Retired military members receive a monthly account statement similar to the active duty Leave and Earnings Statement. When you’re still serving, you get an LES each month to list all your pays, allowances, deductions, and allotments. Once you transfer to the retired side, the same information is available on your Retiree Account Statement (RAS). Just like you should check your LES every month, you should check your Retiree Account Statement every month to ensure that everything is right. Because like while on active duty, mistakes are easier to fix when they are new and small.
Where Do I Get A Military Retiree Account Statement?
Your RAS is available each month via the online MyPaysystem. MyPay is the official online account management system for military members and DoD employees, managed the Defense Finance and Accounting System (DFAS). If you create a MyPay account, you can access your monthly RAS at any time. Statements are issued by the first of each month and will remain available for 12 months. Your monthly RAS is the first item listed on the MyPay menu for retirees.
Yearly RAS are provided, by mail, to all retirees each December. You will receive a mailed RAS whenever you make changes to your retirement pay account.
Because the other choices are slow, I strongly encourage everyone to set up a MyPay account. It will take a little time in the beginning, but it will provide you with instant access to your RAS, make changes to direct deposit easy and fast, and will let you keep track of your tax statements without having to wait for help via the telephone or mail.
When MyPay Can’t Help
Sometimes, however, MyPay isn’t an option for you. Perhaps your MyPay account is stuck, or you need an older RAS. In that case, you may obtain your RAS by telephone or by mail.
My readers tell me that the telephone option does not work well, but I will give you the information anyway. The customer service telephone number for retired service member is 800-321-1080. Once you get through, select option 1. This number is available from 8 a.m. to5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
You can send a written request to DFAS at the address listed below, but expect to wait up to 60 days for a response. Requests should include your name, Social Security Number, signature, and the specific information you are requesting. Requests can be submitted to:
DFAS Retired Pay
P.O. Box 7130
London, KY 40742-7130
Five Things To Check On Your Military Retiree Account Statement
Once you have your recent RAS, there are five things you should check to ensure accuracy. You may not need to check everything every single month, but it only takes 2 seconds once you’ve already downloaded or printed your RAS, which you should be doing anyway.
Make sure DFAS has your correct mailing address. This is the simplest step in keeping your military retirement pay flowing without interruption. Changing your address is easy through the MyPay system.
Your Income Tax Withholding
Check that you are having federal taxes withheld, and state taxes if appropriate. Periodically do a quick tax review to ensure that you’re taking out enough money to cover your total tax liability at the end of the year. Far too many military retirees are stuck with a large tax bill their first couple of years after retirement, almost always because they didn’t adjust their various withholdings to accurately reflect all their sources of income.
Survivor Benefit Plan Coverage
For many families, the Survivor Benefit Plan is a huge part of their overall financial plan. Make sure that you have the coverage you selected at retirement, the base amount is correct, the dates of birth for the spouse and/or youngest child are accurate, and that payments are being deducted from your retired pay.
In the SBP section of the RAS, you can also see how many payments you have made towards paid-up coverage. Once you have paid at least 360 payments and reached age 70, your SBP coverage is paid in full – your cost will end but your coverage remains in force.
If you have any allotments, be sure that they are being deducted from your military retirement pay, the amount is correct, and they are being paid to the right organization.
Arrears of Pay Beneficiary
This part shows who you have designated to receive any remaining retirement pay after your death. This would be the amount for any portion of the month in which you die, plus possibly any retroactive payments for errors that occurred before your death. Be sure you have the right person listed there!
While You’re On MyPay
Not everything that you want to check is listed on your RAS. As long as you are logged into your MyPay account, check to be sure that your email address is up-to-date.
At the top of the myPay account menu, click the “Personal Settings” button. On the side menu on the left, select “Email Address” to view the email address(es) on file with DFAS. Make sure you indicate that this is the primary email address you want us to use. While you are in there, go ahead and delete any old email addresses you no longer use.
Your Retiree Account Statement is an important tool for keeping your finances straight. Download or print it every month, and take 2 seconds to check that everything looks right. This can prevent larger and more difficult problems in the future – and everyone likes that!
If you liked this post, you might also like: