There are a lot of financial, health, and other benefits that you get when joining a reserve component of the United States Military. Here’s a breakdown of some of those benefits.
Payment depends on rank and years of service. Unlike active duty, reserve members are paid once a month instead of the 1st and 15th of the month. Reservists are also only paid if they complete one or more drills during the month. A typical reserve weekend consists of 4 drill periods. Each drill period is a half-day of work. You can view the current reserve pay chart here.
Members of the reserve may request to retire after 20 cumulative years of qualifying service. Unlike their active duty counterparts, reserve/national guard retirement pay begins at age 60 instead of immediately following retirement (or at a lower qualifying age in cases where a member completed active duty service).
Group Life Insurance
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is available to all members of the reserve. The SGLI provides low-cost term life insurance coverage in $50,000 increments up to a maximum of $400,000.
- If you choose to opt into SGLI coverage, you will pay a monthly premium that is automatically deducted from your base pay. The current rate is 7 cents per $1,000 of insurance. If you choose to receive the max amount of $400,000, you will have $28 deducted from your monthly drill pay.
FSGLI provides term life insurance coverage to spouses, qualifying biological and adopted children, and step-children of service members participating in the SGLI. The service member will pay the premium for spousal coverage and dependant children are insured at no cost.
Medical and Dental Insurance
TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) is a voluntary, premium-based medical health care plan available to all reservists in an inactive status and their families. It is comparable to TRICARE Prime available at no cost to service members on active duty. Reservists are eligible for TRICARE Prime when they are recalled to active duty or if they go on ADT/ADSW/ADOS over 30 consecutive days.
2020 Monthly Rates
- Member Only: $44.17 per month
- Member and Family: $228.27 per month
TRICARE Dental is a voluntary, premium-based dental insurance plan available to all reservists in an inactive status and their families. It is comparable to the Active Duty Dental Program available at no cost to service members on active duty. Reservists are eligible for TRICARE Dental when they are recalled to active duty or if they go on ADT/ADSW/ADOS over 30 consecutive days.
To verify eligibility, go to: https://www.mydodbenefits.dmdc.mil
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement savings and investment plan available to all members of the uniformed service. There are many advantages to saving through TSP:
- Traditional or Roth contributions
- Minimal cost
- Agency/service contributions
- Catch-up contributions
- Multiple fund investment options
- Transfer other employee plans into TSP
- In-service withdrawals
- Multiple withdrawal options
Veteran’s Affairs Home Loans
The Veteran’s Administration (VA) helps service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of their mission, they provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs. VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders and the VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable terms.
Minimum eligibility requirements:
- Served 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard -OR-
- Served 181 days during peacetime (active duty) -OR-
- Served 90 days during wartime (active duty) -OR-
- You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability
TSA Precheck Program
All members of the U.S. Armed Forces can receive TSA Precheck benefits just by using their DOD ID number. This benefit provides more efficient means in the screening process as you will no longer be required to remove your shoes, belt, or light jacket during the screening process. You can also leave your laptop and liquids in your bag.
To enroll in this program, all you have to do is use your DOD ID as the Known Traveler Number (KTN) when booking your flight through the airline’s website or in the Defense Travel System (DTS).