Implementation of the Blended Retirement System (BRS) on Jan. 1, 2018, represents the largest change to Uniformed Services’ compensation in seven decades. Preparations to accommodate the modernized retirement system have been underway for the past 18 months to ready the Coast Guard and its members for the new retirement system. Beginning in January, 30,000 active and Reserve members will have the option to enroll in the BRS using a self-service page in Direct Access, which will be available to accept elections starting January 1.
Choosing a retirement system is a consequential decision, and the approach to that choice should be no different than the extensive preparations members undertake in executing the Coast Guard’s missions. BRS-eligible members are required to complete the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) Opt-in course and self-certify completion in the Coast Guard’s Learning Management System. The JKO training coupled with the BRS comparison calculator work cooperatively to help members assess their retirement system options.
However, engaged leadership at all levels is crucial in preparing our members and their families for this significant change. As members of the Coast Guard family, the Coast Guard Auxiliary has members uniquely trained to assist commands in educating their members about the BRS. The Coast Guard BRS website provides details for capitalizing on BRS education provided by the Coast Guard Auxiliary as well as qualified financial organizations. While the Coast Guard has no preference in member retirement system elections, it is vitally important for individuals to make the decision that’s right for them and their families.