JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
Joint Base San Antonio Retirement Services and Retiree Activities Offices assist, inform and prepare military members and their families during their transition to retirement. The offices are also available after the big day to keep them up-to-date on their rights, benefits and privileges.
Joe Silvas Jr., the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Retirement Services officer, is employed by the Air Force but runs the Army Retirement Services Office for pre- and post-retirement.
“Once our service members are placed on the retirement list, no matter the branch of service, I can assist them within the region, which includes south of Austin to the border, and east and west of that area,” Silvas said, noting that the Retirement Activities Offices at JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Lackland are staffed with volunteers.
Silvas said he can assist service members, retired members, and surviving spouses with anything and everything pertaining to their retirement life.
“I offer pre-retirement support and a briefing once per month,” he said. Due to COVID-19 precautions, Silva is sending information out digitally. He is available by phone, email and, if necessary, by appointment.
“I assist with survivor benefit pay, myPay accounts, updating personal information, emails, addresses, dependent information, or life-changing events,” he said. “I can help them maintain their military retirement pay account, and I can help them make changes. I am doing everything by appointment currently, due to COVID, and I can mail everything to them if needed.”
Silvas can assist former spouses, surviving spouses or dependents as well.
“I help out a lot of survivors,” he said. “I help with their applications for benefits and entitlements.”
When not under COVID-19 restrictions, Silvas normally holds an annual Retiree Appreciation Day.
“We normally hold one for the Air Force along with the retiree office at JBSA-Randolph. We also hold one at Brooke Army Medical Center,” he said, adding that he hopes those events will return in 2021.
There is also a Joint Base Retiree Council that provides a newsletter and utilizes social media to keep retiree communities informed, Silvas said.
“The council is composed of retired military members, officers and enlisted,” he said. “The council provides advice and recommendations to the installation commander regarding vital issues and the concerns of retired members, spouses, surviving spouses and their families. The council members are knowledgeable and up-to-date with military retiree issues and concerns, and they are active in the local military community affairs.”
According to Silvas, there are more than 150,000 retirees assigned in his area.
“The only branch I do not have full access for is the Coast Guard, but I can pick up the phone and find what they need,” he said.
“Our retirees or survivors might not even own a computer. They may not even know how to get online, or maybe they do not want to get online,” he said. “We can assist with getting all their updates completed and applications for benefits as required.”
The JBSA-Randolph Retiree Activities Office, located at Pitsenbarger Hall, building 399, room 104, is run by volunteers whose purpose is to serve the needs of military retirees, spouses, widows and widowers. That office, which can only assist with post-retirement activities, reopened last week as well and accepts walk-ins.
Service members and families approaching retirement or post-retirement, or potential volunteers, can contact either office for assistance at: JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, email@example.com, or 210-221-9004; or JBSA-Randolph, firstname.lastname@example.org, 210-652-6880 or 210-652-5778. The JBSA-Lackland Retiree Activities Office is currently closed, but services may be obtained through the JBSA-Randolph or JBSA-Fort Sam Houston offices.