Getting Retirement Credit for HPSP in the Reserves

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In the recently released Winter Medical Corps Newsletter, I noticed this paragraph in the “Readiness in the Reserves” article:


I have just returned from PERS-9 (Reserves), reviewing important administrative processes. Here is the gouge…

HPSP Credit: Jeanitta Edwards verifies that the member was a HPSP participant and that the member is in a critical wartime skill (defined by DOD each year). Once she verifies this information, she sends it to another individual to load in the points for the year as credit towards retirement. The instruction requires a full year of service to receive credit for 1 year and caps the credit at 4 years. Unfortunately, because many medical schools start in July and graduate in May, the 4th year does not qualify. Some may have earned other points that year which can carry over for credit towards a good year. The 15 gratuity points are allocated on a pro rata basis so you will only get half those points for a half a year of participation. We will post the guiding documents to the Medical Corps Homepage. Please note that the actual HPSP policy is currently being rewritten.

A reader asked, “What are the official critical wartime specialties?”

Here is the portion of the document that lists them:

So what do those mysterious codes mean? They are defined in the Promo Prep, but since I’m such a nice guy here is the translation. The CWS include:

  • General Surgery (15C)
  • Neurosurgery (15D)
  • Orthopedics (15H)
  • Radiology (16Y)
  • Anesthesia (15B)
  • Internal Medicine Subspecialties (16R1)
  • Emergency Medicine (16P)
  • Flight Surgery (15A)
  • OB/GYN (15E)
  • GMO (15F)
  • Family Medicine (16Q)
  • General Internal Medicine (16R)
  • UMO (16U)
  • Psychiatry (16X)

Update just prior to publication – My wife (a Reservist) was sent this chart in the Health Professions Officer Special and Incentive Pay Plan, and the specialties under “USNR” match the list above:

If you are in one of these specialties, you can get retirement credit for your time in HPSP (or at least 3 years of the 4). In addition to the info above, here is what else I could find about this program:

Policy Guidance on Reserve Service Credit for Participation in DoD Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program

Army Policy – Guidance on Reserve Service Credit for Participation in DOD HPSP and FAP

Recruiting and Retention Incentives for Reserve Component Health Professions Officers

BRS and HPSP Students & New End-of-the Month Personal Finance Summary

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We’re all starting to get pinged about the mandatory Blended Retirement System (BRS) training. While I’ve created a BRS resource center on the other blog I write for, the specific case of how BRS works for medical students was recently run to ground by Dr. Jami Peterson, the Head of Student Programs at BUMED. Straight from her, the BLUF is:

Any HPSP student who signed their contract BEFORE 01 JAN 2018 will have thirty days after signing into their FIRST active duty station to declare if they want to do the legacy retirement system OR the blended retirement system. For any students who start AFTER 01 JAN 2018 will automatically be placed in the blended retirement.

I’m also going to start providing an end-of-the-month summary of the personal finance articles I’ve written. Here they are:

2018 Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Contribution Limits Announced

Invest in Stock and Bond Index Funds or ETFs

Make an Intelligent Rent vs Buy Real Estate Decision

Saving and Investing for Military Personnel by the SEC

Three Things Every Young Medical Student and Physician Needs to Know – Part 1

Three Things Every Young Medical Student and Physician Needs to Know – Part 2