Understanding the Military Pay Chart
The military pay chart lists the pay for each pay-grade, which is the same for all the branches of service. Army basic training pay, Navy boot camp pay and the other branches are the same; it varies depending on the rank in which you join at. You are paid by the Department of Defense, not your specific branch. So whoever tells you that get more money by joining their branch, is lying to you.
The only additional pay you may receive are funds that you would earn while doing specific jobs. For example, you would earn extra money while being at sea, in a war zone or on a submarine. But not by simply being a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine.
While enlisted you will be paid twice a month, on the first and fifteenth. If those days land on the weekend or there is a holiday, you will be paid typically the first business day before. For example; if the first of the month end up on a Sunday, you will be paid by direct deposit Friday morning at 0001 eastern time.
While you are at basic training you will be entitled to a base pay. You may be eligible for additional funds but that depends on your individual circumstances. You can find out how much you will earn by looking at the military pay chart below and seeing which pay grade you fall into.
You will also be entitled to money for food (BAS) at basic training, but it will be taken from you since they will be the ones feeding you. After boot camp you can continue to eat at the galley/mess hall/ect or you can ask them to stop taking your money and you can go shopping for your own meals.
You may also be entitled to allowances, of which the most popular allowance is the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). Typically all junior enlisted members will live in the barracks on base, the notable exceptions to this rule is if you are married, have dependents or the barracks are 100% full. In many branches, such as the Air Force at E-5, when you reach a higher pay grade you are eligible for BAH even if you do not have dependents.
The BAH amount is determined by the cost of living of the area in which you are stationed. Use the BAH calculator to determine the amount for a specific duty station.
These allowances are non-taxable income. Additional pay such as the Basic Allowance for Sustenance (BAS), Family Separation Allowance (FSA), clothing allowances and others could be eligible to your later in your career.
The pay is mighty fine, they give you 100 dollars and take back 99…. Just kidding, kind of.
You will still be required to pay your home of record state income tax throughout your career, no matter which state you are stationed in.
Some states, such as West Virginia, have income taxes for their residents but do not require military personnel to pay them. Other states like Texas have no income tax for anyone… and some like California will not only want some of your active duty pay, but might go after your retirement money as well (you could get around this by retiring in FL and then moving to CA, but that’s a different topic). For more information: state laws regarding military pay
Most bases I have been to offer some kind of tax information services. When you get out of boot camp I would suggest going to legal or somewhere and getting things squared away.
You also have other deductions such as social security, medicare, meal deductions and others that again pertain to your individual circumstances. You will also have the Service Members Life Insurance (SGLI) deducted out of your check (Don’t cancel it) for about $27.
Thrift Saving Plan – TSP
You will also have a chance to invest in your retirement. The Thrift Savings Plan is a way for you to take pre-taxed cash and put it towards your retirement. If you enlist when your 18, imagine the interest and funds that would be available to you when your 65 or whatever.
Take at least 10% of your base pay and put it in the TSP, you will never notice it’s gone. You will be taught a lot about this while at basic training, so don’t worry about it now but keep it in the back of your mind. But when it comes up, sign up.
All military members get paid by direct deposit. If you already have a bank account that you wish to use take a voided check to your recruiter and follow his instructions. If you do not have a bank account, one will be set up for you while at basic training.
Banks with branches on bases and around the world are popular with military personnel. Some of these banks and credit unions include: USAA ,The Armed Forces Bank , Navy Federal Credit Union and Pacific Marine.
2014 Enlisted Military Pay Chart
Complete Military Pay Chart: 2016 Military Pay Chart
|Pay Grade||Monthly Pay With Less Than 2 Years In (gross)|
|E-1 With Less Than 4 Months Time In –||$1449.00|
|E-1 With More Than 4 Months Time In –||$1566.90|