Army Reserve Initial Obligation & Incentives

  1. Hello, nurses.

    I've just started following this forum and felt the need to log in and ask clarification with army reserve direct commissioning. I'm loving the military threads. If the other services's procedures extrapolate to my army RC question, please chime in as well.

    In my situation, I've been given an incentive and obligation sheet to select from and sign. All of my other paperwork is in. It's really a matter of picking my initial obligation although I realize it's up to "the board" to convene and select me. That hasn't happened yet which makes me think this is premature. Maybe it's not, but it wasn't part of my recruitment process many years ago. (No, I've never been in the military before. I had to pull out of that previous process due to life obligations.)

    There's now a 2 (+6) year obligation for direct commissioning, apparently. The 3 & 4 obs still exist. What remains uncertain is the associated incentives.

    I have less student loans remaining than the student loan repayment option so that seems like a good way to go, but it's uncertain how the $60,000 is paid out, and apparently my state doesn't tax this so that's cool. Also, I was quoted a commissioning bonus, but how that's paid out is a bit nebulous, e.g. is it total bonus paid out in increments over obligation OR bonus payment every year of obligation. Clearly, if I have the option I want to select the largest $ value.

    Should my recruiter know by now what my appointment rank will be, ie captain (O3) with six years experience (maybe 5 as one year was all admin and never heard back on that)?

    My initial interest was 3 years as an initial obligation although 2 seems more comfortable psychologically, lol. I've put this process off for several years, but I'm leaving a rather cush group practice that's closing and going to work next week for the U.S. Government in a non-military position, and this department is rather happy to have its employees also be drilling reservists so the time to proceed is now. Carpe diem!

    At this point in life, I'm more excited about being an officer in the army than being a nurse in the army although I realize the dichotomy.

    Thanks, AN.
  2. Visit InquisitiveAPN profile page

    About InquisitiveAPN

    Joined: Aug '18; Posts: 91; Likes: 41

    19 Comments

  3. by   Pixie.RN
    6 years of experience doesn't equal O-3. 6 years of experience is only equal to 3 years of credit, and it takes more than 3 years to make O-3. For 2LT to 1LT it's 18 months if you were to commission with zero experience, so you'll definitely promote faster, but I don't imagine you'll start as a CPT. I believe you'll need to spend 2 years as a 1LT before you can make CPT, but I've been out since 2015 and the timing does change. Plus I was active duty, which is a different animal than reserves, so you might have to take all this with a grain of salt.

    I always felt kind of bad for people who straight commissioned as a CPT - everyone expects you to know what you're doing as an officer and a soldier, and some brank-spankin'-new O-3s didn't have a clue! I went to the officer basic course with a reservist who commissioned as a MAJ ... she put her PT shirt on backwards and pointed her rifle at just about everyone because she just had no muzzle awareness. Hot mess!
  4. by   InquisitiveAPN
    Thanks, Pixie. I may be totally wrong. My previous commissioning endeavor was in 2015, and the recruiter at that time led me to believe that an APN with master's would inherently enter service as a first lieutenant (O2). So I was thinking 02+ 3 yrs of credited time (6 yrs civilian) would equal CPT. Thanks for the clarification!
  5. by   Pixie.RN
    I don't think they add them together like that - they aren't stackable, if you know what I mean. Again, I am no expert! Please keep us posted on your journey.
  6. by   InquisitiveAPN
    Anyone have any idea how loan repayment is paid now? Graduated over your service years or all up front?
  7. by   SoldierMurse
    When I used it as enlisted back in 2006, they would only pay off certain qualified student loans and they paid the money directly to the loan. You did not get a lump sum yourself to pay off the loan. I was in the reserves at the time and had a $10,000 loan repayment. I only had $3,000 in student loans at that time, so I was advised by my command to apply for an additional student loan amount of $7000 to equal $10,000 before I applied for the student loan repayment program. I believe it is a one time use and it is UP to the amount, does not mean you will receive additional money if your student loans are less then what your loan repayment bonus is worth. This again was back in 2006 so it may be different now.
  8. by   InquisitiveAPN
    Nice. I knew the payment was to the loan servicer and would love if the whole thing were paid off immediately rather than incrementally although the loans were only about as much as a mid-size SUV. Are you still in the army?
  9. by   SoldierMurse
    Yes, my entire loan was paid off at once directly to the loan holder. Again this was in 2006 but I believe it's still the same. Yes I'm still in. I went on active duty in 2008 after I graduated.
  10. by   LEOGEO90
    I would like to state as loudly and clearly as possible : GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING.

    Also, the incentives are not worth the sacrifice of being in the military, so if you join - join only because you want to serve.

    The student loan repayment is taxable income and therefore only 75% of your loans will be paid back. It is paid back an equal percentage each year of your contract - so for a three year contract, they pay 1/3 at the end of the first year, second year, third year.

    NOTE: It was not in my original contract when I signed the dotted line in my recruiter's office that my service obligation of 3 years STARTS on the day that they make the first loan payment NOT on my first day of active duty. So, I've been in 8 months and just starting the paperwork to get my loans paid back and I find this out.. I also find out that the program might not have funding this fiscal year to make the first payment anytime soon. So, basically, if I continued with the loan repayment - My 3 years service obligation will not even begin until sometime next year - making my service obligation 4+ years instead of the initially agreed upon 3 years.

    Also, you don't qualify for the GI Bill if you take student loan repayment. Well you can eventually, but you don't start accumulating time for it until you have finished your original service obligation for loan repayment.

    Be careful. Recruiters will not be upfront with you, as nice as they may seem (Like mine- she was sweet as could be and motherly- but I have huge regrets now about joining because I did not get things in writing). Know what you are getting yourself into.
  11. by   InquisitiveAPN
    I think the incentives are just a perk for people who could make 3-4x in a weekend than what the military will pay but instead doing something they feel they'll actually enjoy doing. I made contact with the recruiter about six weeks ago and only learned of the incentives the day of my first posting. They presented a document and you initial what service you want and sign. Maybe you did that too.

    Recruiting is just sales and sales are an application of social psychology. The mind game is meaningless. My perception is that given some written direction most motivated people could navigate this themselves. For whatever reason, most of this info isn't made readily available to the public and should be.
    Last edit by InquisitiveAPN on Aug 8
  12. by   InquisitiveAPN
    To update a dying thread, the incentives are 20k/yr for up to three years for student loans paid to directly loan servicer or 20k/yr bonus for up to 4 yrs. Can take both concurrently meaning one after the other. Happily, both are taxed reducing one's personal tax liability. Minimum reserve select obligation is two years and that's drilling with some unit (perhaps not your own) with three and four year options. The remainder to equal 8 total military service obligation years can be IRR.
  13. by   Spring624
    In regards to bonus i signed my contract June 21 and at that time it was $15k/yr for a 66S AOC. Prior to commissioning & before I found out about selection in Nov 2017, it was $25k/yr. So just want to put it out there that it is always changing.
  14. by   InquisitiveAPN
    Quote from Spring624
    In regards to bonus i signed my contract June 21 and at that time it was $15k/yr for a 66S AOC. Prior to commissioning & before I found out about selection in Nov 2017, it was $25k/yr. So just want to put it out there that it is always changing.
    When did your bonus get paid....or when will it get paid?

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