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NEWS | May 20, 2024

VaARNG retirement briefing provides valuable information, resources

By A.J. Coyne | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

More than 30 Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers and their spouses attended a retirement briefing hosted by the VaARNG Retirement Services Office May 4, 2024, at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

“This is your retirement, and our end goal here today is to try to help you make an informed decision about your retirement,” said Tanisha Roberts, VaARNG retirement services officer.

In addition to representatives from the VaARNG G1 office, Reserve Component Transition Assistance Advisors and personnel from Virginia Department of Veterans Services, TRICARE and Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve provided information and assistance to the future retirees.

Jason Noyce and Natasha Miller, Reserve Component Transition Assistance Advisors for Virginia, introduced themselves and explained how they are available to assist personnel transitioning from the military. The purpose of the Reserve Component Transition Assistance Advisor program is to provide at least one person in each state or territory to serve as the statewide point of contact to assist Reserve Component Service Members, their Families, and Veterans in accessing local, state, and federal benefits and healthcare services. Each RCTAA assists in obtaining entitlements through the Veterans Affairs System and access to community resources.

Lori Sumner, a representative from Humana Military, then spoke to the Soldiers and their spouses about their TRICARE eligibility following retirement from military service.

George Parker, a Veterans Service Representative with the Virginia Department of Veterans Services, provided an overview of all the services and resources available through DVS. The Virginia DVS has 35 benefit service offices throughout the state and advocates for Virginia veterans and connects them to benefits and services they have earned during their service.

Personnel from the VaARNG G1 then presented information on education benefits and interpretating their individual Retirement Points Account Management forms, which indicates the number of points they have earned over during their years of service.   

“It is essential traditional Army National Guard Soldiers review their Retirement Points Statement annually, because it will have an effect on their eventual retired pay,” Roberts explained.

Roberts also encouraged Soldiers to the Survivor Benefit Plan program.

“The SBP program was established to give retiring Soldiers a way to provide a portion of their retired pay to their eligible survivors should they pass away,” Roberts said. “It is imperative when the Soldier received their 20- year letters, that they make their Reserve Component Survival Benefit Election within the allotted 90- day suspense.”

Col. Beau Mason, Virginia National Guard deputy chief of staff for personnel, thanked the Soldiers and their spouses for their service and encouraged them to take advantage of all the resources available to them as they prepare for retirement.

Mason encouraged Soldiers who are planning to retire to submit their paperwork at least six months out so they can be properly recognized.

“You have given over 20 years of service,” he told them. “We want to recognize you. Give my team time to work a packet for you so we can give you what you’ve earned.”

Traditional Soldiers are required to attend at least one retirement briefing between after they have completed 18 years of creditable service,” Roberts explained, and encouraged Soldiers to start preplanning once they are considering retiring.

“Preplanning gives your unit an opportunity to recognize you,” she explained. “They will reach out to us to produce your retirement certificate and anything else you’re entitled to. Preplanning also gives them an opportunity to present you an award for all your hard work.

“You’re entitled to a lot after 20 years of service,” Roberts said. “We want to make sure we recognize you for your service.”

“We want to make sure you’re taken care of,” Mason told the Soldiers in attendance. “But we have more than 6,800 Soldiers in the VaARNG. It takes us time. Give us some time and we’ll make sure you’re taken care of.”

Mason also recognized Roberts for her work on the briefing.

“Tanisha has taken this presentation, put it together, worked at the national level and pulled it all together for you,” he said. “Thank you for all your work.”

Roberts thanked the organizations inside and outside the Virginia Army National Guard for their support.

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