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Your 2021 Guide to Military Benefits

Military service members and veterans have seen major changes to their pay and benefits over the past year. A new retirement benefit, revised rules for Tricare health insurance and changes to GI Bill rules can have a far-reaching impact on the lives and livelihoods of military families around the world.

For the most part, it’s good news. Basic pay is once again rising at the same rate as private-sector wages after several years of tight Pentagon budgets resulted in service members losing some ground compared to their civilian counterparts. The new retirement benefit, which includes cash contributions to a Thrift Savings Account, is a major boost for the vast majority of the force that serves for six or eight or ten years but never reaches the 20-year mark to become eligible for a lifelong pension.

Yet revisions to health care coverage and the GI bill education benefits are more complex, and may impact individual service members, veterans and their families in different ways.

Maximizing the options available to you is essential to making the most out of your military career. These are generous benefits. You’ve earned them. Getting smart about what has changed and what hasn’t is worth your time.

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