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Military Pay Changes When Adding Dependents

We’ve all heard people say that some soldiers marry a “random” girl just for the higher pay or they have children expecting a huge increase in their paycheck. Where do these rumors start? So, here I am to debunk the myth!

Marriage

When a soldier gets married, this authorizes him (in most cases) to live off post. At the very least, he’ll be authorized family housing on post. At this point, he either begins to receive BAH (housing allowance) or lives in “free” housing on post. So the housing allowance is a definite increase. But keep in mind, it also comes with an increase in bills since he’s now paying a mortgage or rent along with utilities, etc. so in most case it is a wash. If the soldier was already living off post and receiving BAH, he will receive an increase when he marries as he will then receive BAH at the “with dependents” rate. For our duty station, the increase is roughly $150.

When the soldier moves out of the barracks and into housing (on or off post), he will no longer be eating in the chow hall on the Army’s dime. Instead, he will receive BAS since the Army is no longer providing “three squares a day”. Once again, this is an increase in pay and once again, it comes with an increase in expense…so a wash.

There is no increase in base pay for extra dependents. Unless the soldier is living overseas, BAH and BAS are the only pays that will change when a soldier adds his first dependent. Again, have I mentioned how much I hate the word dependent?

I should also mention that if a soldier who is married deploys or is in training for more than 30 days, he will receive family separation allowance, which is currently $250 a month. So there’s your increase in pay. The catch is you have to live without your husband to get it!

Children

If the soldier is already married when he has children, there will be no increases to his pay. No increase in base pay, no increase in BAH and no increase in BAS. NONE. The Army does not pay additional for additional dependents beyond the first.

If the soldier is stationed overseas, pay rates can differ based on his home country and there may be special allowances. This information provided above assumes the soldier is stationed CONUS.

I’m willing to bet I missed something when laying out the pay differences. So if you notice an error, by all means let me know! :-)

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

{ 48 comments… add one }

  • luis aceves January 18, 2011, 11:44 pm

    I have recently enlisted, am divorced and pay 52% of support for my daughter whom lives with her mother. How will my pay be calcluated? what allowances may I expect to receive? I will start Army basic the end of January 2011. Thank you for your help.

    • Stacey January 19, 2011, 11:14 am

      It’s possible you can receive a partial BAH for your daughter if you don’t have full custody.

      • luis January 19, 2011, 12:48 pm

        I only have joint legal custody, no physical custody. Thank you.

        • Stacey January 26, 2011, 8:19 pm

          You should get BAH Diff in that case.

          • Emmes July 8, 2013, 8:28 am

            BAH DIFF is no longer paid to non-custodial soldiers paying court-ordered child support who do NOT live on post. Soldiers would get the w/dep rate even if the child does NOT live with them full time. The only entitlement they would not get is FSA (Family Separation Allowance) if they are on orders longer than 30-days. Orders less than 30-days would pay BAH-RC (BAH II, not DIFF).

  • Kacy February 10, 2011, 5:20 pm

    Question…I’m marrying a LTC next month. He has a son from a previous marriage and I have one as well. I claim my son as my dependent and since he will be living with us, he would be my husbands dependent as well, correct? This would allow him to be covered under the insurance?

  • leen June 2, 2011, 11:50 am

    Hi…. i have 2 kids and their dad is in Army.. we’re divorced and our kids live with me since we divorced.. Is there any chance that my kids get child support from their dad? My ex listed that our kids are under the custody of my in laws which is not true… is there any possibilities that they can get any from their the army.. my husband didnt tell the truth about child support and i dont have any idea about his military pay… what im gonna do? help

  • Kathleen June 12, 2011, 7:56 pm

    I’m getting married to my soldier in december. i will still live in california while i fisnish school and he will be living in kansas until i graduate in august 2012 and move in with him. can he still live on base for free since im not with him? and he said he gets paid extra when we get married…is he mistaken?

  • megan July 29, 2011, 1:40 pm

    HI leen
    now im not exactly sure what the protocol is for this situation but I know that you can report your e husband and the army will make him pay his child support. If u have a lawyer handeling your divorce i would recommend you ask him t look into this. I f you do not you can always file a child support claim on him and they will handle it since he has a job they will contact his employers (the army) and set everything straight.

  • Fee October 17, 2011, 8:41 pm

    I’m engaged and he is already stationed overseas. I’m back in the US. I’m trying to figure out the most economical way for us to get married. If I go there and get married, can we do that on base and would everything be instantly recognized – meaning would we then be able to move to base housing or off base all in one swift swoop? Or is it better if he comes back? I just don’t know how much paperwork or legalities would need to be involved. Also would we be responsible for shipping my furniture or would the military take care of it now that he has a “dependent”?

