Military Times

2012 Insider's Guide to the Guard and Reserve

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National Guard and reserve members on full-time active duty are covered by the same separation programs as career active-duty troops. Eligibility for a specific program or benefit depends on such qualifications as rank, career specialty and years of service.


When it is authorized, separation pay is offered to those who decline voluntary separation programs and still are forced out of the service.

Benefit formula. Basic separation pay is 12 times monthly basic pay at the time of separation from active duty, times 0.1 (10 percent), times one’s active service time as computed in the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation, Vol. 7A.

Eligibility. An active-duty reservist must have at least six years on active duty, five of which must be continuous at the time of discharge. The member must have an honorable discharge and meet one of the following criteria:

♦ Formally discharged under reduction-in-force provisions.

♦ Fully qualified but denied re-enlistment.

♦ As an enlisted member, rated “failed to promote.”

♦ As an officer, fully qualified but not selected for, or denied, promotion.

The following categories of personnel are ineligible for separation pay:

♦ Dishonorable, bad conduct or other-than-honorable discharge recipients.

♦ Anyone eligible for retirement pay.

♦ Individuals on initial active-duty obligations.

♦ Anyone on active duty for training.

♦ Members discharged as a result of court-martial sentences or in lieu of a court-martial.

♦ Members discharged for unsatisfactory or substandard performance.

Taxes. Separation-pay benefits are fully taxable. For more information, see your unit career counselor or administrative officer.

Involuntarily separated Selected Reserve members with six to 15 years of service who meet the criteria listed above may be eligible for separation pay. This is a lump-sum payment given at the time of discharge.

Each year of active service is worth 365 retirement points, and each year of reserve service is worth 75 points. Reserve time must be translated into active-duty time. Under the separation-pay formula, 360 reserve points equal one year of active-duty service.

If a reservist who takes this bonus rejoins the reserves and drills for pay, pay will be reduced by 75 percent until the total separation pay is repaid.


Voluntary separation pay is not available for reservists at this time.


Half-payment of separation pay is authorized only for personnel in the Active Guard and Reserve who meet the above criteria, are not fully qualified for retention and are involuntarily separated.

In certain circumstances, full separation pay may be awarded to Army reservists eligible for half separation pay. Generally, this requires that a soldier’s service be characterized as “honorable” or “under honorable conditions.”

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