Service members who enter the military on or after January 1, 2018 will be enrolled in the Blended Retirement System. Visit the following website to learn more: http://militarypay.defense.gov/BlendedRetirement/
The federal Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) allows participants to place a portion of their monthly pay into an account similar to a 401(k) investment plan. The contributions are considered pretax dollars and therefore reduce the amount of income subject to tax, and the accounts grow tax-free. Enrollment is available when members first join the military and anytime thereafter. Unlike traditional military retirement, which requires a commitment of at least 20 years of active duty, money invested in the TSP belongs to individual members, no matter how many years they serve. Income contributed to the TSP is not taxed until withdrawn from the account. Withdrawal before age 59-1/2 may be subject to penalty; however, the TSP account can be rolled over into an IRA or another employer's retirement account.
What about vacation time and sick leave?
Active-duty members of the Air Force earn 30 days of leave (vacation) each year. Members of each performing ensemble (with the exception of the Ceremonial Brass) take their leave at the same time during a "blanket leave" period. Requests for leave outside of the blanket leave period are considered on a case-by-case basis and may be approved depending on the performing/rehearsal schedule and mission needs of each ensemble. Special consideration is given to emergency situations and significant family events.
Members are not charged leave for sick days, and with doctor authorization, will receive as many as necessary to return to full health.
Are benefits available for continuing education?
Yes! The Air Force encourages its members to seek continued development in their area of expertise. The Air Force Band sets aside limited funds for private lessons and for participation in professional workshops and conferences. The Air Force also offers 100% tuition reimbursement (up to $250 per semester hour, not to exceed $4,500 annually) for those working on an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree. There are many excellent schools in the Washington, D.C., area.
Post-9/11 GI Bill
Post-9/11 GI Bill offers increased education benefits to veterans who served on or after 11 Sep 01. Benefits are based on aggregate, honorable service, and include college tuition (up to a certain amount), a monthly housing stipend and an annual books/supplies stipend. Active duty and distance learning students may receive a pro-rated benefit. Eligible active duty service members and Selected Reserve may chose to transfer benefits to DEERS-registered dependents, but stipulations apply and require eligibility determination by Service component.
Everyone with at least 90 aggregate, active duty days of honorable service on or after 11 Sep 01 is eligible for benefits under the new GI Bill. For full benefits, a member must have served at least 36 months active duty on or after 11 Sep 01. Reserve and National Guard members with 3 years of aggregate, active duty service on or after 11 Sep 01 can also qualify for full GI Bill benefits. Eligibility stipulations and benefit details are available at base education offices and at http://www.gibill.va.gov.
Can I shop at the base commissary and exchange?
Members and their families are permitted to shop at military commissaries (grocery stores), base exchanges (department stores) and service stations. These facilities offer tax-free shopping and a savings of about 30% over similar off-base stores. Additionally, recreational facilities and skills shops are available at a significant cost savings. These facilities can be found at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling and other military installations in the Washington, D.C., area.
What other benefits are there for my family?
Twelve military family support centers in the greater Washington area provide job-search, volunteer and educational assistance to military family members. Some of the services provided are career counseling, interview techniques training, assistance with resume preparation and access to job banks and Department of Defense job listings. Free informational assistance for house hunting and understanding the local real estate market is also available for military families.
The Judge Advocate General's office (a law office) on Joint Base Anacostia Bolling offers free legal assistance to members and their families, including preparing wills and powers of attorney, reviewing legal documents such as lease agreements and providing notary service.
3: Audition Procedures
4: Joining the Air Force
5: Professional Life