The Military Pay Chart for 2012 reflects a 1.6% pay raise.
An individual service member's military pay will be affected by various allowances and special pays that s/he is eligible to receive, so we have included links below for various elements that make up your complete military compensation package.
All branches of the U.S. military receive the same amount of base pay. The amount is based upon pay grade and time in service. This military pay chart can be used to determine Air Force pay, Army pay, Coast Guard pay, Marine pay and/or Navy pay.
Military pay raises are generally linked to civilian pay raises. Until 2006, military pay raises were at least one-half percent higher than the civilian pay raise each year, measured by the Employment Cost Index (ECI).
Starting with 2007, military pay raises were made equal to the increase in the ECI, unless Congress authorizes military pay raises to exceed the automatic level. For January 2012, the US military pay raise is 1.6%.
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Direct Deposit Required
Direct deposit of your military pay is now mandatory. Be sure your paycheck is being deposited into an account that authorized family members (a spouse, or parent if not married) can access, preferably a checking account if your pay is to be used for paying bills and everyday living expenses.
Before you leave home for any period in excess of 10 days or so, make sure that your deposit and withdrawal process has been tested to make sure there are no glitches. (Murphy is alive and well, and keeping an eye on your pay account. Don't give him a chance to wreak havoc there.)
Double check all entries on the form, and make sure all the digits in your bank account information are accurate. When military pay day rolls around, you don't want your pay deposited to someone else's account!
Active Duty Pay
Initial pay delay: Be aware that if you are just entering boot camp, it may take 4-8 weeks before your pay "kicks in," so you need to make sure you have enough saved to cover expenses for up to three months so you or your family can pay bills until your direct deposit starts.
Basic Pay is the main component of your military salary package. All members receive Base Pay, which is typically the largest portion of your paycheck.
Your military pay grade (reflecting your military rank) and number of years of service determine the amount of military base pay you will receive.
BAH rates vary based on duty station location, pay grade, and dependents status. It is designed to provide service members stationed in the U.S. with equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in their local civilian housing market when government quarters are not provided.
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Retirees' cost of living adjustment (COLA) is graduated based on date of retirement.
After a couple of years with NO COLA increase, military retirees received a 3.6% COLA effective December 1, 2011. The increase will show up in your January 2012 check. This is the same percentage increase that Social Securities beneficiaries will receive.
Retirees' COLA increase this year is larger than the active duty pay increase because COLA (and Social Security) is tied to the consumer price index, while military pay is tied to private-sector wages. (So what that means is that active duty families' pay increases are not keeping up with inflation. And that's just wrong.)
Military retirees' and annuitants' COLA for 2010 AND 2011 was 0%. For many, this meant their retired pay amount actually decreased slightly in 2010, due to changes in income tax withholding and an increase in Medicare premiums for some. So the 3.6% increase for 2012 was definitely welcome.
Pay for Prior Years
If you happen to need a copy of military pay rates for earlier years for some reason (such as locating the pay table in effect on the date of your retirement for calculating your military retirement pay, or on the date of your divorce for calculating the amount payable to a former spouse), those pay tables are available from DFAS also.
Military Pay and Benefits Website sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness discusses the major elements of your compensation. Select the topic that interests you from one of the following topic areas:
Military Pay and Allowances discusses the basic elements of what is considered the military equivalent of private sector salaries, referred to as RMC, or Regular Military Compensation. These include basic pay (including Active Duty and Reserve pay tables), allowances for housing and subsistence, and tax advantage of the tax-free allowances.
Retirement discusses the various retirement systems currently in effect. In addition to explaining the rules regarding Final Pay, High-3 Year Average, and CSB/REDUX for active duty, calculators are available to demonstrate the potential income stream from these retirement systems and to assist those allowed to choose between High-3 and CSB/REDUX. The Reserve and disability retirement systems are described briefly.
Benefits section discusses the variety of benefits available, ranging from complete health care to commissary and exchange shopping.
Survivor Benefits section discusses the Uniformed Services Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and the Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan (RC-SBP).
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) discusses the Federal Government sponsored retirement savings and investment plan for members of the uniformed services.
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