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Gray Area Retirees – Army Reserve and National Guard

How to Stay Connected During the Gray Area

There is a new avenue for Gray Area Retirees to stay connected and informed between the time they stop drilling and the time they start receiving retired pay. It’s a new kind of myPay account especially for Gray Area Retirees.

This basic “Future Retiree” myPay account provides Gray Area Retirees a convenient way to keep their contact information updated with DFAS during the gray area period, so that they can receive important information from DFAS and from Army.

With their current contact information, DFAS can keep them informed about changes in the law or policy that may affect them, send them the Army Echoes Retiree Newsletter and the DFAS Retiree Newsletter, and remind them when the window to apply for retired pay is approaching.

In addition, with current contact information in the new myPay account, when DFAS receives a completed Gray Area Retiree application for retired pay (uploaded from HRC), DFAS will send email status notifications to the retiree: when DFAS receives the application, when DFAS begins working on the application, and when DFAS completes it. 

Important Information for Army National Guard and Army Reserve Gray Area Retirees
  • Note; For Army USAR (Troop Program Unit/TPU) and ARNG (M-Day) Soldiers, the retirement packet will be completed by the individual (retirement is not an automatic process), we recommend working with a USAR/ARNG Retirement Service Officer (RSO) to vet the packet for errors first. The service member then sends the packet to the Army Human Resources Command (AHRC) where it will be received and triaged by the Army Service Center (ASC). The ASC will advise the member via email or postcard (based on delivery method) that the packet was received. The ASC can provide updates to the customer by calling 1-502-613-8950 (until the packet is sent to DFAS). The packet will then be forwarded to the Gray Area Retirements Branch and assigned an Analyst. Once complete, the packet will be forwarded to DFAS for pay processing in which DFAS will track and advise the customer of the status.  For Army Reserve RSO support please go to : Retirement (army.mil), ARNG RSO support please go to: US Army | Soldier For Life and for the retirement packet (HRC-GAR) please go to: Gray Area Retirements Branch (army.mil).
  • Start your retired pay application process early! You can submit your application up to nine months prior to your expected retirement date. You should submit your application at least 90 days before your expected retirement date (your 60th birthday or your reduced age retirement date).
  • Members in the Retired Reserve may use the MyArmyBenefits personalized retirement calculator to develop an estimate of your retired pay based on the information in your Army personnel record. You must have a Defense Self-Serve (DS) Logon or CAC to use the calculator. You can create a DS Logon account by going to https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/identitymanagement/authenticate.do?execution=e1s1 and selecting “need an account” in the lower left of the screen. You may need to update your personnel records to receive retirement credit in your calculation for all time served. Visit: https://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil.
  • An Army National Guard or Army Reserve member is generally not eligible to start receiving retired pay until they reach age 60. However, for any member of the Ready Reserve who was recalled to active duty (AD) or, in response to a national emergency, was called to active duty after January 28, 2008 (AD performed under section 688, 12301(a), 12302, 12304, 12304(b), 12305, 12406, and chapter 15  (insurrection), or under section 12301(d) of Title 10 USC, the age 60 requirement is reduced by three months for each cumulative period of 90 days in any fiscal year after that date. The 2015 NDAA authorizes 90-day periods to cross over fiscal year boundaries after 30 September 2014. It is not retroactive.
  • Army National Guard Soldiers may be entitled to a reduced age retirement when they are under a call to active service by a governor and authorized by the President or the Secretary of Defense under section 502(f) or 115 and 502(f) of Title 32 USC for purposes of responding to either a national emergency declared by the President or a national emergency supported by Federal funds. National Guard personnel must check with their respective states to verify which orders are eligible for the reduced age retirement.
  • Active Guard Reserve (AGR) duty under section 12310 of Title 10 USC will not be included as service on active duty for determining eligibility for reduced age retired pay for non-regular service.
  • The earliest age that a Gray Area Retired Soldier can start receiving retired pay is age 50.

Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers - If you have questions about your entitlement to retired pay, or if you are approaching your date to apply for retired pay:
Army Reserve: contact your Readiness Division RSO (RD) or Mission Support Command (MSC) Retirement Services Officer (RSO).
Army National Guard Soldiers: contact your state RSO.
USAR and ARNG RSOs are listed at https://soldierforlife.army.mil/Retirement/rso.

If you contact your RSO and they are unavailable, contact the US Army Human Resources Command Gray Area Retirements Branch. HRC GAR Branch can be reached at usarmy.knox.hrc.mbx.tagd-ask-hrc@mail.mil or call the Army Service Center at 1-888-ARMYHRC (276-9472).
If you are past age 60 (or your age to apply for retired pay, if earlier), apply to the US Army Human Resources Command Gray Area Retirements Branch: HRC GARB can be reached at usarmy.knox.hrc.mbx.tagd-ask-hrc@mail.mil or by calling the Army Service Center at 1-888-ARMYHRC (276-9472). The application and submission information can be found on the HRC GAR Branch page at https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Gray%20Area%20Retirements%20Branch.
Who Are Gray Area Retirees?
Gray Area Retirees are members who served in the Guard or Reserve, are qualified for retired pay, and have retired from their service (stopped drilling) but are not yet at the age where they can start receiving retired pay. The time between their retirement from the service and the date when they are eligible to begin receiving retired pay is the “gray area.” The “gray area” applies even if the member is in the Retired Reserve.

A Guard or Reserve member is generally not eligible to start receiving retired pay until they reach age 60. However, some periods of active duty or active service can reduce the age requirement below 60 years of age (Reduced Age Retirement). Please consult the Army specific information to learn more about the applicable periods of active duty or active service. The earliest age that a Gray Area Retiree can start receiving reduced age retired pay is age 50.


Page updated Sept 13, 2023

Get Connected

Find out how
to log in to your new myPay account.

We have a helpful downloadable Gray Area Future Retiree myPay Login Tips PDF with specific instructions on our new Gray Area Retirees webpage at: https://www.dfas.mil/grayarea