Military Retirement Pay Chart

I’m sorry that the title of this post is misleading – it is important that the search engines be able to find this article and that’s the best way to make it happen.  This post is about why there is not a military retirement pay chart, and what you can do about it.

I get a LOT of email from people asking me to link to the military retirement pay chart.  There is no chart, because military retirement pay is calculated individually based upon a service member’s

  • date of initial entry into the military,
  • choice of retirement plan (if they had a choice),
  • date of retirement,
  • exact years and months of service (which can vary a lot, because not everyone serves continuously, and
  • rank at retirement.

Once you’ve figured out what their initial retirement pay was, using all those factors, then you have to do the math for the annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).  These calculations will bring you to the retiree’s current military retirement pay amount.  This is just the gross amount, or the amount before any  adjustments or deductions.

Common adjustments and changes include federal and state income taxes, VA benefit offsets, other compensation, Survivor Benefit Plan premiums, and any allotments that you’ve set up.  Some retirees may also have payments made directly to former spouses from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS.)

As a result, even calculating gross retirement pay does not help at all in figuring out your net pay, or take-home pay.

Retiree Account Statement

Thankfully, there is a quick and easy way to see all your retirement pay, adjustments and deductions:  the Retiree Account Statement (RAS).  The RAS is a monthly statement of all retirement pay activity.  It is available online via the MyPay service of DFAS, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at no cost to you.  MyPay access also allows you to keep your mailing address updated, change your income tax withholding, and receive your 1099R tax statements early.

It takes a little effort to set up a MyPay account, because initial, temporary passwords have to be mailed to the address on record with DFAS.  If your address is old, you have to get it changed through DFAS before you can have your password mailed to you.  However, this small expenditure of effort will make your future financial transactions so much easier!

I encourage everyone who receives payments from DFAS, including active duty, retirees, and annuitants, to set up a MyPay account.  There is no reason to wait for documents, or spend hours on hold on the telephone.  MyPay gives instant access whenever you need it.  I know this sounds like an advertisement for MyPay, but I truly love the ease and convenience that the account provides.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Melvin Neal Ferrell;

    I retired as PN1(E6) in June 1966. I am confused as to my pay rate. I was supposed to get 100% of my base pay when I retired. Please check this out. Thanks, M. Neal Ferrell.

    • Kate

      Mr. Ferrell, based upon the retirement plan under which you retired (Final Pay), 40 years of service are required to earn 100%. Twenty years of service earns 50% of base pay, with an additional 2.5% for each additional year of service. You can see the details at the’s retirement pay webpage:

      I hope that helps.

  • frank p Angulo

    Hi I turned 60 2 yrs ago did 21 yrs un the air national guard have not applied for retirement yet.who I call or contact to fill out paper work

    • Kate

      Mr. Angulo,

      I believe that you contact the US Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard. Air Reserve Personnel Center Retirements Branch (HQ ARPC/DPPR), 800-525-0102;

      If this does not work, then I think an internet search for “how do I request retirement Air National Guard” should produce the answer for which you are looking.

      I hope that helps.

  • stephen woody

    I read a while back about a 15 year military retirement. What is the information on that? I spent 15 years 10 months 15 days in the regular Air Force, A.F. reserves and Air national guard. Do I get anything that shows I am a veteran? I am A Viet Nam veteran during my active duty time.

    • Kate

      Mr. Woody, retirement after only 15 years of active duty service is a special program that the services offer to entice people to leave the service early. It is occasionally offered to specific groups, requires application and approval.

      You should have your DD214 to show that you are a veteran.

  • USAF2007

    I understand how my retirement pay is calculated but what base pay do they use in the calculation, the current base pay or base pay at the time of my retirement – plus COLA adjustment?

    I retired in 2007 as an E7 with 23 years of service.

    • Kate

      If you retired from active duty, then your retirement pay is calculated based on the base pay in effect at the time of your retirement, adjusted annual for the cost of living adjustment increase.

  • Donald Delosh

    I retired Oct 1, 1990 after serving on active duty with both the Marines and Army. I served 4 years, 4 days in the US Marines, Sept 21, 1965 to Sept 24th, 1969. I served 20 years in the Army from Sept 21, 1970 to October 1st, 1990. I was divorced and remarried once. My second marriage was on Aug 25th, 2007 and my wife was not picked up for dependent pay until summer of 2013. I believed I was to receive back pay for being married where as before it was reported correctly in 2011, I was only receiving single pay. Yet I received nothing accept a letter stating that my pay was ‘paid up’. I am confused about this.

    • Kate

      I’m afraid I don’t understand the question. There is no such thing as dependent pay or single pay. Your status as married or single has no bearing on your retirement pay amount.

      If I am missing something, please let me know and I’ll try to help.

  • MAJ K

    I entered active duty air force May 29, 1990 and spent 5 years active, 10 years reserves. I had an 8 year break in service, returned Feb. 11, 2014 to the army national guard. During the 8 year break I was placed in a category called ISLRS with the air force personnel center and had extensions renewed via recruiters as I pursued return to reserve duty. Until recently, my pay date / PEBD with the army national guard was Jan 7, 1995. I’ve been fighting for over a year to have it corrected to the May 1990 date. Air Force personnel repeatedly states I did not have a break in service and pay date should reflect 1990. The farthest I’ve gotten is a date change to July 18, 1991. No explanation given to me and concerned as in the long run it’ll effect my military retirement pay. I’m a wits end how to resolve this. Any ideas? I’ve given up at the local level and when deferred to others, lack of return emails/phone calls. Some unit reps say I should go to the IG. Seeing the various posts, curious your input. Thank you for your time

    • Kate

      MAJ K, I am sorry that this question is way outside my field of expertise. Pretty much everything Guard and Reserve confuses me!

      Readers, can you help?

  • Stan Chaney

    Trying to find out what the monthly retirement pay was for an E-8 with 26 years and an E-7 with 26 yrs in 1987.

  • lesha

    How need help ex spouse of a retired army e-7.married for 13 years trying to get distribution of retirement pay judge insist that she need to know amount soldier receive. what can be done

    • Kate

      Lesha, I would suggest that the judge should instruct the soldier to provide that information to the court.

  • Sharon

    I was eligible to apply for retirement pay as of 11/14. Will I get back pay to that date if I apply for retirement now? Thanks.

    • Kate

      Sharon, reserve retirement pay is paid retroactively as long as application is made within six years of turning aged 60. After age 66, there is a penalty for failing to file.

      I hope that helps!