The mission of this site is to acquaint current and retired Federal employees, active duty and reserve component military members, attorneys and other interested parties with the important aspects of Civil Service pay, Civil Service annuities, Military pay and Military retired pay.

We also endeavor to provide some guidance through the often impassible thicket of QDROs (Qualified Domestic Relations Order), COAPs (Court Orders Acceptable for Processing), valuation of pensions for division in divorce — NPV (Net Present Value) and other financial aspects of the divorce process.

In particular, our focus will be on those who are contemplating or in the process of divorce. Equitable distribution of retired pay and benefits is often one of the most important aspects of a dissolution of marriage and yet it is often one of the least known areas of legal expertise.

Author of all material unless otherwise annotated is David W. Starr , dave@retiredpay.com

DISCLAIMER: This site is authored and maintained by a lay person.  All readers are strongly encouraged to seek competent legal advice before making any decisions.  The information here is believed correct when posted but is not warranted in any way and may, in fact, be completely erroneous.  Each case is different!  Consult a competent legal advisor! YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)

Copyright (c) 1999-2014, David W. Starr, all rights reserved

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    • @Michelle Johnson: Thanks for writing, Michelle. Indeed, the COP process _is_ meticulous in nature. That’s why so many attorneys get it wrong … because they have drafted x-number of QDRO’s for their local courts they think the same procedures and verbiage apply, and there are significant differences in the rules.

      The “bible” for COAP’s is here:


      An “Attorney’s Guide to COAP’s” which has model languages for important paragraphs is here:


      OPM used to publish a diskette with sample data, but I can’t find a source for it any more, sorry. Best of luck. This information is furnished by a lay person and is not legal advice. If you are not an attorney, you need one who specializes in CSRS/FERS matters because the money at stake here is way, way more than the fee for a competent attorney, I know this from personal experience.

  1. Dave:
    Could you clarify what my military benefits will be after age 60? I did about 10 years active duty after graduating from the US Military Academy (time as cadet not counted) , two years with the CA NG (monthly drills, etc.), and then reserve time (mostly inactive and not attached to any unit for drilling) for about 8 years. I don’t believe I have twenty good years for any retirement pay, but I was retired to the retired reserves about 10 years ago and was issued a red retired reservist ID card with an expiration date on my 60th birthdate in five more years. There have been no breaks in any of the above. Will I still have an ID card after age 60 or have any benefits at all?

    I really appreciate your help, since I have not been able to find anything on the internet that clarifies what happens to a grey area “retiree” not entitled to pay after age 60. I am presently in the DEERS system too, if that makes any difference.

    Eric Oetjen

    • Eric Oetjen » Thanks for writing in and for posing a very good question here, Eric. I am not at all sure on this issue. I have never heard of anyone being transferred to the Retired Reserve _without_ having 20 good years. (of course if all the things I have never heard of went off at the same time, it would be one hell of a bang 😉 )

      I can think of only two reasons you asre acrrying that Pink ID card around:

      1. You actually have 20 good years.
      2. A mistake was made in issuing it to you.

      Here’s my reasoning.

      A Reserve Forces member is entitled to carry the ID card and use the benefits s/he is entitled to so long as s/he is serving. Or until s/her is transferred to the Retired Reserve. At age 60, when retied pay kicks in, s/he then exchnages the red ID card for a ‘gray’ retiree ID card and all benefits are then the same as a retiree from the regular forces.

      If, for some reason, a reservist has the red ID card up until age 60 (when you say yours epeires, as I believe it should) and s/he is not eligible for retiredpay, then to the best of my knowlege, s/he has no further benefits, because s/he is no longer available to serve in the reserve forces and s/he is not a retired annutant of the military.

      I want to guess, for your sake, that my supposition 1 is correct. That you really have 20 good years. I don’t know your retired grade or any of your history, but the person who told you that your service academy time did not count may be wrong. Service academy time does not count toward retirement time for an officer but I do believe it counts for an enlisted service member.

      How did you receive notice you were in the retired reserve? there should have been an application process and more importantly you should have received orders transferring you, also a certificate and, most important,20 Year letter from the service component you were serving with at the time. Transfer to the inactive reserve doesn’t happen automatically, because a reserve member who’s term of service is up may also elect as discharge from the service, vice a transfer.

      My thought is, better see if you can reconstruct what went on during your transfer time. There have been case that I know of where a member did not receive his/her 20 Year Letter, even though authorized to. Let me know if you find out anything, good or bad on this … as always, helping people research answers greatly improves my own understanding.


  2. I received an administrative discharge in 1995 (AF Reserves). I had 19 years and 6 months (8 yrs of which is active duty). I had enough points (good years) at that time to qualify for retirement pay. Am I elligible for retirement pay even though I received an administrative discharge?

    • ronald shaw » Hi Ronald, thanks for writing in. I’m afraid I don’t have a proper answr for you, as I don’t knoiw where to research an issue with the legal and privacy implications yours has.

      My layman’s guess? No, on two counts.

      1., You don’t have a “20 Year” letter, confirming the fact you will receive benefits at age 60.
      2., You, yourself said you did not complete 20 years of service.

      I frequently get questions along these lines where people get confused about the points and the calendar. To get 20 “Good Years” you have to earn the minimum required points within a Reserve Retirement Year. You can have more than enough points within a year, but you have to complete the year as well.

      So, it appears to me that you did not complete 20 “Good Years”, but instead, 19 years and six months. How much the Administrative Discharge means, only your service component can say. If I were you, rather than searching for answers on the Internet, I’d go direct to ARPC at Buckley:

      18420 E. Silver Creek Ave., Bldg, 390, MS68
      Buckley AFB, CO 80011
      Telephone: 800-525-0102 or DSN 847-3294

      e-mail: dppr@arpc.denver.af.mil


      File an application for Retired Pay and let them approve (or deny) in writing. Don’t take what you hear as chit-chat and “I think” as an answer.

      All that said, I am personally always suspicious when an airman gets a discharge right before retirement eligibility. In my personal opinuion this has the ‘smell’ of a personal vendetta and potentially could have legal issues.

      Did you have legal counsel at the time? Have you considered employing legal counsel now? I have no idea if you have a case or not … that’s what a lawyer is for, but there’s a lot at stake … 20 or 30 or more years of retirement annuity, plus TRICARE and other benefits. It is kind of like poker to me, I’m not going to risk a lot on a small pot, but when there are potentially hundreds of thousands in benefits ‘on the table’, paying a professional for a comprehensive consult on the possible merits of your cases seems a decent risk to me. Godspeed.

  3. David,
    Thanks for a very informative site. I am a lifetime member of VFW. I was not a career military soldier and was drafted during the Vietnam War. Recently my wife and I decided to try something different and are now involved in Affiliate Marketing. I spent about 35 years in Silicon Valley and moved to a small town in the mountains near Yosemite. Although I had a website for a couple of my companies (like Left Coast Ventures and Red Barn Microwave), I did not really understand what it takes to sell products on the Internet. It is a real challenge and requires a lot of time and effort. Your site is in fact, what the Internet was designed for, and that is information. We decided to start with some products that would help children since my wife is a kindergarten teacher. You can see the site and reviews here. Ebook. Your readers need to know that it is not as I thought when I was an engineer. Design it, and they will come. Life isn’t that easy. It’s not about the website, but it’s about the content. Thanks for the tools.

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