(NavySeal.com Staff) As soon as a Navy SEAL joins the US Navy, they begin building toward their Navy SEALs retirement. Like other military service members, Navy SEALs receive a generous retirement compensation, provided they have 20 years of service under their belt and receive an honorable discharge.
Many SEALs opt to serve for a longer time – many as long as 30 years – to increase their monthly income. The longer you stay in, the more retirement pay you’ll receive. SEALs often receive a higher monthly disbursement amount because of their E-7 income level when they leave the Navy.
What Benefits Come with Navy SEAL Retirement Pay?
Your retirement pay itself is easy to estimate. Just choose the plan you’re under on the US military’s retirement calculator page to plug in your data and get a good idea of what you can expect.
If you’ve invested in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), you’ll receive your earnings from that plan on top of what you make in retirement pay. If you joined the Navy on or after January 1, 2018, or if you opted into the Blended Retirement System (BRS), the US government will contribute one percent of your basic pay to the TSP without contributions on your part.
In addition, retired SEALs can take advantage of health benefits from the Veterans’ Affairs healthcare system or Tricare, if you choose to pay a low annual fee. After you turn 65, Tricare recipients are eligible for Tricare for Life, provided you’ve signed up for Medicare Parts A and B.
If you want to embark on a new career after you retire from the SEALs but need more training, the GI Bill will pay your tuition and fees while you study. And, if you live or travel near a military base after retirement, you have lifetime on-base shopping privileges.
How Navy SEAL Retirement Pay Works
In the US Navy – or any branch of the military – a service member’s pay before retirement determines their monthly income at retirement. As of 2020, the average annual base pay for a Navy SEAL is $75,448. Generally, since SEALs are on special operations teams, they receive a higher salary when they retire because they have more skills, specialized training, and exclusive assignments, many in hazardous situations.
Navy SEAL Retirement Pay Plans
The retirement plan that a SEAL is eligible for depends on their enlistment date and eligible years of service.
Final Pay: SEALs eligible for Final Pay must have enlisted before September 7, 1980. Final Pay is a method of computing your final basic pay by multiplying your final monthly base pay by 2.5 percent for each year of your service. Your payments will receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) but no additional bonus.
High-36 Pay: Retirees who enlisted after September 8, 1980, and before August 1, 1986 are eligible for High-36 if they did not elect to have the Career Status Bonus or the REDUX retirement plan. The benefits are calculated by determining the average of three years of service base pay times 2.5 percent. This pay plan includes COLA adjustments annually but no additional bonus.
CSB/REDUX: Retirees are eligible to receive the Career Status Bonus (CSB) if they enlisted on or after August 1, 1986 to December 31, 2017. At 62, your Navy SEAL retirement benefits are adjusted to match the High-36 plan, and the multiplier is increased to match the High-36 plan, and COLA continues at one percent. Retirees receive a $30,000 bonus at their 15th year of service with an agreement to serve for 20 years.
Blended Retirement System (BRS): If you joined the Navy after January 1, 2018, you will be eligible for the BRS. Like the CSB/REDUX system, the BRS provides you with 40 percent of your base pay after 20 years of Naval service. At 12 years, you’ll receive a bonus of 2.5 percent of your annual base pay. Under this system, the government will contribute one percent of your base pay to your TSP, and the system will automatically contribute three percent of your own base pay to the TSP. You can choose to stop your contributions, raise them, or lower them. After you’ve been in the SEALs for two years, the government will match up to five percent of your contribution. When you retire from the SEALs, you can opt for a lump-sum payment or get your full retirement pay. If you choose to take the lump-sum payment, you’ll receive a reduced retirement check every month until you reach age 67.
Disability Pay: Disability pay is calculated differently than active duty retirement. If you are medically determined unfit to continue your service with a Department of Defense rating of 30 percent, you are eligible for disability pay. The retirement plan is either a Final Pay plan or a High-36. The benefit is calculated by using the 2.5 percent multiplier for each year of service or the percentage of disability. Retirees receive an annual COLA adjustment, but no readjustments in pay or additional bonuses are included.
Whatever retirement plan you’re eligible for, it’s a sweet deal either way. Let’s say you enlisted at age 21. That means that you could retire from the Navy SEALs at age 41 with a monthly paycheck, an excellent set of skills that position you as a leader in any field, and the chance to better your skills with more education.
As a SEAL, your retirement pay might be under the same regulations as those of your fellow service members. One essential difference, though. You’ll retire after receiving the exclusive chance of a lifetime – serving alongside an elite team of heroes.