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Ask An Army Spouse: Pay & Benefits for Being Married to a Soldier

Pay & Allowances After Getting Married

My boyfriend and I have been dating a little over a year. He just finished AIT and is now stationed at Ft. Sill Oklahoma for the next 10 months, until he gets deployed to Kuwait. I’m only 17 and he’s 19. Next year I plan on going to a private college here in my hometown in Texas. We were planning on getting married after he gets home from his deployment but we recently started talking about possibly getting married before he leaves, after I turn 18.

We’re wondering about financial benefits for me while he’s gone since I’ll be living on my own while going to college. He says the Army would pay me $850 every month to pay for an apartment. Is this true? Also, where would I find out about army scholarships for college? Basically, I’m wondering if it would be better to marry him after he gets home or before he leaves. Please give me some info to help make the decision easier! Thank you!


If you are married, you will get a housing allowance while he is deployed that is based on his rank and the zip code of his permanent duty station. That may or may not cover your living expenses while you are in college.

There are some education grant option such as through MyCAA – https://www.militaryonesource.com/MOS/FindInformation/Category/MilitarySpouseCareerAdvancementAccounts.aspx. There are also several scholarships specifically for military spouses. You could check with the education office on post to find out more about those possibilities.

I would like to offer one piece of advice though outside of the actual benefits. The first year of marriage can be difficult with all of the adjustments that come along with it. Adding a deployment to that will only make it harder. If it were me, I would wait until after the deployment is over so you can really spend time together in that first year of marriage.

Good luck with your decision!

Benefits After Getting Married and Stepkids

Hi, my fiance is at BCT right now – graduates in August, then heads to AIT in VA. My question is…we have 3 kids together and are planning on getting married after BCT graduation, how long will it take (roughly) for all the pay/benefits, etc to kick in? If I have kids from a previous marriage….will they be covered as well (if we are married) Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Also, I’m trying my hardest to keep busy, but the kids are so little and don’t understand where Daddy is…do you have any resources that I can look into on how to help them cope during this time he is away. Its a total of 21 weeks. That is like 1/2 a year 🙁 Thank you for your time!

Once you are married, his stepchildren will be covered under Tricare. Generally, his pay will be updated with the next pay cycle but it can also depend on when the changes are made. For instance, if he updates Finance on the 12th of the month, it should kick in by the 1st of the next month. He needs to stay on top of it and make sure that all of his paperwork is processed in a timely manner.

Sesame Street has some good programs about dealing with separation. These actually deal with deployments but some of the tips should still help.

Benefits After ETS or Discharge

The short version of our story is my husband went into the Army to serve 4 years and have his medical school paid for. I was done with college, in a good job and we had recently bought our first house so I was to stay behind as we were not married at the time. He basically got screwed from day so I gave up my career and our home and went to be with him at his first duty station after we were married.

His request to finish school got denied more times than I can remember at our first duty station even though he wants to go online and would do school on his time. Since arriving at our second duty station they did not want to approve his school with deployment approaching which I do not understand because he could have completed a full semester and started a second semester before their deployment window opened.

He is currently deployed and talking about getting out when he returns so he is able to finish school. I have a million questions about it as we are waiting till he returns to have a baby. He mentioned we get BAH and unemployment for 6 months along with his school being paid for, but didn’t know about health insurance and due to the bad internet connection couldn’t elaborate further. Do you have information or know where I can find information about benefits for school, housing, insurance etc and the duration once they are honorably discharged? Thank you very much for your help!


I am assuming that he is being honorably discharged and this isn’t a med board or a retirement situation. In that case, you will not have insurance benefits after he gets out. There is an option that is similar to COBRA where you can extend insurance coverage for up to 18 months, however, it is VERY expensive (about $2,000 a quarter last time I checked).

