When applying for military retirement, take plenty of time to assemble the necessary documentation before meeting with your Personnel Support Detachment office, where a counselor can help you fill out the DD 2656 form. This documentation includes your retirement orders, separation data and statement of service, and is provided by your Branch of Service. You should begin to assemble these documents no later than six months before your planned retirement date, as recommended by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
A signed copy of the DD 2656 form (Data for Payment of Retired Personnel) must be submitted before your date of retirement. When you fill out the banking section, be sure that the account information given is still accurate at the time of your retirement so there is no delay in receiving your first payment, as DFAS suggests.
It is also necessary to provide federal income tax withholding information, so determine your allowed exemptions before filling out the form. You may also designate a monthly state tax withholding on the DD 2656 form, but this is voluntary. If you are married or have dependent children, you must provide their information as well. Note that if you are married but declining full coverage of survivor benefits for your spouse, your spouse must also sign the form in the presence of a notary public, explains DFAS.
All statements on the DD 2656 form are made under penalty of perjury, so it is important to fill it out completely and accurately. Do not guess if you are unsure about a piece of information – instead, ask your personnel office how to determine the correct answer. Keep a copy of the form and related documentation for your own records, recommends DFAS.