Retired service members and their eligible family members receive several benefits from the Department of Defense. These include retired pay, health care, and access to the Commissary and Exchange and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and facilities. Retired service members and their eligible family members will also get a new military ID card that reflects their new status and indicates the benefits that they are eligible for. There can be certain limitations or additional requirements for those families who choose to retire outside the continental United States. Retired service members and their families are also eligible to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in addition to eligibility for VA National Cemeteries.
Upon retirement, the service member receives a DD214 (release from active duty) form. This document is very important and should be kept in a secure place, with other family documents such as wills, and birth and marriage certificates. This document is the key to benefits for surviving family members when the service member dies. We often receive calls from widows who have no idea what the DD214 is nor do they know where to find a copy. Establishing one secure location for all important family documents, known to both the service member and spouse or a trusted family member can be vital in the case of an emergency situation or death.
Each Service provides information through installation Retiree Service Offices. The staff is ready to answer questions about DoD and Service specific retiree benefits and to help the survivors of retired service members. You can check with the directory of your nearest installation or the Joint Family Assistance Center in your state for the location of retiree services.
Each Service also maintains a website that can provide information and publishes a newsletter that is mailed to retired service members.
Army: Army Echoes
Navy: Shift Colors
Marine Corps: Semper Fidelis
Air Force: Afterburner
Coast Guard and NOAA: Coast Guard/NOAA Retirees Newsletter
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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