Today’s post was written by Lt. Col. Wenceslao Angulo, Communications Director, Soldier for Life
Did you know 331,422 Soldiers retired from active-duty service between 2003 and 2014, and that there are more than 933,000 retired Soldiers? A Soldier is a Soldier for Life even in retirement, and is an integral part of the Soldier for Life cycle.
Assisting Soldiers, who have honorably served the Army and the nation, with retirement is the U.S. Army Retirement Services Office (RSO). Since 1955, the RSO’s mission has been to provide retiring and retired Soldiers’ and surviving spouses’ vital information pertaining to available resources and support. As a number of retired Soldiers can attest, retirement is a process and not an event. For this reason, Army leaders encourage Soldiers and their families to start planning theirs one to two years prior to transitioning.
Here are five things you need to know about Army RSO:
1, What is the Army RSO?
The Army RSO develops policy and oversees Army programs worldwide to prepare Soldiers and their families for retirement, assists survivors of Soldiers who die on active duty, and serves retired Soldiers, surviving spouses, and their families until death.
2. Where can Soldiers find information about their Army benefits?
The MyArmyBenefits website is the ‘one-stop shop’ for all benefits-related information. There, Soldiers may access a library of over 150 Federal and State/Territorial Benefits Fact Sheets for Soldiers, veterans and their families, broken down by category, component and life event as well as a resource locator. Also available on this site is a benefit calculator that can be used to estimate retirement, disability, deployment and the Survivor Benefit Plan.
3. Who are Army Retirement Services Officers? The Army has built a worldwide network of RSOs to support Soldiers and families—retiring or retired! RSOs answer pre-retirement questions, inform Soldiers and families about the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), organize Retiree Appreciation Days (RAD), and advise Retiree Councils. Every retiring and retired Soldier and spouse has an RSO, no matter how far they may be from an Army installation, in the United States and overseas. Find a list of locations here.
4. What is Army Echoes? ArmyEchoes is the Army’s official newsletter for informing retired Soldiers, surviving spouses, and their families about changes to their benefits and entitlements, developments within the Army, and how they can continue to support the Army. This publication currently reaches more than one million retired Soldiers and surviving spouses. Echoes is published three times per year: February, June and October. e-Echoes is available via email or on free apps for Android phones, the iPhone and iPad.
5. Is there someone who can answer benefits questions on the phone?
Yes! The MyArmyBenefits Help Desk is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST) at 1-888-721-ARMY (1-888-721-2769).