Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gray Area Army Retired

I am approaching 25 years service as an Army Civilian employee and my career as an Army Reserve soldier is occasionally referenced at the military facility where I work. With regard to that service, just 11 more years until I will be able to draw a retirement check for my 24 years of active and reserve service. There has been little movement in efforts to reduce the retirement age for those of us that answered the call to active service before 2008… with impending budget constraints; I doubt the momentum to consider such a reduction is very strong.

Someone asked me the other day what a gray area retiree was (I used the term to describe myself) so an explanation -

Members of the Retired Reserve under age 60 (not entitled to reserve retired pay until reaching age 60) are often referred to as Gray Area Retirees. These Gray Area Retirees are entitled to unlimited use of Military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities and commissaries.

Gray Area Retirees must have a valid military Reserve Identification Card. Eligible family members must have a Reserve Family Member ID Card. These cards are available at all military facilities that issue identification cards.

At age 60 and upon receiving retired pay, individuals must complete an application to receive the Retired (blue) ID Card. At that time we and our family members can become eligible for medical and dental care at military facilities (as provided by the installation); TRICARE programs; unlimited use of commissaries and exchanges; and unlimited space "A" travel.

Between the time of Reserve retirement and age 60 we essentially must fend for ourselves in medical insurance, etc…typically handled through our civilian employers. This includes any treatment for un-documented or uncharacterized service connected treatments. I.e. treatment for illness or injury which at time of treatment cannot be directly tied to service. So, for example if you were a Reserve soldier poisoned by KBR water treatment in Iraq and incur illness later on…hopefully your civilian health insurance and your wallet can cover the bill…

Is it time to reconsider this in light of National Health Care discussions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by googling "gray area retiree" and I have really enjoyed reading it.

I have a question that perhaps you know the answer to: Say a gray area retiree is married, but dies before reaching age 60. The surviving spouse never remarries. Does the surviving spouse begin to draw a monthly check when the retiree would have turned 60 (if he was still alive)? Or is the SS just plain out of luck?

Many thanks for your time.

V/r, A reader in Ohio.