Typical pay after Army retirement varies by date of military service entry, rank and retirement option. Generally, only soldiers who have served actively for more than 20 years are eligible for retirement benefits.
Soldiers entering military service before September 8, 1980 are eligible for the Final Pay Plan, meaning they receive retirement benefits covering 50 percent of basic pay after 20 years of service plus an additional 2.5 percent for each additional year.
For soldiers entering military service between September 8, 1980 and July 31, 1986, retired pay is 50 percent of the average of the highest 36 months of basic pay after 20 years of service, plus an additional 2.5 percent for each additional year. This is called the High-Three Plan.
Soldiers entering military service on or after August 1, 1986 may choose between the High-Three Plan or the Military Retirement Reform Act plan, which grants retirees a $30,000 Career Status Bonus after 15 years of service with an agreement to complete 20 years of service.