HomeRetirementDo you get a pension after 4 years in the military?

Do you get a pension after 4 years in the military? [Revealed 2024]

No, you do not receive a pension after 4 years in the military. To qualify for a pension, military service members must typically serve 20 or more years. There are two pension plans for active duty service members: the Legacy or High 36 Retirement System and the Blended Retirement System (BRS), both of which require 20 or more years of service.

Whether you’re an active-duty service member, a reservist, or a veteran, various pension plans and programs are available to support you in your retirement years. In this blog, we’ll delve into the different retirement options for military personnel, from active-duty service to veterans with disabilities, providing valuable insights into eligibility criteria, pension plans, and how to navigate the application process.

Military Retirement: Understanding Your Benefits

Retiring from a career in the military marks a significant transition in life, and understanding the intricacies of your retirement benefits is crucial for financial planning and security.

Factors Affecting Retirement Benefits

Before diving into specific retirement plans, it’s essential to understand the factors that influence your retirement benefits as a military service member. These factors include your years of service, the retirement system you’re enrolled in, and any disabilities you may have incurred during your service.

Retirement Plans for Active Duty Military

For active-duty service members, two primary pension plans exist: the Legacy or High 36 Retirement System and the Blended Retirement System (BRS). The plan you fall under depends on when you joined the service, with the BRS introduced for service members joining after December 31, 2017. Both plans require a minimum of 20 years of service, with variations in contribution matching and pension calculations.

Retirement Plans for Reserve Service Members

Reserve service members typically start receiving retirement benefits at age 60, although this age may vary based on active-duty service duration. Unlike active-duty personnel, reserve members must request their retirement benefits from the department where they last served.

Retirement Plans for Service Members with Disabilities

Service members who incur disabilities during their service may be eligible for retirement benefits, provided they meet specific disability criteria. Understanding military disability retirement, also known as Chapter 61 retirement, is essential for those facing physical or mental challenges post-service.

Pension Programs for Veterans and Survivors with Low Income

Veterans who didn’t retire from service may still qualify for pension programs offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These programs cater to veterans who served during a war, received an honorable discharge, and have income below a certain threshold. Additionally, survivors of veterans may also be eligible for VA Survivors Pension, providing essential support for families of deceased service members.


Navigating military retirement benefits can be complex, but with the right knowledge and resources, service members, veterans, and their families can access the support they need for a secure and comfortable retirement. Whether you’re exploring pension plans, disability benefits, or other VA programs, understanding your options and eligibility criteria is the first step towards maximizing your retirement benefits. Stay informed, plan ahead, and make the most of the resources available to you as you embark on this new chapter in life.

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