Hartley Law Office, LLC

Hartley Law Office, LLC

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Why would I waive my military retirement pay?

Many members of the military who work at Wright-Patterson Air Force base here in the Dayton area may one day hope to earn retirement pay via their service to the country.

This pension can be very helpful as a career servicemember transitions in to civilian life, and it is also something that many members of the Armed Services take great pride in earning.

However, there are some reasons why a retired member of the military may wish to waive retirement pay.

One can only opt for a waiver under certain circumstances. For instance, if a military member also qualifies for disability or other benefits through the Veterans Administration, she may wish to waive her retirement pay so she claim the benefits. One obvious advantage to this is that VA benefits are oftentimes not taxable as income. Military retirement pay, on the other hand, is taxable.

Likewise, someone who qualifies for a federal pension through the civil service, which would include most people who find federal employment after military retirement, may wish to waive their retirement pay through in order to collect a larger civil pension.

While a number of considerations go in to whether or not a servicemember should consider waiving his benefits, the possibility of a divorce or separation may also factor in to the decision.

Relatively recently, for instance, the United States Supreme Court held that a soldier need not include veterans' disability pay in a property division. Retirement pay ordinarily gets included in Ohio divorces and will be divided according to the laws of this state.

In addition to usual challenges with retirement plans, military pensions can present special issues that a couple must work through or have a judge decide. An experienced attorney can be helpful in this respect.

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