ISS3 2012

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 41 of 51

The Importance of Understanding Your Point Statement Story by Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Murphy, USCGR When you're eligible to retire from the Coast Guard, how much pay will you have earned? Did you know the more points you accumulate, the bigger your paycheck will be? This is why confirming the information on your Reserve Retirement Points Statement is so important. I discovered that my Reserve Retirement Points Statement had multiple problems more than 10 years into my career. I had an incorrect anniversary date, five years of active duty time and correspondence courses weren't converted to valuable retirement points. For years, I only looked at my points statements a few times just to review the drill dates that I performed. Thanks to the yeoman at my unit and Personnel Service Command (PSC), I was able to resolve the discrepancies and learn some key points along the way. 1. CHECK YOUR RESERVE RETIREMENT POINTS STATEMENT OFTEN. "Your Reserve Retirement Points Statement is the most important and valuable tool availableǡdz said urt emphillǡ Reserve Administrative Officer at the Gulf Strike Team. "It's not uncommon for a retirement to be delayed due to deviations on the member's points statement," Hemphill added. In fact, according to Charlie Bartocci, YNCM, USCG (Ret.) and a member of the Procedures and Development Branch staff at the Pay & Personnel Command (PPC), reports that a number of those attending the Reserve Workshops have an incorrect point statement. He estimates that nearly 40 percent of Coast Guard reservists are affected by incorrect points statements. As of June 2012, PPC is no longer mailing your Reserve Retirement Points Statement to your home. The document is available via Direct Access (Self Service>Employee> View>Reserve Points). It is paramount that you review your statement at least annually. Ideally, review it monthly to ensure recent activity, such as drills and correspondence courses, are recorded properly. 2. KNOW YOUR ANNIVERSARY DATE. As a reservist, you must understand the difference between anniversary year, calendar year, and fiscal year. We operate within the anniversary year and fiscal year for retirement points, retirement-qualifying years, and the funding of drill and active duty time. Your anniversary year is based on the date you entered military service, known as your anniversary date. For example, if you entered the Coast Guard Reserve on 01 June that becomes your anniversary date therefore your anniversary year is 01 June to 31 May. However, if you transitioned to the reserves from active duty and did not have a break in service (one day you were active duty, the next day you were a reservist) then your anniversary date defaults to your active duty entry date. For Coast Guard Academy graduates, this defaults to your graduation date. However, if you incurred a break in service, where you were discharged then re- enlisted at a later time, your anniversary date will be your new re-enlistment date. Bartocci says the anniversary date is one of the most common problems with Reserve Retirement Points Statement. Your anniversary date is a vital piece of information because it is the basis for ensuring you have a retirement-qualifying year, more commonly referred to as a Ǯgoodǯ yearǤ he 50 points you need for a Ǯgoodǯ year must be within your anniversary yearǡ whereas the 4ͺ nactive uty raining ȋ 40 RESERVIST ᕇ *TTVF t Ȍ drills and 1ʹ days of ctive Duty for Training (ADT) you are authorized is based on the fiscal year from 01 October to 30 September for funding reasons. etirement eligibility requires ʹ0 Ǯgoodǯ yearsǤ 3. EARN ADDITIONAL RETIREMENT POINTS. Retirement pay for a reservist is based on a mathematical formula that includes the Reserve Retirement Points you have earned each anniversary year. Simply put, the more points you earn the more your retirement paycheck will beǤ hapter ͺǡ ection of the eserve olicy anual ȋ 1001Ǥʹͺ Ȍ details retirement points and the retirement pay formula. There are a variety of ways to earn points, including performing IDT, ADT, active duty time and membership as a Selected Reservist. But you can also earn retirement points for successfully completing correspondence courses. ALCOAST 556/09 encourages reserve members to "continue to seek growth opportunities through distance learning …to prepare members to meet mobilization requirement today and add cash value to future retirement." The message also addresses the increase of inactive duty points (membership, IDT and correspondence course points) to a maximum of 130 per anniversary year. This enables you to earn 67 extra retirement points (55 points for Deployable Specialized Forces units) every year for completing courses on your own time. Points are automatically converted for Coast Guard courses, similar to rate-specific End of Course Tests. Additionally, more than 2,200 retirement points are assigned to a list of approved non-Coast Guard correspondence courses. This list is available at httpǣȀȀwwwǤuscgǤmilȀreserveȀretirementǤaspǤ eep in mindǡ you cannot earn credit for courses completed while on active duty (ADT, ADOS, etc.) and each course will only be credited one time. After successfully completing the non-Coast Guard correspondence course, submit your certificate to your yeoman or PSC for entry into Direct Access. It is important to periodically check Direct Access (Self Service> Employee>View>Member info Addition>Training History tab) to ensure all correspondence courses have been added to the system. Then, check if it converted to retirement points (Self Service> Employee>View>Reserve Points). Again, the more points you can earn now will equal more retirement money later. The anniversary date and correspondence courses are just two of the areas on the Reserve Retirement Points Statement that could be incorrect. Bartocci said that the pay entry base date is also another common problem. Your local yeoman or the PPC Customer Care staff can help resolve a variety of reserve administrative issues, including problems with your Reserve Retirement Points Statement. PPC Customer Care is staffed on selected weekends to assist drilling reservists ȋ1Ǧͺ00Ǧ77ʹǦͺ7ʹ4 or ppcǦdgǦcustomercare̷ For my situation, it took the better part of three years to correct my retirement points and anniversary date. In the years since, I've regularly checked my retirement points in Direct Access and have followed my completed correspondence courses until I see the conversion to retirement points. Sometimes this can take months to appear. Don't wait until you are preparing for retirement, review your Reserve Retirement Points Statement now, and do it often, to ensure you get credit for every retirement point you have earned.

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