Retirement Services

Frequently Asked Questions

I reached 20 years of total service, when would I receive my 20 year letter?

Notice of Eligibility (NOE) memorandums, also known as 20 year letters, are mailed to the Soldier’s home of record following the Soldier’s Anniversary Year End (AYE) date in which he / she obtains 20 years of creditable service for retired pay.  The NOE will be accompanied by an assortment of information on benefits, NGB Form 23B, Army National Guard Retirement Points History Statement, as well as DD Form 2656-5, Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) Election Certificate.

*Note: Ensure your address and phone number in IPPS-A is accurate.  

I received my 20 year letter, what am I required to do?

You must complete the DD Form 2656-5, Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) Election Certificate, with your Commander or a certified Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) / Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan Counselor.  Return the original DD Form 2656-5 with original signatures to the State Retirement Section within 90 days of receipt.  To contact a certified SBP / RCSBP counselor, you may call (916) 854-3150 option 5 or email  It is recommended that you review your NGB Form 23B, Army National Guard Retirement Points History Statement, for accuracy (see “updating retirement points” for more information).  At this time, you may elect to transfer to the Retired Reserve, the Control Group (Reinforcement) / Individual Ready Reserve, or maintain your M-day status with the California Army National Guard (if you were not removed due to a retention board).

What happens if I didn’t fill out and turn in my DD Form 2656-5, Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RCSBP) Election Certificate?

Married Soldiers, or those who have dependent children, who fail or choose not to make an election within the 90 day period are automatically covered by Option C (Immediate Annuity) for Spouse and/or child(ren) in accordance with title 10 USC 1448(a)(2)(B).  A single Soldier who later marries or has a child and wishes to provide RCSBP coverage must complete a DD Form 2656-6, Survivor Benefit Plan Election Change Certificate, within 12 months after date of marriage or date of child’s birth.  The DD Form 2656-6 must be submitted to the CAARNG Retirement Section for processing.  

Survivor Benefit Calculator Website (CAC Login Required)

Joint Force Headquarters
9800 Goethe Road
Attn: Box 40 – Transition Assistance
Sacramento, CA 95827-3561

I should have more retirement points. How can I verify my NGB Form 23B, Army National Guard Retirement Points History Statement, is accurate?

Compare your NGB Form 23B, Army National Guard Retirement Points History Statement, with your service records.  Ask your unit Retirement Points Accounting Management (RPAM) administrator to provide you a Soldier Detail Report.  The Soldier Detail Report will outline how each point was earned while serving as a member of the Army National Guard.  If you identify missing retirement points (such as time served in another component of the Armed Forces), provide supporting documents to your unit Readiness NCO or S1 Office.  Supporting documents may include, but are not limited to:

  1. DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  2. Retirement Points Summary from other components
  3. DD Form 220, Active Duty Report
  4. Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
  5. Other applicable pay documents (Active Duty or Annual Training orders do not solely justify duty served; you must prove you served the duty)

Either your unit Readiness NCO or S1 Office will submit the supporting documents or explanation of the error through the appropriate channels to the Retirement Section.  The RPAM NCO will review the documents submitted and compare it to your Retirement Points Accounting Statement (RPAS).  When the RPAS is missing the substantiated retirement points, the RPAM NCO will update your RPAS record.  Upon completion, the RPAM NCO will notify the unit administrator of the actions taken.  The Unit Readiness NCO or S1 Office will print the updated NGB Form 23B from the RPAM system and review the statement with you for accuracy and completeness.  Any further changes or updates after this review will be directed back to the Retirement Section with the applicable supporting documents and an explanation of the error.

What service is creditable as qualifying service for retired pay?

If you are unsure what constitutes qualifying service for retired pay, review AR 135-180 para 2-8, Service creditable as qualifying service, and para 2-9, Service not creditable as qualifying service.  These paragraphs provide information as to whether specific service qualifies.  Most common examples of service not creditable as qualifying service include, but are not limited to:

  1. Inactive National Guard
  2. Retired Reserve
  3. Service in the Fleet Reserve
  4. Fleet Marine Corps Reserve

SourceAR 135-180

Does SGLI carry over when I transfer to the Retired Reserve?

