On the table: Early reservist retirement pay
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 23, 2009 17:34:54 EDT
Retirement benefits for National Guard and reserve members, especially those mobilized for extended periods since Sept. 11, 2001, will be part of the focus of a Tuesday hearing when members of the Senate Armed Services Committee review reserve personnel issues.
Drawing attention will be House and Senate bills that would expand on a 2008 law by making retroactive a formula that allows a Guard or reserve member to receive a military retirement check 90 days earlier for every 90 days of active-duty service.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., is the chief sponsor of the Senate bill, S 644. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., is the chief sponsor of the House bill, HR 208.
This effort should be supported…it reflects a consideration for the increased reliance and sacrifice of reserve soldiers since the Global War on Terror (now called Overseas Contingency Operation by our current administration) began. The bill in its current form would make it possible for an earlier retirement pay date for Retired Reserve soldiers that have been mobilized since September 11th, 2001.
This is a reasonable accommodation for Reserve component soldiers that have sacrificed along side active component soldiers. The incentive in this is to offer Reserve soldiers something for the time away from civilian jobs, families, and pursuits. It has no immediate equal program for Active duty soldiers it is true, however Active component soldiers receive full retirement and Medical starting the day they retire rather than Grey area benefits given to Reserve Soldiers.
Grey Area Benefits are few…ability to shop at PX/Commissary, use Military facilities for Reserve Soldiers that are often no where near such facilities. No pay, medical benefits are provided.
I urge Reserve Soldiers past and present to drop a note to your Senators and Representative and ask them to support this bill. This effort is still being fought by the Pentagon (composed of Active Duty Soldiers) and we need to overcome that resistance.