Beginning in January 2018, nearly 30,000 eligible Coast Guard members will have the irrevocable choice to enroll in the Blended Retirement System (BRS). The BRS has four components; a defined benefit similar to the current retirement system though with a reduced multiplier, government automatic and matching Thrift Savings Plan contributions, continuation pay, and a lump sum payment option at retirement. Eligible members will have calendar year 2018 to make the election using a self-service page in Direct Access. Individuals accessing into the Coast Guard after January 1, 2018 will be automatically enrolled into the BRS.
Members covered by the BRS are eligible to receive continuation pay, a one-time, mid-career bonus in exchange for obligated service. This one-time bonus payment is in addition to any other career field-specific incentives or retention bonuses. The law permits significant flexibility in continuation pay, allowing the Coast Guard to pay the bonus between eight and 12 years of service for an obligation of no less than three years. The amount of payment ranges between 2.5 and 13 times monthly basic pay for the Active Component and 0.5 and six times monthly basic pay for the Reserve Component. Recipients of continuation pay may have the bonus recouped if the member is unable to meet the obligated service requirements.
In August, the Commandant decided the continuation pay multipliers – 2.5 times monthly basic pay for active duty and 0.5 for reserves in exchange for four years of service payable at 12 years of service. The continuation pay rate, set for the entire opt-in period, aligns with multipliers established by the other Services. ALCOAST 278/17 announced the continuation pay rates.
Implementation of the BRS is the largest change to military compensation since World War II. Please join me in preparing eligible members to make a lifetime financial decision. While eligible members have an individual responsibility to complete the mandatory Joint Knowledge Online opt-in training, commands are encouraged to capitalize on BRS educational opportunities available at no-cost by organizations in the financial industry. Designated Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel are also available to assist commands in hosting BRS training sessions.
A continuation pay infographic and FAQs are available on the BRS website.
ICB 006-17 provides guidance for commands desiring a financial literacy program.
RDML William G. Kelly
RDML WILLIAM G. KELLY
Assistant Commandant for Human Resources
Enclosures: Continuation Pay FAQs | Continuation Pay Infographic
Issue date: 9/27/17