A Look at Military Retirees

Let’s take a quick look at the the military retiree population based on data in the DOD Actuary’s most recent Statistical Report on the Military Retirement System, which has data as of September 30, 2021. There were 1.99M military retirees from all ranks and all branches of service. Some 222.9K or 11.2 percent of the retirees live in Texas, which is the most of any state. The next three states with the largest military retiree populations are Florida with 210K, Virginia with 154K, and California with 145.3K.

In total, 37.8 percent of military retirees receive Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP), while 43 percent of those living in Texas receive CRDP. CRDP is for retirees rated 50 percent or more disabled by the VA. CRDP restores the VA Waiver so that the retiree receives their full retired pay with VA disability compensation “sitting on top” of retired pay. There are exceptions to this general rule, such as for certain disability retirees who receive CRDP but may still be subject to a VA Waiver.

In total, 68 percent of retirees opted to obtain the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). Assuming the retiree’s spouse or former spouse outlives the retiree, SBP is a purchased annuity that provides a replacement stream of income for the surviving spouse/former spouse once military retired pay stops due to the retiree’s death.

Author Jim Cramp is a retired active duty colonel and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm, PLLC. The firm specializes in Federal Civil Service and Military Divorce matters, as well as other family law matters that affect Federal Civil Service and Military families.

Note: The Statiscal Report on the Military Retirement System, Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2021 is available at https://actuary.defense.gov/.