special pays

Special Pays Update for Those Receiving a Retention Bonus (RB)

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There are a couple of items BUMED Special Pays recently learned from DFAS.

First, for those receiving RB rates over $50,000, an update to DFAS’s system prevents them from entering an initial RB payment over $50,000.  For RBs with an annual rate over $50,000, DFAS is entering the initial payment of $50,000 then going back into the member’s account at a later date and adding the remainder of the amount due.   Unfortunately, with the volume of RBs DFAS is processing, they may not be able to go back into the account to make the adjustment until after the initial payment is made so there may be a gap in receipt of the full RB amount.  This only impacts the initial payment.

Second, for those who have recently Terminated and Renegotiated an RB to a different rate, if the anniversary payment of the legacy agreement is within a few weeks of when the new acceptance letter was submitted to DFAS, this year’s anniversary payment may be made at the old rate.   DFAS will then go in afterwards to adjust the RB to the new rate.  Again, with the volume of RBs being processed, there is no way to know how soon after the anniversary payment is made that DFAS can make the adjustment.

In either scenario, if the member has not received the adjusted payment within 2 weeks after the effective date, the member should contact his/her command HRD/Admin office.  The HRD/Admin offices are to compile a list to send to the BUMED Special Pays Office via the usn.ncr.bumedfchva.mbx.specialpays-bumed@mail.mil email address.

Questions should be directed to the command HRD/Admin office.

Reminder to Graduating Residents – You are Now Eligible for GMO Incentive Pay

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Congratulations to those who just graduated residency. Please note the following on page 3 of the BUMED Medical Corps Special Pay Guidance where it discusses General Medical Officer (GMO) Incentive Pay (IP):

Medical Corps officers who complete initial residency on active duty are eligible for the GMO IP the day after completing residency.  For those who complete residency not on active duty eligibility is the date reported to first permanent command, if less than three months after completing residency.

This means you need to go to your Special Pays coordinator and apply for the GMO IP. It increases you from a residency IP of $8,000 per year to the GMO IP of $20,000 per year.

If you are not sure where to go or how to get this pay, I’d try to do what the BUMED Special Pays page says:

If there are any questions please direct them to your HRD/Admin/Special Pays Coordinator, or Specialty Leader, who will forward to BUMED inquiries they are unable answer at the command level, but no individuals should be bypassing their local command admin support, since they need to be able to understand the issues, and responses, to be able to better support the command.

Initial Application for Board Certification Pay and Your Proof of Certification

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Here is some info from BUMED about Board Certification Pay (BCP) for those applying for it the first time:

Please make sure that the date on the proof of board certification that you submit is reflective of the true date of your certification. The Special Pays team has encountered a few packages in which the date on the letter from the respective board is later than the actual date of certification. This particularly seems to impact the Internal Medicine community. Currently, the “fix” is for the individual to reach out to the board and ask for a revised letter reflecting the actual date of certification.

For awareness, BCP is retroactively paid to the date of board certification, so any disparity could result in forfeiture of hundreds/thousands of dollars.

We in the Corps Chief’s office are working to see if we can find a less administratively intensive way of getting the dates right, but in the meantime, it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure they are getting all the pay to which they are entitled.

Any question about special pays should be directed to your command’s special pays coordinator.

Guest Post: The Fellowship-Retention Bonus “Loophole” Still Exists; Are You Eligible?

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By Dustin Schuett, DO

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

The 2018 Navy Graduate Medical Education Selection Board results were released 12 DEC 2018. For a select few Navy physicians pursuing fellowship, the opportunity exists to take a Retention Bonus (RB, formerly Multi-year Specialty Pay) and pay back their fellowship obligation and the RB obligation concurrently without extending their Navy commitment.

To be eligible, the physician must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Be at 8 years or more of active duty time in the Medical Corps.
  2. Have completed all pre-commissioning obligation time:
    • All initially obligated HPSP/USUHS/HSCP time AND any ROTC or USNA obligated time
    • This does not include residency obligation time

Essentially, if you went to medical school on a 4 year HPSP scholarship, have completed or will have completed 4 or more years of combined GMO and post-residency payback time BEFORE starting fellowship and have 8 total years active duty Medical Corps time, you’re likely eligible.

Here is my personal example:

4 year HPSP > 1 year internship > 2 years as a GMO > 5 years of residency > 2 years post-residency staff time (4 total including GMO time) = 4 years of total payback completing HPSP obligation, 10 years in Medical Corps

As an orthopaedic surgeon, our annual Incentive Pay (IP) is $59,000. I was able to take a 3 year RB which increases my IP to $73,000 annually plus an additional $33,000 lump sum paid annually for a total of $106,000/year, a $47,000 increase per year without increasing my obligation time.

If you have questions about special pay, please follow the current BUMED guidance:

If there are any questions please direct them to your HRD/Admin/Special Pays Coordinator, or Specialty Leader, who will forward to BUMED inquiries they are unable answer at the command level, but no individuals should be bypassing their local command admin support, since they need to be able to understand the issues, and responses, to be able to better support the command.

For more information, see the Medical Corps Special Pay Guidance that can be found on the BUMED Special Pays website.

Good Luck!

Updated FY19 BUMED Special Pays Information Posted

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The FY19 BUMED special pays guidance is now posted on the BUMED Special Pays website. The changes largely involve the Retention Bonuses (RB) and changes are highlighted in yellow on each Corps specific document.

If you want to read the BUMED talking points on the changes, they can be found here.


