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Blended Retirement System Continuation Pay: What is it?

continuation pay

What is Continuation Pay in the Blended Retirement System?

One of the key features of the “new” Blended Retirement System (BRS) is a feature called continuation pay. In short, continuation pay is a bonus-like payment given mid-career, for those enrolled in the BRS, in exchange for adding more years to their service.

BRS Broken Down

BRS went into effect in January 2018 and was a major change to the previous retirement system previously in place for service members. It came about from the blending of “the existing annuity provision for those who retire after 20 or more years of service, PLUS the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).”

Continuation Pay Summarized

As a part of the BRS, continuation pay was created as a direct cash payout to eligible members who have completed at least eight, but not more than 12 years of service – calculated from a servicemember’s Pay Entry Base Date (PEBD). The reason as to why it’s offered is easily explained through retention, “as a way to encourage Service members to continue serving.”

Who’s Eligible?

Most service members are eligible for continuation pay, but when it’s paid out and how much is given is determined through an individual’s branch of service.

It is open to Active Duty, National Guard, and Reservists participating in the BRS who are capable of entering into an extension of their current obligated service.

It comes in addition to any other career field-specific incentives or retention bonuses. Those active duty service members, including Active Guard Reserve (AGR) and Full Time Support (FTS), who opt into BRS are authorized pay-rate multipliers of 2.5 to 13 times regular monthly base pay; Reservists are authorized 0.5 to 6 times their monthly base pay.

These multipliers can be variable, depending upon the specific needs of an individual’s branch, critically manned positions, and special skills (comparable to stipulations for re-enlistment bonuses).

TSP Investing

As with other specialty pay and bonuses, continuation pay can be diverted as an investment into a TSP, bearing in mind the IRS’s maximum amounts allowed annually. While there are no matching contributions from the DOD specifically for invested continuation pay, this invested amount can affect other types of income that will be matched; hitting a maximum too quickly could affect other government automatic and matching contributions.

Additional Information

If interested in additional information about BRS and Continuation Pay, visit the following sites:

  • The Blended Retirement System (BRS) Continuation Pay Fact Sheet
  • Blended Retirement System (BRS) Website
  • Blended Retirement System (BRS) Calculator
  • IRS Contribution Limits Facts




About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, and blogger. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.