Quick Tools

Forms Library

Customer Service

M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET

How to Apply: The Retirement Process

Once you have identified your target separation date, your retirement process should include:

  1. The pre-retirement package
  2. Assembling necessary documents
  3. Submitting your Form DD 2656
  4. Reviewing your retirement pay myPay account
The Pre-Retirement Package

One year prior to your retirement date, you will receive a pre-retirement package from your Branch of Service to help you prepare for retirement.

At this time, you should attend any briefings offered by your command concerning the retirement system. The decisions you make at the time of retirement affect the amounts of your benefits and of your survivor's benefits. Some decisions cannot be changed, so careful consideration of all options is crucial.

Assembling Your Documents

You should begin to assemble your documents no later than six months in advance of your target separation date.

Below are the key documents needed to confirm your eligibility and compute your retirement benefit.

  • Retirement Orders
  • Separation Data
  • Statement of Service
  • High Average Base Amount

Your Branch of Service will provide all these documents to DFAS. You should be familiar with the information they contain.

Submitting your Form DD 2656

When all your documentation is assembled, it will be time for you to meet with your Personnel Support Detachment (PSD) office. They will provide you with a copy of the Data for Payment of Retired Personnel Form (available on our Forms Library webpage) and offer you assistance in filling it out.

Form DD 2656 is the most important document you will complete in preparing for your retirement. As you fill it out, you will make decisions that will determine:

  • How you receive your pay
  • Beneficiaries for any pay owed you at the time of your death
  • Federal and State Withholding Tax Information
  • Election of Survivor Benefit Coverage

In addition, you will have the opportunity to discuss topics such as:

  • Leave Time: Selling it back or getting paid
  • Allotments: Determining which ones will carry over and which ones you must restart

Please prepare for this meeting carefully.  It's important to understand the implications of the decisions you make when applying. Some of them will be hard to change after retirement.

Once you have completed Form DD 2656, your Branch of Service will submit it with all supporting documentation to DFAS Retired and Annuitant (R&A) Pay.

Your First Retirement Payment

Please see the How Long Does It Take page for current processing times. 

Note: To prevent delays in processing, ensure that handwritten information is legible and banking information will reflect the bank in use upon retirement.

When you receive your first payment, it will be time to review your Retirement myPay account.


Related Links:

How Long Does It Take?
Receiving Your Pay: Direct and International Direct Deposit
Designating an Arrears of Pay Beneficiary
Making SBP Elections
Transferring Allotments from Active Duty to Retired Pay

Page Updated Jun 26 2024