SGLI converts to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI).  You must apply for VGLI within 120 days of discharge.  Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) is a post-separation life insurance program that allows Soldiers to convert their Service member’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage to renewable term insurance.  Members with SGLI coverage are eligible for VGLI upon release from service.  It is one of many low cost insurance programs developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide insurance benefits for Soldiers and Veterans who may not otherwise be eligible to receive insurance benefits from private companies due to risks involved in military service, or a service connected disability.  Effective 11 April 2011, Soldiers who are insured under VGLI who have less than $400,000 in coverage can purchase up to $25,000 of additional coverage on each five year anniversary of their coverage, up to the maximum $400,000.  There is no medical underwriting required for the additional coverage.

Source: VGLI  

What is Reduced Eligibility Age (Early Age Drop) for retirement pay?

A member of the Ready Reserves (National Guard) may qualify for retired pay prior to age 60 under Title 10 United States Code (USC) 12731(f) and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, section 647.  This reduces the age for receipt of retired pay by three months for each aggregate of 90 days of “specified duty” performed in any fiscal year after 28 January 2008.  Reduced Eligibility Age cannot be reduced below age 50.  “Specified duty” includes:

  1. Title 10 USC, sections 101(a)(13)(B), 688 12301 (a), 12301(d) & (h), 12302, 12304, 12305, 12406, and chapter 15 (insurrection).  This includes mobilization.
  2. Full Time National Guard Duty (FTNGD) when under a call to active service by a governor and authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense under section Title 32 USC, 502(f) for the purpose of responding to either a national emergency declared by the President or a national emergency supported by Federal funds. 

NOTE:  Emergency State Active Duty (ESAD) does not qualify for reduced eligibility age.

Service while performing Active Guard Reserve (AGR) duty, Full Time National Guard Duty Operational Support (FTNGD-OS), and Full Time National Guard Duty Counter Drug (FTNGD-CD) under Title 32 USC, section 502(f) does not qualify for Reduced Eligibility Age.  The following FTNGD performed under Title 32 USC, section 502(f) are the only duties authorized for Reduced Eligibility Age:

  1. 2008 State of the Union Address
  2. 2008 Democratic National Convention
  3. 2008 Republican National Convention
  4. 2009 Presidential Inauguration
  5. 2009 G-20 Economic Summit
  6. 2011 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit
  7. 2012 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit
  8. 2012 Republican National Convention
  9. 2012 Democratic National Convention
  10. 2013 Presidential Inauguration
  11. 2014 State of the Union Address
  12. 2014 U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit

While the age for which to receive retirement pay may be reduced, please note that eligibility for retiree health care benefits remains at age 60.


  1. Implementation Guidance for Reduced Retirement Age for Army National Guard Soldiers
  2. Full-Time National Guard Duty Qualifying for a Reduced Eligibility Age for Receipt for Retired Pay for Non-Regular Service

How do I apply for Reduced Eligibility Age?

California Army National Guard Soldiers with possible eligible service should have their time validated by the State Retirement Section prior to applying for retired pay.  You will need to submit the following supporting documents:

  1. DD Form 214(s), Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  2. DD Form 215(s), Correction to DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
  3. DD Form 220(s), Active Duty Report
  4. Mobilization Orders (mobilization orders by itself is not a verifiable source document)
  5. Leave and Earning Statements (LES)

You may contact us at 916-854-3150, option 5 or by sending an Email to:

What benefits am I eligible for upon retirement, at age 60, or upon reaching my reduced retirement age?

There are numerous benefits available to you.  Your best resource is My Army Benefits.

Why does my LES say I have 25 years and my NGB form 23B say I have 20 years?

Some Soldiers may have a difference between creditable years for pay and creditable years for retirement.  Soldiers must earn 50 retirement points a year in order to receive credit for that year towards retirement.  If the Soldier doesn’t earn enough points, it will show as a “bad year” and the year served will only count for pay, not retirement.  This further explains why a Pay Entry Base Date (PEBD) cannot be used as a baseline to calculate creditable service for retired pay.

Do I need to apply for retired pay?