As far as school is concerned, if he has served his full enlistment, he would be eligible for full benefits under the GI Bill. If he has the Montgomery GI Bill, he will receive a monthly stipend while he is in school. He receives the same amount regardless of his school, expenses, location, etc. If he decides to switch to the Post 9/11 GI Bill, it pays based on the state where the college is located. At some schools, tuition will be completely covered and at some, you may still owe a great deal in tuition. In addition, you will receive BAH at the E-5 with dependents rate based on the zip code where the school is located. He will also be eligible for a $1,000 stipend for books. You can get additional information here: VA GI Bill

Good luck!

Live Together to Receive Benefits

My husband and I got married while he was on leave this past month! I have so many questions and it seems imposible to find my answers on-line. Questions like, He has returned to Iraq and will be there till June of next year! His main base is Hi, and I am living with my mother in Illinois.

Can I have his household goods moved to my address with out him having PCS orders. Do I have to move to Hi to receive the support I am entitled to (housing, job placement support groups) Will the BAH be determined by my address or his duty station. If someone can please provide me information on these questions please comment.

You don’t have to move with him in order to be entitled to military benefits. Where the BAH is based depends on if you have been sponsored to come with him. If the Army is allowing you to go, then the BAH will be based on his post no matter where you live. If not, it should be based on where you are. As far as his household hoods, he isn’t authorized moving expenses without PCS orders in most cases.

Benefits Without Getting Married and Life Insurance

Me and my boyfriend have been together for a little over two years now and he wants to join the Army but he wants to make sure that if “anything happens” to him that I would be taken care of along with his child. Would we need to be married make sure that would happen? We are both not really ready to get married but he said he will if we need to. Or will the money go to his child automatically?

He could name you as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy but you would not be eligible for other benefits unless you are married.

Pay & Allowances During Training

My husband is leaving for Basic in July, he will then go on to OCS, BOLCII and further training.  I had a question regarding BAS & BAH.  Will the family get the entire BAS/BAH allowances?  Will my husband be in the barracks for all of those training courses or will we need to budget for him to get an apartment?  Thanks so much for your assistance!

I just thought of another question; sorry!!  My husband enters on the 12 of the month.  Am I correct in my assumption that he will NOT receive a paycheck on the 15th?  Thanks so much!



During all training, the soldier is typically required to live in the barracks. With very long training programs (20+ weeks), the command will sometimes allow the soldier to live off post with family but it is not required and housing space will be provided.

The family will receive BAH during his training. However, BAS typically does not start until he is assigned to his permanent duty station. This allowance is meant to provide food since the soldier is no longer eating at the DFAC.

As for the first paycheck, it is typically 4-6 weeks before he receives his first check after beginning training. If he doesn’t start until the 12th, I wouldn’t count on receiving a paycheck until at least the 15th of the next month. If it comes earlier than that, consider yourself very lucky!

Good luck!

Pay Increases When Adding Dependents


I am marrying my soldier next month and I would like to know about the increases in his pay once we are married. Thanks for your help!


Your soldier’s pay does not increase because he gets married or has kids. His base pay is calculated based on his rank as well as time in service. When he gets married or if he has children, he is eligible for either BAH at the with dependents rate or to live on post for “free”. In addition, once he is no longer eating at the DFAC as a single soldier, he will receive BAS (food allowance). If he deploys or is otherwise away at training, for example, for more than 30 days, he will receive separation pay.

As you can see, none of these pay increases come without either added expense or his absence. There are no additional pay increases based on the number of dependents. BAH and BAS, along with separation pay, are all the same regardless of if he has one dependent or ten.

Space A Flights

Hello. My husband heard that we could fly on military airplanes rather than commercial for a really cheap price. Is this true? If so, how do you go about doing so? Where will we be able to fly to? Thank you!


Though it can be a much less expensive option, it can also easily leave you stranded for days! So don’t use the option if you are on a tight timetable unless you are top tier for preference for flights. This website details everything about getting a Space A flight.


Good luck! And if you do it, please let us know how it goes!

