Earn military retirement eligibility while pursuing your civilian career:
Let’s say you come to the end of your active duty or drilling contract. If you’re in your initial enlistment, you’ll roll right into the Individual Ready Reserves. Don’t throw that time away. Once you get to the end of your IRR contract, reenlist in the IRR.
Keep doing this until you have 20 good years for retirement.
Four years of active duty time, plus 16 years of IRR time, equals 20 years. If all of your IRR years in this scenario were good years… meaning you received at least 50 points each year… you’d be eligible to receive a retirement check once you turn 60.
This is applicable with any IRR time, not just the one that’s part of your initial military service obligation time.
Some basic Individual Ready Reserve Requirements:
As a member of the IRR, keep your service informed of your current address. Update your military service with your new address as soon as you complete your move.
You’ll receive military correspondence while in the IRR. This could be by mail, email, or phone. Provide them with any information that they request.
Annual musters are an IRR requirement. Your service will give you some options. You could do an online-muster, or you could report to a muster center. You might be required to do both. If you report to a muster center, you’ll get paid for your time. Your military branch will let you know your other requirements.
Your major requirements while in the Individual Ready Reserves:
In the Individual Ready Reserves, you can achieve the minimum 50 points from the comfort of your home. This is where the correspondence courses come in. Three hours equals one point. You could also drill, or do active training time; however, you can influence when this happens.
Here are some ways you can get your points: correspondence course hours, drilling without pay, active training, active duty for training, mobilization, funeral duty, etc. Some of these opportunities will pay you for your time.
You can get a maximum of 130 inactive points. Your inactive points come from correspondence course hours, 15 free points, and drilling without pay. Three correspondence hours translates to one retirement point, provided you complete the entire course.
Subtract 15 points from the amount of points you plan to get for the year. Multiply the result by 3. This’ll give you an idea of how many correspondence hours you’ll need to reach your point goal.
Now, as time progresses and you start missing the camaraderie, you can take advantage opportunities to get active points. Of course, you don’t have to wait till this happens. The more points you get, the bigger your retirement check.
You can get active points through annual training, active training, mobilization, funeral duty, etc. You get one point for every day you serve in an “active” status. Check with your IRR point of contact for specifics on how to get these opportunities.
You can get more than 130 active points in a year. Total active and inactive points can’t exceed the number of days in a retirement year.
While in the IRR, you should strive to get the maximum points you could get each retirement year.
During your annual musters, you’re going to provide basic information. You’ll provide them with information on your physical health, mental health, on your dependents, civilian occupation, etc. Depending on the muster, you could receive briefings and training related to your IRR responsibilities.
During an orientation muster, you’ll receive the basics of what’s involved with IRR. During an accountability muster, you could end up receiving a dental and medical evaluation. Additional activities could include verifying your addresses and phone number, family status, occupation, and other paperwork designed to complement your record.
If you’re a first/emergency responder, let your military service know about this.
Don’t worry, you won’t get “whisked” away to mobilization while you’re doing your musters. Your annual musters aren’t mobilization events; you won’t get activated or mobilized.
If you do want to mobilize, contact your IRR point of contact, or volunteer online. There are specific procedures to do this. Check with your IRR point of contact for details.
Benefits while in the Individual Ready Reserves:
Depending on your service, you can get promoted while in the IRR.
As a member of the IRR, you’re also entitled to a reserve ID card (IRR). This’ll give you access to military installations, MWR facilities, the commissary, the exchange, etc. In places that offer military discounts, this reserve ID card could reduce your purchase amount.
You’ll be entitled to TRICARE Reserve Dental benefits, but not TRICARE Medical benefits.
You’ll also be able to travel on space available flights.
If you’re in the Army, here’s something to think about before getting out completely.
You might go back on active duty, or into the drilling reserves again. Remain in the IRR until you do this. If you completely get out, then try to get back in after a certain amount of time, you could end up going through One Station Unit Training (OSUT) or Basic Combat Training (BCT) again.
Think you’re never going to come back in? There are lots of prior service members re-entering the military who thought that they too were completely done.
If you remain in the IRR, then go back to active duty or the drilling reserves, you won’t have to worry about spending time with brand new privates in Basic Combat Training again.
Soldiers in the Individual Ready Reserves are eligible for the IRR Distinctive Unit Insignia (DUI) and IRR Shoulder Sleeve Insignia.