    • Stacey October 17, 2011, 9:16 pm

      I’m not sure about the legalities of getting married in another country. But because he is already stationed there, it’s unlikely the Army will pay to move your belongings.

      • Jennifer January 7, 2012, 4:16 pm

        They will not pay for you to move your stuff. We just dealt with a similar situation. They will pay for any future moves when he gets new orders. They will also pay for it if you guys were to choose to live off post wherever he’s stationed and then decide to move on to the post (or vice versa), BUT they will only allow you to change your mind once.

  • leen October 17, 2011, 9:33 pm

    im divoreced to my ex husband and his army. he never supported his 2 children eversince. My children need his financial support for their schooling but he ignored all the emails being sent to him. Pls help me Thanks.

    • David July 19, 2014, 8:18 pm

      Talk to his first sergeant(you can usually find the name online if you know his unit), email’s aren’t going to do it, you need to get serious, there are ways to pressure him to pay without resorting to an expensive lawsuit, but if its that serious, then you may have to.

  • james December 28, 2011, 1:22 am

    Hi my name is James I am 18 an I have two kids me and my girlfriend were wondering if we should get married before or after I join the army and we were wondering if her and the kids can live on base with me and my last question is how much does the average 1st year soilder make every month thanks for your time

  • Alejandro January 20, 2012, 11:04 am

    Hello, me and my wife got married during A school, and when we chose orders we chose Okinawa and most likely we are gonna live on base. What extra pay besides BAH would we get if we live off base? And do we get any other kind of money for living on base such as COLA or something?

  • shelby February 3, 2012, 8:53 am

    ill be 17 this coming sunday, 2/5/2012 im signing all of my paperwork monday 2/6/2012. i have one child whom is only 4 months and im not married. Will i get any extra pay for having a child. Ive been told many diffrent things and im just looking for the correct answer.

  • Krysta April 15, 2012, 2:53 pm

    Hello! My husband is leaving for basic training in 2 weeks, and I was just wondering for budgeting purposes if, since he is going in and all the paper work has been done, the BAH will go in with his first paycheck? And if so, is it going to be like his base pay and be split in half? Thanks for any help you can provide. :)

  • Teila S..herwin Mulcahy October 8, 2012, 10:58 pm

    Hi, my husband is talking about joining the Navy, please no negative comments… Don’t know if anyone can answer some Navy questions I have??? We have one child together and I have two from previous; we would like to live on base; I have heard that this most likely will not happen; is this true? Also, will we get BAH while he is in basic for nine weeks??? I will have taxes and my student loans, but I do not work, so I don’t want to lose my place…. Also wondering if anyone can tell me what will happen while he is in “A” school, that is a long time to be away from my husband, knowing he is right here in the same country… Prob will have more questions soon, if anyone can help that would be great thanks!!!

    • Solomon November 28, 2012, 11:02 pm

      I personally am not in the Navy. but i am in the Marine Corps. Normally whats going to happen is if his paperwork was correct when he went to his recruiter, he should be recieving BAH from the day he stepped in basic or boot camp. In some occasions the paperwork wouldnt be correct and he wouldnt recieve it untill he goes to his next duty station. While he is in A school depending on his mos, he will be in a techical school. while hes in A school and C school he will have to live in the barracks. Once he gets to his first duty station thats when he will get most of his money rembursed. hopefully this helps

  • Neikhole October 23, 2012, 2:03 pm

    HELLO I KNOW THAT GAY RELATIONSHIPS ARE A TOUCHY SUBJECT WHEN IT COMES TO THE ARMY AND ALL OTHER BRANCHES OF THE MILITARY BUT HERE IT GOES ANYWAY… ME AND MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER HAVE BEEN TOGETHER A WHILE AND I HAVE CHILDREN.. SHE JUST FOUND OUT THAT SHE IS GETTING STATIONED OVERSEAS AND WANTS US TO GO HOW CAN THAT HAPPEN? SECOND SHE WANTS TO ADOPT THE CHILDREN AND HAVE THEM AS HER OWN.. HOW CAN SHE APPROACH THAT AND MAKE THAT HAPPEN? ANY IDEAS OR HELPFUL RESOURCES?? THANK YOU !!

    • Sarah January 22, 2013, 12:06 am

      Unfortunately, last I read, the military does not recognize domestic partnerships. She could probably adopt the children, but then just her and them would move overseas. I hope that helps a little and good luck:)

  • AKHOLIK907 November 7, 2012, 7:35 pm

    Hello, I am new to this,
    My husband and I were married 7/14/12 and he is fed up with this fighting for BAH crap.
    We turned in all necessary documents to increase his cola, he cleared his room and turned in the meal card,
    however, we have not completed command sponsorship, gotten me a dependent ID and have also not enrolled in
    tricare.
    We have a dependent. This is a child of mine from my previous relationship.
    Something is just not right.