Cut Off Financially by Soldier

Hi, I am not an Army wife but my sister is. Her husband has gotten them evicted twice in the past year from there apartment. Her husband has stated that the Army gives them the full amount for rent and deducts it from his check each month. I am confused because I am taking care of her and their son and he is not sending any money and states that the Army will help get them another apartment.

I am worried to send her back with the lies and the emotional abuse she is receiving from her husband. I am also worried this will continue to happen because he can not budget correctly and gets them into serious debt. He also states that because he is in the Army he doesn’t get bad credit for repos and evictions. Please help me or point me in the right direction to answer my questions. Thank you


First, being in the Army does not protect your credit rating from being careless with your financial obligations. His credit rating will be affected and it can affect his security clearance (if he has one).

The only way that BAH is added into his check and then deducted back out is if he is living on post. If he lives off post, he is given the full amount of BAH to pay for rent or a mortgage payment. There are resources on post to help with finding off post housing. However, if they have been evicted, I would assume signing another lease is going to be difficult, if not impossible. It would probably be best for them to live on post.

The Army also has some financial readiness and budgeting classes that are offered on post. I would recommend that they attend those as a family if she intends to stay with him. As far as him not providing any support, she would need to contact his chain of command about that.

I hope it works out.

Financially Supporting Siblings

Hi, my fiance and I have been together for a little over 2 years now and we plan on marrying after I finish high school. The only problem is that because of his mother his is in tons of debt. He comes from a family of 14 and his mother always tells him it is his responsibility to help her raise the kids that came out of her you know where.

Time and time again, I have asked him to take care of his needs, but somehow he feels obligated to raise his siblings. I understand lending money but paying for habits like chewing betelnut (sort of like tobacco) smoking and drinking, that the money could be going help his siblings, am I out of line and should I bite my tongue or is this a serious problem and he needs to let his mother support her own children. Did I mention that she doesn’t work and that her # eldest sons pay for her bills?

First, I think it is ridiculous that she has that many children but apparently is doing nothing to support them. It is sad that she is relying on your fiance for financial support. However, it is honorable on his part that he isn’t going to let his siblings suffer because of her lack of being a responsible parent.

Before you marry him, I suggest you have a very long heart to heart about the situation. It sounds like something that could cause serious issues in your future marriage. This is the kind of problem that needs to be resolved before you walk down the aisle.

Good luck!

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Madison January 21, 2012, 12:05 am

    Hey there again, Stacey!
    So my guy just got his orders after graduating AIT and luckily enough he’s being stationed only two hours away from his home. As wonderful as it is, he has a great chance of being deployed in March depending on which unit he may be stationed in.. and many of those units are being deployed. We’re trying to decide whether or not we should get married- because it wouldn’t be that big of a change compared to what we’re used to. We’ve been together 5 years and lived 400 miles apart, seeing each other seldomly as it is. Basic and AIT was a breeze for us since we were us to not seeing each other often. I just don’t think him leaving on deployment would be as difficult. I know a lot of people are recommended to wait until after deployment to see if their relationship can last the hardship.. but our relationship is strong and healthy as it is.

    And if we do get married it will be in the next two weeks when he gets settled in on-base. Any advice?
    What about housing and moving me there with him and the process?
    Thank you again,

  • Cindy February 6, 2012, 8:07 pm

    Hi Stacey, I would like to clear a few things up for you since I was a soldier and was married when I went in. The money for housing also known as BAH will be based upon the soldier’s location and is part of their checks (its split between the checks on 1st and the 15th) so there is no way that the Army would be paying it directly to you. BAH will only be given to the soldier if they have dependents (spouse/children) inrolled into DEERS. As for the Army paying for school they do have the MGI Bill but in order for a dependent to use it (yes a soldier can transfer it up to 15 years after ETSing) the soldier first must complete their contract and reenlist before the transfer. Last I would suggest waiting till after the deployment to get married since its a great way to test the love for one another. I heard too many fellow soldiers cheat while on deployment (all ranks and genders have done it) and I also heard of spouses cheating while the soldier is on deployment. If you wait and still want to get married thats great and congrats but please remember that there will be many temptaions on both your side and his.

