The Different Types of Military Pay Allowances

Most all military people will be deployed at some time or another. Do you know what to expect with your military pay when deployed? Understanding the pay for a military service member isn’t cut and dry. There’s base pay, drill pay, housing allowance, food allowance, deployment pay, family separation allowance, combat pay and more. Some of your pay is pretty straight forward, but there are many different possibilities, especially if you’re deployed.

Whether you’re in the Guard or Reserve, you could be deployed at any time. Even active service members could be sent to a war zone. When this happens, your pay changes. Here’s a breakdown of how deployment pay will work for those in the Reserve, Guard or even active duty service members.

Your Basic Pay is Important!

Everything starts with military basic pay. This is the base amount you get paid for your job in the military. Whether you’re active duty, in the Reserves or in the Guard, you will get paid a base amount. Usually, this is determined by your enlistment contract and your job.

For those in the Guard or Reserve, the base pay is based on the number of drill periods each month. Regular weekend trills equate to two drill period per day basis, while full weekend drills are worth four. Longer training events take your base pay and use a prorated amount. When Reservists and Guardsmen are activated, they are paid just as active duty service members are paid.

Don’t Dare Forget Your Basic Allowance for Subsistence or BAS

BAS is a non-taxable allowance received by officered and some enlisted members. This helps to cover food at dining facilities on bases.

Your Basic Allowance for Housing or BAH

Another non-taxable allowance given to active-duty members is BAH. The amount is based on how long you have served, your pay grade, your location and your family status. Clothing Allowance Can Be Nice

All enlisted members of the armed forces receive a yearly clothing allowance to help with the care and replacement of uniformed. Officers receive an initial allowance for purchasing military clothing but no replacement or maintenance allowance. In some cases, an additional clothing allowance may be authorized.

Special Pay, Hazardous Duty Pay, Career Seay Pay, Flight Pay and Hostile Pay

When you become deployed, you may be eligible for a number of different types of pay. Special pay or incentive pay may be given if the circumstances you will enter into are dangerous or undesirable. Hazardous Duty Pay is given to parachutists, demolition experts, divers and other hazardous workers, while Career Sea Pay is given to those accruing time at sea.

Flight Pay is given to those in aviation when their job requires extensive flying. Hostile Fire Pay kicks in when service members have to work in what has been declared as a hostile fire zone.

Combat Pay

Those deployed or designated to a combat zone receive a monthly special pay called Combat pay. This pay is $225 per month regardless of rank. You only have to spend one second in the designated combat zone to receive the entire amount for the month.

Hardship Duty Pay

Another amount paid on a monthly basis, which can range from $50 to $150 per month is Hardship Duty Pay. This is based on the location you’re serving in and may be prorated for a portion of the month.


Family Separation Allowance

When a soldier is separated from family members involuntarily for more than 30 days in a row, they receive FSA. This allowance is $250 per month and will be prorated for the time spent away from their home station.

There are several other types of pay you may receive, depending on the assignment and situation. In addition, military members deployed overseas or Reservists and Guardsmen activated may also receive specific tax benefits and other benefits.

Travel Per Diem

You may receive $3 or $3.50 per day as a travel per diem along with lodging and mess. This is settled when you arrive at your home station.

Combat Zone Tax Exclusion

Soldiers and Warrant Officer receive a tax exemption when they are deployed. Commissioned officers also receive this and while there is a maximum, it does help give you more money in your check when you arrive home.

Savings Deposit Program

If you participate in the SDP, you can contribute up to $10,000 by cash or personal check. Contributions yield 10% interest, but you must withdrawal all contributions within the first 90 days after demobilization.

Accrued Leave

Even while you’re deployed, you will accrue leave at 2.5 days per month. If you happen to be in a CZTE area, your accrued leave is non-taxable.

Automatic Federal Tax Filing Extension

When you’ve been deployed, you receive an automatic extension for filing your taxes.

It’s possible there are other benefits and types of pay you will receive when deployed. It depends on your service, the deployment and what’s expected from you. Surviving spouses may also gain benefits, depending on the situation.

Make sure you speak with an expert to completely understand what to expect if you’re activated as a Guardsman or Reservist. Active duty military members should also find out what to expect if they will be deployed. The last thing you need is a surprise when you arrive home that doesn’t benefit you.

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