Yes.  See “Applying for Non-regular M-day Retirement” for a list of required documents.  The packet includes instructions and all of the forms necessary to apply for your retired pay.  You are encouraged to have your application packet reviewed by a National Guard or Army Reserve retirement specialist for accuracy and completeness prior to forwarding to HRC.  

What does HRC do with my application when they receive it?

HRC will process your application for retired pay and the retirement section will enter service-related data, direct deposit information, survivor benefit data, and tax information into a system that updates the DFAS-Cleveland retiree database.  This system does all financial calculations and establishes your pay account.  HRC will mail you a copy of the orders placing you on the AUS Retired List, a retirement certificate and an application for your retired ID card(s).

When will I receive my retirement pay?

After you submit your application for retired pay to HRC, you will receive your first retirement check or direct deposit on the first working day of the month following your birth month of age 60 or your reduced retirement eligibility date.  The first check is normally a partial month check.  For example:  If you turn 60 on the 15 June and are placed on the retired list on 16 June, your first retirement payment is calculated for 14 days and is paid on the first working day of July.  The payment for the entire month of July will be paid on the first working day of August.  DFAS-Cleveland provides you with a 3-page statement showing how your pay was calculated, tax information, survivor benefit cost data, and procedures for contacting DFAS-Cleveland for changes to your pay account.  As a reminder, monthly Leave and Earnings Statements are not provided to retirees.

Is medical/dental coverage available?

Yes!  TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) is a premium-based, health plan available worldwide for purchase by qualified Retired Reserve members and their eligible Family Members.  TRR delivers the TRICARE Standard/Extra benefit to all covered individuals.  For more information on TRR, go to TRR.  The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) offers comprehensive, cost-effective dental coverage for retired service members and their eligible Family members, for unmarried surviving spouses and children, and for other select individuals.  The TRDP is administered by the Federal Government Programs division of Delta Dental of California under contract with the U.S. Defense. 

Find out more information on TRICARE REtiree Dental Program by visiting: Tricare

I just got divorced, what do I need to do?

If you got divorced, your divorce decree normally dictates your requirement for Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage for your prior spouse.  Dependent on the conditions of the divorce decree, you must submit one of the below listed forms within 12 months of divorce.

  1. If your spouse has been awarded SBP coverage, you will need to file a DD Form 2656-1 and the former spouse will need to deem their election by submitting a DD Form 2656-10. If the former spouse fails to deem their election within 12 months, they forfeit their benefits.
  2. If you are changing the beneficiary to anyone else other than the former spouse, you must submit a DD Form 2656-6.

All original forms will be submitted to the CAARNG Retirement Section:

Joint Force Headquarters
ATTN: Box 40
Retirement 9800 Goethe Road
Sacramento, CA  95826-9101

How much retired pay will I collect?

You will only know how much retired pay you will collect once you receive your first payment.  Many factors contribute to calculating your retired pay, such as your rank at the time of retirement, years of qualified service, number of retirement points earned, and previous separation pay received from active duty.  If you Visit: My Army Benefits, you may be able to get an estimate of your retired pay using the benefit calculator.

I’m 68 years old and did not file for my retired pay. Can I still collect my retired pay from when I turned age 60?

There is a six-year statute of limitations for back pay in Title 10, 31 United States Code 3702(b).  If a Soldier files a retired pay application more than six years after the date of eligibility for retired pay, there is a day-for-day loss of eligibility for retired pay for each day of delay in applying.  If granted an exception to extend beyond age 60, the six-year statute of limitations on back payment of retired pay will still apply.  Therefore, if you were to begin collecting on your 68th birthday, you would only be able to collect from when you turned 62 years old.

I’ve been receiving VA Benefits since I was transferred to the Retired Reserves. Will this affect my non-regular (M-Day) retirement pay?

Your non-regular retired pay may be affected.  Contact a VA representative by calling: 1(800) 827-1000 to find out more.

When I left Active Duty, I received separation pay. How will this affect my non-regular (M-Day) retirement pay?

Your non-regular retired pay may be affected.  Contact a DFAS representative by calling: 1(888) 332-7411 to find out how you may be affected.