  • Mandy March 1, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Hi, My boyfriend is about to leave in 5months for training and we are not married, but I am concerned that if he is deployed or in the Army we wont be able to get married ever….Is this true?

  • Cassandra October 27, 2012, 11:16 pm

    im getting married next month to my solider an he already got his first post while at ait and can he has his contract after we get maried so i can go to post with him?

  • karyn March 8, 2013, 1:16 pm

    I have a question…my husband and I were married during his leave between basic and ait…he just graduated ait and has yet to receive any benifits for me he said his serg keeps telling him she is going to take him to get me enrolled in deers etc and do the paperwork but never does….I don’t even have my military id yet..no bha nothing, its been 10weeks and this is creating a financial strain on our family. Hes only an E2 and we have a child..He will be here with me for two weeks so I was hoping we could get it straightned out then but he has to pay for his plane ticket to here and to his next duty station before he leaves it’s to the point now where if he does that were not going to be able to pay our rent. Any guidance would be greatly appericated

  • cerria brown March 12, 2013, 9:00 pm

    My question is im24 years of age I have a 9 year old and a new. Born. My boyfriend is joining the army soon in and we been together for 3years…and I was told I will not live on the army base because were not married but in that case I don’t what to do?? Also I don’t why he pick a time to join the army we just had a new born baby…how can I handle this situation??

    • Stacey March 27, 2013, 4:05 pm

      You won’t be able to live on post unless you are married. You can live off post with him without being married assuming he can get permission from his command to live off post.

  • toney June 1, 2013, 4:42 pm

    My exwife married a soldier, and i pay her childsupport, can he cl

    aim my children as dependents

  • Lindy Scott March 19, 2014, 6:33 pm

    My boyfriend is Army E- 8 and his next assignment will be in AK. He is bringing me and my son with him. He said he will be getting a pay increase for having me and my son. Will this be possible without us getting married?

    • Stacey Abler April 3, 2014, 1:56 pm

      It’s not unless you’re married. Even then it’s not an increase in base pay. It’s a difference in BAH.

  • rosa morales September 6, 2014, 6:50 pm

    my father children died on training,and i know they well get benefits he was only 180 days on traning i just want to know how many he have on life insurance the only thing that the military didnt talk about he put his mother in front on that lfe insurance.

  • Sasha January 28, 2015, 1:15 am

    Hi I’ve been married for 17 years to my husband he is a E-9 and has served 28 years. He has decreased the amount of money in the bank. He has opened an acct, where he is stationed (Texas ) I’m in savannah…they are getting ready to deploy, we have a house a few cars. I’ve thinking about divorce what are my rights & since he is a top ranking NCO who can I go to for help with paying the bills because they are behind and what type of alimony am I entitled to if any? Thanks in advance

    • Stacey Abler January 30, 2015, 8:42 pm

      You need to speak with an attorney. You can start with JAG but they won’t be able to actually represent you in the divorce – you’ll need a civilian attorney for that.

  • Allie March 4, 2015, 3:32 pm

    After reading through all of these I don’t know if I feel more or less prepared. I have been best friends with a guy for 11 years now, and we have decided to transition into marriage. We both know this is what we want but 8 months ago, he decided he wanted to join the army. I am currently half way through college and unfortunately can’t move to be with him once he’s stationed because of my specific program and unfortunately, we haven’t gotten to talk much about how marriage is going to work with him being gone. We want to get married in two months when he comes back for two weeks but I am crazy frantic over all the things that are going to change. Any and all direction and help would be super.

    • Stacey Abler April 11, 2015, 5:49 am

      If you’re having second thoughts, wait. There’s no harm in waiting to get married. It will be a very different lifestyle with him being in the Army. But nothing that can’t be mastered. I would personally wait until you’re at least going to be able to be with him.

