By Ryan Guina, The Military Wallet
DD Form 256 – & – What to do with Your TSP Account
Members of the National Guard, Air National Guard and military Reserves who have met the 20 year service requirement are generally eligible for receiving retirement benefits at age 60. However, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act authorized early retirement benefits for members of the Reserve Corps who met certain criteria. This only applies to starting retirement pay early. Other benefits still begin at age 60, including access to the commissary or base exchange, and TRICARE benefits eligibility.
Under the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, members of the Reserve Component who served at least 90 days during a fiscal year on a deployment in support of overseas operations such as the Iraq or Afghanistan campaigns are authorized to retire three months early for each 90 day period they served in any given fiscal year. This only applies to members of the Guard or Reserves who participated in a qualifying active-duty mobilization after Jan. 28, 2008, which is the date the Act was signed into law. Service on or before this date does not count toward early retirement.
In January 2013, Congress expanded the criteria for early retirement by authorizing additional eligibility requirements. The new rules allow members of the Guard or Reserves to count activations for national emergencies including natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. Members of the Reserve Components may also be eligible to retire early if they were in a Warrior Transition unit and were injured while mobilized for responses as mentioned above.