Big Changes to Navy Medical Pay – FY19 Medical Department Special Pays Guidance

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Here are the official BUMED talking points on the FY19 special pays plan. The pay plan guidance for each Corps is expected to be released early next week.

NOTE: The guidance currently posted on the BUMED special pays website is from FY18 and not FY19.  This new guidance only applies to FY19 pays.


Navy Medicine’s mission does not change – to keep the Navy and Marine Corps family healthy, ready and on the job. Ensuring the Department of the Navy has a ready medical force to meet assigned operational missions remains paramount. To do this, we must maximize recruitment and retention tools such as special and incentive pay to attract and retain medical department officers with critical specialties.

Navy Medicine is responsible for properly aligning its uniformed force structure to support the medical capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps operating forces. The Fiscal Year 2019 special pays guidance focuses on meeting congressional intent of NDAA 2017 which specifically focuses on the improvement of infrastructure and alignment to operational readiness.

Navy Medicine analyzed current manning data, end-strength forecasts, loss and retention rates, training timeframes, recruitment rates, and Department of Labor statistics to craft the FY19 Medical Department Special Pays Guidance.


Key Messages:

  • The Department of Defense and the Navy are taking a critical look at force structure across the services and within each military department in an effort to align to defense planning guidance priorities and to meet CNO guidance.
  • Navy Medicine is managing its medical force to meet the needs of the Navy and Marine Corps.
  • Navy Medicine must have properly aligned uniformed force structure to meet the medical capabilities of the Navy and Marine Corps operating forces.
  • Navy Medicine uses special and incentive pay, coupled with other personnel management tools, to influence recruitment and retention behavior and ensure we have the right specialty mix, experience, and talent to meet our mission.

Talking Points:

  • Changes to the FY19 Medical Department Special Pays Guidance provide Navy Medicine with significant flexibility and enhanced options for the recruitment and retention of needed specialties.
  • Navy Medicine increased accession and retention numbers in key specialty areas.
  • Navy Medicine carefully considered these changes to optimize personnel career progression and talent management.
  • The vast majority of officers eligible for special and incentive pays within Navy Medicine will be minimally impacted; there will be some impact on a few select specialties.
  • Updates include the following:
    • Accession Bonus:
      • Updated list of eligible specialties for the Critically Short Wartime Skills Accession Bonus to include cardio-thoracic surgery, trauma/critical care surgery, and medical technology, and eliminated internal medicine, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, and pediatrics.
      • Increased accession bonus amounts for critical specialties to include aerospace medicine, anesthesia, emergency medicine, family practice, orthopedics, preventive medicine, psychiatry, pulmonary/critical care, radiology, urology, and nurse anesthetist.
      • Authorized a direct accession critical care nurse to forgo the accession bonus and request retention bonus upon reporting to the first permanent command (must meet board certification & education/training criteria).
    • Retention Bonus:
      • Added 6-year retention bonus for critical specialties to include general surgery, category I subspecialties, orthopedics, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family practice, psychiatry, pulmonary/critical care, comprehensive dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, oral maxillofacial surgery, physician assistant, clinical psychology, critical care nursing, psychiatric nursing, perioperative nursing, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists.
      • Added additional eligible specialties for the retention bonus to include graduate prepared Clinical Nurse Specialists in medical-surgical and emergency room nursing (must meet board certification and education/training criteria).
      • Authorized critical care nurses and family nurse practitioners to take retention bonuses while under obligation for graduate education through Duty Under Instruction (DUINS), incurring a consecutive obligation.
      • Authorized critical care nurses to apply for selection to DUINS as Clinical Nurse Specialists in critical care nursing while under retention bonus.
      • Removed language allowing 2-year Retention Bonus for non-certified critical care nurses.
      • Limited ability to terminate early and renegotiate contracts for certain specialties to include pediatrics, radiology, radiation oncology, general dentistry, endodontics, exodontia, public health dentistry, oral pathology, pediatric dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwife.
      • Limited Nurse Corps retention bonus to Commander/O-5 for all specialties except nurse anesthetists.
      • Limited Medical Service Corps retention bonus to 22 years of commissioned service or less.
      • Limited retention bonus length to 2 or 3-years for pharmacy, optometry, pediatric nurse practitioner, and certified nurse midwife.
  • All personnel who are eligible for medical department special pays should review their corps specific guidance available on the Navy Medicine website.

FY19 Special Pays NAVADMIN Released

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Here’s the message below. Those who were waiting to apply for their special pays should be able to do so next week via their command special pays coordinator:

R 071545Z DEC 18





RMKS/1.  This NAVADMIN announces the continuation of authority granted in 
references (a) through (c).

2.  Submission of requests for FY-19 Special and Incentive Pays may begin 
upon release of this NAVADMIN in conformity with reference (c) and specific 
FY-19 Medical Department Special Pay guidance.
Officers will have 30 days from the release date of this NAVADMIN to submit 
requests for special pays effective back to 1 October 2018, provided officer 
meets eligibility criteria outlined in the FY-19 Medical Department Special 
Pays guidance.

3.  Specific special pays implementation guidance, administrative procedures 
and U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Special Pays point of contact 
information is available at 
Common access card (CAC) users will need to register their CAC upon first 
access to the site, if not a member of Navy medicine department.  All 
personnel eligible for Medical Department Officer Special Pays are strongly 
encouraged to review their corps-specific guidance located at the 
aforementioned link.

4.  This message will remain in effect until superseded or canceled, 
whichever occurs first.

5.  Released by Vice Admiral R. P. Burke, N1.//