By Sgt. 1st Class John Fries (Army Reserve)February 24, 2015
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - Imagine if you will, working your entire career and the day comes to announce your retirement only to find out that you need to work two more years because you miscalculated your credible years of service. Civilian employees of the 81st Regional Support Command took the next step to ensure this doesn't happen to them.
The 81st RSC hosted a two-day retirement services seminar on Fort Jackson for approximately 150 civilian employees that serve the 81st RSC. Ms. Donna Ford, Administrative Officer for the Department of Human Resources said that DHR plans to hold civilian retirement training every two years.
"A lot of these people are within five years of retirement," said Ford. "I hope that we can broaden the category to give people as much time as possible to plan for retirement, because you should really start plan at age 20, but not everyone does."
The training offered many separate briefings to educate participants on how to successfully prepare for retirement. Representatives from Federal Employee Retirement Services, Tricare, Veterans Affairs, Thrift Savings Plan, Social Security all held briefings and answered individual questions the participants had concerning their own retirement plans.
Joe Collins, who works at Area Maintenance Support Activity (AMSA)-54G in Augusta, Ga., attended the event and talked about the need for getting this type of information out to the workforce.
"There is no one there to tell us how to get our military buy-back information so that's why I'm here. [I wanted to] make sure I did it the right way" said Collins. "When you are in these [AMSA] shops, there is no one there to give you this administrative information. It's not out there, so you gotta come to this retirement seminar to get it."
By the end of the training Collins said that he received all the information he needed and even provided him more than he expected.
Collins said, "Now I know how Social Security plays with the VA disability rating. I was given bad information about that and come to find out it was not true because Social Security and the VA disability are two separate things."
Other classes offered at the event included financial planning, military deposits, military retirement for military technicians and long term care.
Participants also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with Civilian Personnel Advisory Center representatives so they can answer very specific questions that are geared toward their individual situation.
"It's not really a retirement seminar, it's more like a retirement education," said Collins.
For more information about civilian retirement services, log into the Civilian Human Resources Training Application System (CHRTAS) https://www.atrrs.army.mil/channels/chrtas/student or Defense Connect Online (DCO) https://www.abc.army.mil/retdco.htm and register for events at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin or Fort Knox, Kentucky.
The 81st RSC also conducts various military retirement services training throughout the nine-state area of responsibility and Puerto Rico. For information about military retirement contact SFC Lloyd Robertson at Lloyd.firstname.lastname@example.org.