    We are in alaska so we get overseas pay, cola should increase and he should get BAH and BAS
    if im not mistaken.

    He is having issues at the office here. The woman who took the affidavit lost it, he had to get a new one,
    the meal card paperwork was never signed off on somewhere and now his sgt is looking in to that…
    its been 4 months, and luckily i work and make a great living alone or we would not be making it right now!
    I dont even know where to start.. help anyone?

  • mei November 26, 2012, 3:06 am

    Hi, its URGENT so pleaase if u know or anyone knows the answer to this question please reply me soon as possible.THANK YOU SO MUCH god bless U.

    Anyways my husband is ETSing and I need to know if the army will pay for my plane ticket also?? U see my husband and I are leaving the state where his stationed at and planning on moving to a different state, I know the army will pay for his but I don’t know if my tickets will also be included?…THANK YOU SO MUCH, appriciate it a lot

  • qusay December 8, 2012, 2:10 am

    Hi
    I am planning to join the navy with bachelor degree that’s E-3 .I am married and have green card .my wife and daughter still live in Iraq .will I get allownce for family and dependants? if yes or not how much net pay will I get every month (in and after the boot camp) after the deduction of the taxes?( two depandants )
    Sincerely

  • Jen February 26, 2013, 11:29 pm

    My husband and I are going through a divorce and lived in CA for the last few years. Our divorce is not yet official but we have had a court decision deciding child support. Now he is stationed in Japan and did not claim dependents in the states (he didn’t submit our lease and utility bill) so he is an E-6 living in the barracks and not receiving BAH. He says an E-6 does not receive BAH… and needs to lower the child support payment but almost everything because of it. Is this right?

  • Alana March 13, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Very stumped!!! NEED ADVISE!
    I married my soldier in December and we are expecting our first child together in Sept. 2013. I have a child from a previous relationship who is 2 years old. My husband is stationed in South Korea right now, i want to move with him so our child can be around him when it comes but my ex will not agree to let me take my 1st child out of state which is Massachusetts. My husband will never be able to be stationed in Mass as long as he is in infantry while hes in due to only certain bases take infantry men. I do not know what i can do about this or how to go about it…..please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    -Alana

    • Stacey March 27, 2013, 4:04 pm

      I know several this has happened to – you need to get an attorney.

  • Jackie March 15, 2013, 12:36 am

    Hi, my husband has been in the Army for a year now but we’ve been married for over four years. I also have 2 children from a previous marriage but my current husband had me and my daughters as his dependents. We had a joint account and without telling me he opened up his own account which his pay is going to. He said he needed to do that because JAG wanted proof that he was sending me money. I was supposed to move to Ft. Campbell but a family emergency came up so I couldn’t move. He stopped sending money starting in December saying the military stopped his BAH since I couldn’t move to Kentucky. But I am more than positive that he is still claiming me and my daughters and keeping the money for himself. How can I find out if we’re still his dependents, and what is it that I can do to report him if he is not providing anything towards my family?

  • Sabreena June 20, 2013, 11:43 pm

    Hi,
    PLEASE DONT LAUGH AT ME, … MY HUSBAND KEPT HIS MILITARY STATUS FROM ME FOR YEARS!!!

    My ex-husband I found out lead a double life. We were married in 1998. I did not know that my husband was in the Army. You ask how didnt I know… well because he left all his uniforms and gear at his mothers house. He also used her address as another mailing location Good old motherly love. Right???

    So let me get to the point.
    He wasnt paying his court order child support (oh yeah the courts nor did the child support dept. have a clue)
    by the time of our divorce we were already separated (not legally-just not living together) and on the divorce decree he did not mention anything about the military income. So how I found out (we all found out was the day of the court hearing in 2011 he had his mother fax the courts deployment papers. Yes, he was ordered for deployment!!!

    Now we have 2 kids, and I dont know what to do. This knews was shocking but the most shocking aside from all the years of lives is that he he has been enlisted since 1993!

    Oh did I mention he committed adultery which lead to him having a baby by another women.

    He is currently paying child support but what about all the years before and him lying on the divorce decree and my kids have not recieved any kind of support from the military like military support or any kind of benefits giving to the kids of soldiers. I dont know what to do!!!
    I called his commander and he said all he can do is make sure he pays his child support.

