Army Echoes. Each major Army installation also publishes a retiree newsletter specific to their geographic area at least once per year. If you are a Gray Area Retired Soldier (in the Retired Reserve not yet collecting retired pay), make sure your information is correct in the Human Resources Command (HRC) database. You can update your information by logging into the HRC record portal at using your DS logon. Once signed in, select Reserve/Retiree/Veteran record and select edit in the contact information field to update, or you can contact the Reserve Retirements Branch at the US Army Human Resources Command to ensure they have your current mailing address by calling them at 1-888-276-9472. As a Gray Area Retired Soldier, if you would like electronic distribution of Army Echoes, you will need to add your email address to your contact information.


  • Beginning on 15 May 2009, all Soldiers, regardless of component, are entitled to receive the Army Retiring Soldier Commendation Program Package upon retirement. The package includes the following:

    • A personalized full-color letter signed by the Secretary of the Army, Chief of Staff of the Army, and Sergeant Major of the Army

    • Full-color box carrier

    • U.S. Flag, measuring 3 feet by 5 feet, cotton outdoor

    • U.S. Army Retired Lapel ButtonSoldier For Life Insignia

    • One DA Label 180 (exterior) and one DA label 180-1 (interior) "Soldier For Life" window stickers

    • Reserve Component TPU Soldier is also entitled to the DA Form 3931 Certificate of Appreciation for Active Reserve Status signed by the Chief Army Reserve.

  • Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA)-RSOs assist the servicing legal assistance office in their area in counseling active and Retired Soldiers, Spouses and former Spouses on this legislation.

  • For more information about the services provided by the Army Retirement Services Program, please see the websites in the "Additional Information" section below.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the website maintained by the Department of the Army Soldier for Life at:

Retirement Services Program Army Regulation 600-8-7:

Army Retirement Service Officers:

For National Archives Military Records Request information:

Document Review Date: 14 September 2021