20 Benefits U.S. Military Get When They Retire

After years of service, United States military men and women have a nice retirement to enjoy. On top of various pension plans, retired service members can benefit from home loans, career counseling, and education benefits, too.

That’s just the start! Keep reading and learn what military members can look forward to for serving their country.

State Specific Benefits

Depending on which state a former active duty member lives in, they might be eligible for various state-specific benefits.

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Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images
Nik Wheeler/Corbis via Getty Images

In the state of California, for example, military retirees are eligible for property tax exemption. At the same time, those in New York have access to a program called Homes for Heroes as well as spousal unemployment.

Home Loans

The VA home loan benefit is widely considered one of the most useful for military retirees. If a person qualifies, they can refinance an existing mortgage and even purchase or build a home. The best part is there is no down payment, unlike conventional loans.

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Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Some of the VA loans include purchase loans, an interest rate reduction refinance loan, a cash-out loan, an energy-efficient mortgage, and a rehab and renovation loan.

Career Counseling

An amazing benefit offered to military retirees is free career counseling. These specific benefit helps retirees reintegrate into civilian life by discussing the options available to them, including which career path they would like to follow(or if they’d like to go to school).

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Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Some of the services available are career choices based on personal interest, personalized support, and benefits coaching to help achieve goals.

Educational Benefits

There are numerous educational benefits for military retirees, including tuition assistance, licensing and certification reimbursement, and vocational and technical training for non-college degree programs.

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Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images

When it comes to the educational benefits for retirees, there is a little something for everyone, no matter what type of program a person wishes to pursue.

Medal Of Honor Pension

For servicemen and women who are awarded a Medal of Honor, the most prestigious military decoration, are eligible for a monthly pension after they retire, a sum that is not based on income or need.

Obama Awards 24 Medals Of Honor For Valor During WWII, Korean And Vietnam Wars
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As of 2022, the Medal of Honor pension passed by congress was set at a monthly sum of $1,489.73. There are other pensions, too, including a retiree’s pension and a survivor’s pension.

Readjustment Counseling

VA outreach and readjustment counseling is offered in all 50 states in 300 community-based Veteran Centers. These services act as a middle ground to help service members smoothly transition from active duty to normal civilian life.

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RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images
RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images

These centers offer group, individual, and even family counseling and other services such as psycho-social.

Discounts

Being a military retiree offers a whole lot of discounts at numerous locations. A few of these locations even offer retirees freebies along with their discounts and deals.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Some featured discount locations include Advance Auto Parts, Dell, Southern New Hampshire University, Exchange, JcPenny, Wellness Junction, and a whole lot more.

Free Legal Counsel

As active duty members, military personnel probably get used to the free legal counsel as part of their benefits package. Well, retirees don’t have to worry about losing out on the benefit, as it is part of their retirement package.

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Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

From family legal assistance to getting documents notarized, military retirees get to enjoy the service free of charge.

Medical Benefits

Just because of person leaves active duty doesn’t mean their medical benefits go away. In fact, military retirees are eligible for multiple medical treatments, including blindness rehabilitation, post-traumatic stress counseling, traumatic brain injury, and more.

Veterans Day Parade Held In New York City
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

These programs are offered to retirees on a “needed” basis to help preserve, promote, and restore health.

Veterans Pension

A veterans pension is a specific pension for retirees with a few stipulations. To receive this monthly stipend, the military retiree must have served at least one day during a war period. They also must be earning a pretty low income.

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Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

According to Military.com, the retiree also must be “65 years or older, or permanently and totally disabled, or in a nursing home, or receiving social security disability, or receiving supplemental security income,” according to Military.com.

Tricare

Military retirees don’t have to worry about health care programs. They’re all eligible for Tricare, including their families. Tricare offers numerous packages for members, including an HMO plan, a PPO plan, or TriCare for Life.

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Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The latter is a plan that covers retirees and their spouses over the age of 65.

Service-Related Disability Compensation

United States military personnel retiring from service might be eligible for service-related disability compensation. This means the man or woman sustained an injury while serving in the armed forces.

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FEDERICO SCOPPA/AFP via Getty Images
FEDERICO SCOPPA/AFP via Getty Images

With an honorable discharge, retirees can be eligible for tax-free VA disability compensation ranging from $133 to over $3,400 a month.

Veterans Preference Program At The Federal Level

Retirees don’t have to worry about their resumes being lost amongst other applicants when applying to federal jobs.

New York City Veteran's Day parade
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The Veterans Preference Program ensures retirees are put to the top of any federally-designated job listing, giving former military personnel a bit of an edge over the rest of the civilian competition!

Commissary Benefits

Military retirees are eligible for commissary benefits. The Defense Commissary Agency operates these commissaries around the world and, as long as a retiree has their military ID card, they are eligible to utilize the facilities.

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Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

These facilities include grocery stores holding food and household products at a cost plus a five percent surcharge.

Military ID Card

In order to participate in the many benefits of a military retiree, first, they get a military ID card. This card allows people to enroll in various programs, such as Tricare, education benefits, legal assistance, MWR activities, and more.

Atmosphere during New York 99th annual Veterans Day Parade...
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Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Department of Defense issues out these ID cards to all eligible personnel.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement and investment plan sponsored by the federal government to help retirees after they leave active duty.

US Air Force General Ellen Pawlikowski speaks at ceremony...
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The TSP is a combined contribution plan, meaning the income a retiree will receive is based on how much they contributed to their TSP throughout the years.

Exchange Benefits

Military retirees are eligible to use any exchange facility around the world as long as they show a proper military ID card. These facilities include department stores, liquor stores, gas stations, food courts, and convenience stores.

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Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images
Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

The best part about all of the exchange facilities is that they are tax-free!

MWR Benefits

Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) benefits are an amazing opportunity for military retirees to utilize various sports facilities. These facilities include pools, golf courses, bowling centers, and recreation clubs.

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JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

They even supply non-sporting facilities such as libraries and youth centers. Both retirees, their dependents, and their spouses are able to utilize MWR benefits.

The Presidential Memorial Certificate

For military retirees families, they are eligible for The Presidential Memorial Certificate. This is an engraved piece of parchment, thanking the retiree for their year of service to the country. It also includes the signature of the President of the United States.

American Flags Planted On National Mall To Honor Service Members Who Committed Suicide
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Win McNamee/Getty Images

There is an application process for the certificate, and only those who were honorably discharged are eligible.

Get Support For Your Veteran-Owned Small Business

Retirees who own a small business might be eligible for resources and support through the Vets First Verification Program.

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Unsplash/Jonathan Borba
Unsplash/Jonathan Borba

According to va.gov, there are many advantages to this program, including “priority when you bid on contracts for other federal or state government agencies, tax relief, better access to capital, and extra support if your startup or small business is poised for high growth and innovation.”