    I know that I need to get an attorney but they dont come cheap. Who can I call. Why is there little to no support for ex-wives?!?

    Please Help!!!

    BIGGEST QUESTION IF SOMEONE COULD ANSWER(worth a million dollars): What would be the benefit for him to not tell me about his military status????

  • KYM August 12, 2013, 12:11 am

    My daughter is enlisting in the Army and is giving guardianship of her 2year old to me. How much money would I receive each month?

    • Stacey August 21, 2013, 3:59 pm

      None from the Army unless she sends it to you from her paycheck.

  • Holly August 12, 2013, 1:24 am

    I am looking for information concerning my son who is currently an E3 in the Navy just finished boot camp end of July. He was informed that his ex girlfriend is expecting twin girls in December and he is the father. Question 1- since these children will be born out of wedlock will the Navy require dna testing to prove paternity to qualify the babies for health benefits? Question 2 -will he recieve any other compensation in any form to help provide for these children as they will be living here with their mother in Indiana? Thanks so much in advance for any help.

    • Stacey August 21, 2013, 3:58 pm

      The military will go by who is named on the birth certificate.

  • Gabriel August 20, 2013, 8:59 pm

    Ok, I need some assistance here. I am a soldier who wants to get married to a non US citizen. However, my fiance wants to finish college before living with me. Would I receive additional pay to support her while she is studying in a foreign country?

    • Stacey August 21, 2013, 3:51 pm

      Are you going to continue to live in the barracks? The only pay that changes is getting BAH if you live off post.

  • Bridgit January 10, 2014, 6:02 am

    My sons dad and i have joint physical custody and now he is enlisting in the army and he is giving up his custody and his rights. Does this mean my son can never receive child support from his dad?

  • Summer January 24, 2014, 4:58 pm

    My sons father is an Army sergeant, and has avoided paying child support for 15 years, while at the same time collecting BAS, deployment pay, and even made a special trip to claim our son for deployment purposes. *Yet did not pay anything to us even with a court order. What resources are their to help my son and I collect monies owed to my son? My son’s father barely started paying 1 yr ago the support the court ordered when my son was 1 yrs old (now 16), how do we collect W-2′s for those years the court ordered him to provide them.? how do we collect monies owed payed by the DOD for my son. ? He claimed to the judge 2013 that the BAS was for his kids (from second family) and raising another soldiers child *all while being under contempt of court and not paying for care Medical/Dental for our son (sergeants first born.

    Please help me with this, as his father has stopped paying child support again

  • Mindi April 7, 2014, 8:32 am

    My husband is an E-5 in the ARNG. He has 9 yrs in we have 3 children and he will be deploying soon approx. how much pay will we recieve also my oldest is biologicly not his will she still recieve tricare. She is in DEERS so I was unsure how that worked.

  • anthony ortiz June 12, 2014, 7:03 pm

    im an active duty soldier married to a national guard member. and we also having a baby next month. will we get more bah for having a child.

    • Stacey Abler June 16, 2014, 8:02 am

      No, there is a with dependents rate and a single rate. None of the pay in the Army is based on the number of dependents – you either have them or you don’t.

  • denise June 15, 2014, 11:23 pm

    Hi, I have been separated from my husband going on a year. Recently he has informed me he wants a divorce. My question is, what would be my first step to take during this process. I have learned that he has been keeping a lot of information from me when it pertain to military benefits and spousal support that I was entitled to receive. If it was not for a friend of mine that has gone through this same situation i would of sign the divorce paper without getting what is/was entitled to me. I have been struggling this whole time trying to keep a roof and food over myself and daughters head. It is rough, threaten with being evicted and barely no food I don’t know where to turn for help. I would appreciate any assistance or information anyone can provide to me.

  • NORMAN LARUE BROOKS June 18, 2014, 12:55 pm

    how may I add a dependent spouse /

    • Stacey Abler June 20, 2014, 10:08 am

      You need to enroll your spouse in DEERS. They should have a local office on post.

  • StunkInABind June 20, 2014, 9:46 am

    My ex and I have been divorced for 2+ years now. He was living in Fort Knox since… I moved to Chicago and have full custody of our 2 kids. He recently moved to Fort Carson, and told me that my child support is going to drop ‘significantly’ because they arent granting him BAS and BAH anymore… he somehow finagled to get it in Fort Knox… How much would this decrease to?? I was getting 1248 a month… I am just worried not with the kids and money… Him and I are not on speaking terms, but he is doing everything he can to make me struggle. Please help!!!

    • Stacey Abler June 20, 2014, 9:59 am

      It sounds like they’re going to make him live in the barracks? If so, he will only get his base pay plus any special pays (like airborne, etc).

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