Guest Post – How to Apply for Continuation Pay Under the Blended Retirement System

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By Dustin Schuett, DO

Note: The views expressed in this chapter are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

For those who elected into the Blended Retirement System (BRS), there is the opportunity to receive a one-time Continuation Pay bonus in exchange for 4 additional years of obligated service.

Continuation pay can in theory be taken anytime between 8 and 12 years of active service as calculated by the Pay Entry Base Date (PEBD, which can be found in block 4 of the LES labeled “PAY DATE”). The Navy (as well as the other branches) currently only allows Continuation Pay to be taken at the 12th anniversary of the member’s PEBD. Members can currently submit for Continuation pay when they are between 11.5 and 12 years from their PEBD. Essentially if you opted into the BRS and will be serving to 16 years due to pre-existing obligations or career plans/aspirations, you can take the continuation pay at 12 years. If you plan to get out of the Navy prior to serving 16 years, you should not take Continuation Pay as currently available.

The amount of the Continuation Pay can be set between 2.5 and 13 times monthly base pay for Active Duty servicemembers. The Navy (as well as the other branches) have taken the low end setting Continuation Pay bonus at 2.5x since its inception though 2020 rates have not been officially released. This bonus can be taken as a single lump sum or as 2 or 4 annual payments paying 50% or 25% per year respectively.

Understand that this means you will need to serve 4 years after receipt of the Continuation Pay. This obligation will “run concurrently with any other service obligation, unless other service obligations incurred specifically preclude concurrent obligations” per MILPERSMAN 1810-081 Section 7.

Verify that any pre-existing obligations can be served concurrent to (at the same time as) not consecutive to (following) any pre-existing obligations (ROTC, USNA, HPSP, USUHS, FTOS Training etc). I am currently carrying obligations for FTOS GME time for Fellowship training and a Retention Bonus which I am serving concurrently to my fellowship obligation as well as resident obligations. I contacted BUMED Special Pays who confirmed that my obligations do not require consecutive payback with other obligations.

I would strongly recommend anyone taking Continuation Pay to verify with BUMED Special Pays that their current obligations do not preclude a concurrent payback of obligation for Continuation Pay. Four years is a long additional commitment in exchange for only 2.5 months of base pay.

Here are the steps to obtain Continuation Pay in PDF form as well as below:.

  1. Go to the NSIPS website and log in.
  2. Select “Employee Self-Service” on the left side in the Menu box.
  3. Select “Blended Retirement System” under “Retirements and Separations” on the far right side.
  4. On the Blended Retirement System page, confirm that you are enrolled into the BRS and that the current date is between the 1st and last day eligible to elect by looking in the 2nd Box on this page.
  5. Select the “Continuation Pay” tab.
  6. Click the link for your “Continuation Pay Notification Letter” in the 3rd box from the top
    1. Save/print this letter for your records.
  7. Select “Yes, I elect Continuation Pay and agree to serve for an additional four years of obligated service from my date of eligibility”.
  8. Choose the Continuation Pay Payment option you desire from the listed options.
    1. Single Lump Sum Payment
    2. Two Annual Payments (50%)
    3. Four Annual Payments (25%)
  9. Click “Save” at the bottom of the page. This locks in your selection (don’t worry, you can still change the selection and opt out if you desire).
  10. I recommend checking to ensure everything has saved, to do this:
    1. Click “Home” in the top right corner of the page.
    2. Follow steps 2-5 above and ensure that your selections have been saved.
  11. Await your payment which per MILPERSMAN 1810-081 Section 8 b. will be on the 12th year anniversary of your PEBD (Pay Entry Base Date).

References:

  1. MILPERSMAN 1810-081
  2. Navy BRS Service Members FAQs
  3. Navy BRS Continuation Pay Rates 2019

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