Whether you are new to the military life are not, there are probably some questions that you have about military pay. How else can you budget if you don’t know how much you make? Here, I will explain some of the basics of military pay dates, entitlements, and more!
How Often Does The Military Get Paid?
Military members are usually paid bi-monthly on the 1st and the 15th of the month. However, these dates can be different if they coincide with a holiday or the weekend.
Noteworthy, members of USAA and Navy Federal have the benefit of receiving their pay 1 to 3 days earlier when using direct deposit. It is typically 1 business day early; however, if the regular payday falls on a Monday, NFCU members would get paid on the Saturday before and USAA members would get paid on the Friday.
2020 Active Duty Pay Dates
(Information pulled from the DFAS website and various financial institutions.)
|Pay Period||Pay Day||Navy Federal Early Pay Date (NFCU)||USAA Early Pay Date||LES Available|
| Apr. 14|
| Apr. 14|
* Dates where the regular pay date on the NFCU posting calendar differs from the dates on the DFAS calendar.
How Much Does the Military Pay?
There are several factors that affect how much you will get paid. You can read your LES ( Leave and Earnings Statement), aka Paystub, for a breakdown of what payments you are getting and the deductions coming out. (You can download your LES on the mypay website.)
Two of the major payments are your basic pay (dependent on rank and years of service) and your BAH (Basic Housing Allowance) or if stationed overseas, your OHA (Overseas Housing Allowance). These are what I usually use to estimate the monthly income until the LES breakdown is available to look at. However, it can vary due to entitlements and deductions.
What are Entitlements?
Entitlements on your LES vary by your duty station and is everything that you are eligible to receive beyond your basic and premium pay.
Entitlements include but aren’t limited to:
- Cola (Cost of Living Allowance) – Received both within the U.S and overseas as a way to offset the cost of being stationed at a duty station with a higher cost of living.
- BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence) – Given to help with the cost of meals for the service-member. There are certain instances where this is also deducted, for instance if the service-member is deployed.
- Uniform Allowance – Received once per year on the date you joined.
- Incentive and Bonus Pays – The military will sometimes give special incentives for people to enlist that have special skills, to fill a needed position, and etc.
- Career Sea Pay – Given to those stationed or deployed on a ship. It is dependent on your sea time and pay rate.
Deductions that might show up on your LES include:
- Regular Taxes – Federal Taxes, State Taxes, Social Security, Medicare
- SGLI (Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance) – A low cost life insurance for service-member’s and their families
- SGLI Fam/ Spouse
- AFRH (Armed Forces Retirement Home) – 50 cents given to help fund AFRH facilities.
- Dental Insurance for Family
- Meal Deduction – When the BAS is taken back.
- Debt – If your were mistakenly overpaid, or are paying back advanced pay.
Government Shutdown: Military Pay During Shutdown
When the government shuts down, it is due to all the budgets for spending not being passed by the deadline. With that being said, if the budget for the military has already been passed, you will get paid (which was the case in the 2018-19 shutdown). However, that does not always happen and you may not be.
Having enough savings is important to help you get through these times without accumulating debt and having late payment fees. Please refer to my simple budget to help you get started. I also recommend banking through military institutions such as Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA. They have something to help their members affected by the shutdown.
If there is anything you what to know, comment below and tell me. If I don’t know, I’ll do my best to research the information for you and point you to the best resources available.