  • Marquiesha August 19, 2015, 1:38 am

    Hi, I have been win my boyfriend for a little over 7 months but it seems like forever. We do plan on getting married in a few years. He is leaving for BCT the end of the month and I am so not ready to be without him. He is in the National Guard. Does this information on your site and in your books, does it apply to members of the National Guard or just the military or Navy?

    • Stacey Abler August 25, 2015, 8:24 pm

      It’s specifically geared towards the Army but some would apply across the military – it depends on the information.

  • Pcunni September 16, 2015, 8:10 am

    Me and my husband are getting a divorce. He moved out so I’m going to move on post until my divorce is final. Am I required to give him anything even though I’m on post. Basically they take all bah and all is left is base pay and when I was off post he never help pay any bills. And I know he’s not going to help do anything now. He threatens to tell my chain of command but I can show for where all of my money but 200 or so is towards bills. Cost of living is very high over here in Hawaii. I’m not getting any help at all.

  • i. Shotts November 6, 2015, 12:03 pm

    I have a young friend who is german and lives in Germany with her parents. Her husband is stationed in Fort Benning, GA. She is 6 months pregnant and doesn`t hear from her husband,,,he changed his cell phone number, bank account and she receives no support from him. She can`t go to work, she is due in March and doesn`t know what to do. Who could she get in contact with? She is very young and very depressed. Please, have somebody help her. Thank you.

  • Cindy December 16, 2015, 2:28 am

    I am currently a military girlfriend and thinking of options. I want to move out to where my boyfriend is stationed in North Carolina. I’m not quite sure we are ready to get married yet. I’m just thinking of different options but I was curious if I would be able to go to a community college or a college on base if I am not married? Can you live on base and rent a house or apartment without being married?

  • motherinlaw December 22, 2015, 5:23 pm

    My daughter’s husband is deployed. He loved her up until the time he left and then texted her and told her to get out by the end of summer. She has one child from a previous marriage and a second child with her soldier husband. He has cut her off financially. She went to his commander and was told that as long as she lived in military housing, they won’t make him pay her anything. What should she do?

  • Maria Alers January 30, 2016, 12:49 am

    My husband just told me that we can not take my kids from a previous marriage to Germany because they are not his biological kids, therefore, they (military) will not pay for the trip for them, is that true?

    • Stacey Abler February 27, 2016, 9:05 pm

      As long as you have custody of them and there’s not something in your custody agreement with their father about them moving out of the country, it shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Aahley May 3, 2016, 10:16 pm

    im recently married to my husband who will be leaving on May 2e for basic training and then ait. I have a few questions. What is the waitlist like to move back with him after training? How to i enroll in military benefits? And do spouses get some financial support while their soldier is away?

    • Stacey Abler May 6, 2016, 8:29 pm

      Hi, the wait list for housing can vary widely from one post to the next. Until you know where he’ll be stationed, it’s very difficult to predict. He will enroll you in DEERS while doing his inprocessing at basic. Then you’ll be able to get your military ID to complete the process. Only the soldier is paid. While he’s in training, he will receive a housing allowance and family separation pay (after the first 30 days) in addition to his base pay.

  • Rosalyn P. Milton May 30, 2016, 4:02 pm

    My retired military husband and I have a legal separation. During the court, I was awarded monthly spousal support from his retirement income by the court because we were married more than 27 years and part of that time he was on active duty. My husband mails my support. Why does it not come in benefit check from the Army? Do I fit into spousal benefit clause?

    Thank you

  • Lourdesa August 9, 2017, 4:43 pm

    Hey so question. I am married to an Active duty Soldier. He is pcsing to south Korea and instead of going with him I am moving in with his parents in his hometown in Texas. I am from Florida so therefore I don’t get in state tuition from texas(I want to continue attending college)

    But since my husband signed his contract in texas and is from there am I able to get in state and if so how do I? I know that it he was stationed there I could bring his orders but since he will be in another country what should i do?

    • Stacey Abler August 11, 2017, 11:58 am

      You would have to speak with the college you want to attend. Some have programs specifically for military spouses.

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