Written by Chief Petty Officer Timothy Hoagland, Blended Retirement Integrated Project Team member
After months of preparation, the Blended Retirement System (BRS) Opt-In Period is about to make its year-long debut! Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, over 30,000 active duty and Reserve members will have the choice to opt-in to the BRS. Prior to choosing to opt-in in Direct Access, eligible members should complete the BRS Opt-in course (available on Joint Knowledge Online) and then self-certify their completion in the Coast Guard’s Learning Management System.
After completing the Opt-in course and consulting other resources such as the BRS Comparison Calculator, follow the steps below to opt-in to the BRS. Keep in mind that the decision to opt-in to the BRS is irrevocable, meaning it cannot be changed, once made. While the Coast Guard has no preference in member retirement system elections, it is vitally important for individuals to make the decision that is right for them and their families.
Note: The “My BRS Elections” page will not be visible in Direct Access until Jan. 1, 2018.
How to Opt-In to the BRS:
1) Login to Direct Access.
2) Click on “Employee Tasks.”
3) Click on “My BRS Elections.”
4) Read and answer all three questions using the “yes / no” drop-down boxes. You must answer “yes” to all three questions for your opt-in enrollment to proceed.
5) Once all questions are answered, click “Submit.”
6) You will be sent to a confirmation screen. Click “Ok.”
7) PPC will verify your eligibility to opt-in and send you an email confirming your enrollment in the BRS.
For members opting-in to the BRS, government automatic and matching contributions will begin the pay period after opting-in to the BRS, which may not be your next paycheck. Because military pay periods are monthly, if a member elects the BRS on Jan. 1, 2018, the enrollee can expect to see Government automatic and matching contributions to reflect on their mid-month Leave and Earnings Statement in February 2018 (the next pay period).
Even though the Opt-In Period covers all of calendar year 2018, if the BRS is the right retirement system for you, consider opting in sooner rather than later to take full advantage of the government automatic and matching contributions. A member who decides to enroll in the BRS in July rather than January would miss up to six months of government-matching contributions.
If you desire to remain in the legacy “High-3” retirement system, you do not have to take any action in Direct Access or elsewhere. No opt-in eligible members will be automatically moved to the BRS unless they physically opt-in via Direct Access (instructions above).