News | June 21, 2019

Navigating the retirement application process

By Air Reserve Personnel Center Public Affairs

Retiring from the Air Force Reserve is a significant, emotional event, filled with anticipation and uncertainty. Because Airmen only retire once in their lifetime, they have no past experience to serve as a resource, and typically learn what is required as they go through the process. 

There are basic foundational requirements that must be met before beginning this process, therefore, it is important for Airmen to ask themselves a few questions.  First, do I have a 20-year verification letter confirming I am eligible to apply for retirement pay? Second, did I serve on a deployment for 90 days or more or serve in a capacity that allows me to apply for a reduced retirement pay age? Finally, what is needed to apply for retirement pay?

When Airmen have answered these questions they will be better prepared to navigate the application process.

HQ ARPC has developed two web-based applications located within the Virtual Personnel Center (vPC) that simplifies the process for retirees applying for retired pay; whether at age 60 or a reduced retirement pay age, if eligible. Eligibility for a reduced retired pay age is dependent on qualifying periods of service. 

The RRPA application, within vPC, automatically screens service data for qualifying and non-qualifying periods of service.  It then displays the available data and allows retirees to review for accuracy.  If the data is inaccurate, it allows for submission of relevant documentation in order to correct inaccuracies contained in the record that effect the eligibility date of pay. No longer do retirees have to submit every set of orders for a deployment or extended tour qualifying for a reduced retirement pay age.

HQ ARPC introduced the retirement pay application in April to streamline the process for applicants. Now retirees are able to submit the required DD Form 2656, via the web, as the application navigates the retiree through the process; reducing errors and preventing incomplete submissions.

The retirement application process culminates when the member receives a retirement order which allows them to apply for healthcare benefits under Tricare. The retirement order is simultaneously sent to DFAS to establish a pay account for disbursement upon the retiree effective pay date.

HQ ARPC strives to provide exceptional service at all stages of the Airman Lifecycle. For more information and instructional videos on the retirement process visit and send your feedback to