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Rumor Mill: Waiting for First Paycheck


My soldier has to wait four to six weeks to receive his first paycheck but I’ve heard there are ways to get around it.


Unfortunately, this rumor is generally true as the first paycheck typically does take four to six weeks to arrive. It depends on when in the pay cycle he begins basic training, if he has all of the necessary paperwork completed and how fast they process the paperwork.

In most situations, he will receive his first paycheck within two pay cycles of starting basic training (not arriving there). However, I always tell everyone to be prepared for six weeks just in case.

Some people have emailed me to say they heard that the recruiter can speed up the paycheck process and help him get it faster – FALSE. The recruiter doesn’t have anything to do with him getting paid.

Some have said if they complete all of the paperwork ahead of time, he will get paid faster – FALSE. While this does help and ensures mistakes are not made on the paperwork, having the paperwork completed before he arrives will not speed up the process. However, it is a good idea to have all of this information gathered up before he leaves so he has what he needs.

Typically, there is enough time between him leaving his current job and enlisting in the Army to set up a plan to avoid financial hardship while waiting for his first paycheck. Calling his commanding officer will not speed up the process or help out your soldier. If all else fails, call your creditors and let them know the situation. They are much more understanding if you make the call versus waiting to be called about a late bill.

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

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • ARMYWiFEGARCiA October 15, 2010, 6:43 am

    Hi, I was curious as to when my husband should be receiving his first paycheck? He left for basic training on Sept. 20 and we’ve yet to receive anything, I’ve tried to explain to our Landlord about our situation, either she doesn’t understand or just doesn’t care. Your advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

    • Stacey October 25, 2010, 3:05 pm

      I sincerely hope you have already been paid. If not, I would think November 1st would be the latest. Good luck!

    • Erin November 13, 2010, 5:52 pm

      You should try talking to your local Red Cross. They got me a small loan to get by on while we waited. They will take 40 dollars out of his pay until it is payed off.

    • Sherry October 14, 2015, 11:19 am

      I know it is easy to say but hard to believe that your land lord can not do anything about non-payment or late payment as long as you . You need to submit a letter in writing along with a copy of his orders (you may have to see his recruiter to get this from his record) letting them know that you are protected under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and are afforded federal protections against eviction or late payments.

  • KellyMae November 27, 2010, 6:16 pm

    My husband just joined the army and he leaves on Jan 4, to go to Ft Jackson SC for basic & AIT as a paralegal. I was curious if Basic housing allowance is considered to be apart of his paycheck? thank you! I am so excited to become a Army Wife!

  • Christina January 5, 2011, 5:30 am

    Just a note: My husband was told when he enlisted that if they did not want their pay delayed that they should not split their pay (ie., have your check put into 2 different accounts). When he left for Christmas Exodus, there were soldiers who did not listen who split their pay and still had not received their first check.
    Although not splitting your check doesn’t guarantee a quick arrival (we waited the full 6 weeks before his pay cleared) I would recommend not trying to get the Army to do anything fancy with your check.

  • ContrerasArmyWife January 19, 2011, 3:22 am

    Hi, i will be living with my parents while my husband is in basics, will we still qualify for BAH (we have 6 kids) & for medical do we have to go base for medical or can we go anywhere? thanks & i appreciate this site very much!
    God Bless.

    • Stacey January 19, 2011, 11:16 am

      Yes, you will still qualify for BAH. As for medical, you will need to go to physicians who accept Tricare but you won’t have to go to a military post while he’s in basic.

  • Nic February 2, 2011, 1:40 pm

    Quick question, do SIT’s get paid For their time in reception or Just when they are placed in the CO unit in Basic? (If a SIT arrived say Jan 19th into reception, would they be paid from that date forward or from the time they were placed into their Basic CO & PLT.) ???

    • Stacey February 8, 2011, 8:07 pm

      Should be paid from the time they get to reception.

  • mariah May 5, 2011, 2:17 am

    my husband enlisted in the Army and will be leaving july 11th for fort jackson in south carolina.We have a little girl together and by that time she will only be a few weeks to days old. When will he recieve his first check and about how much will that be? also what is the normal amount for the other paychecks?

  • Becca July 15, 2011, 7:32 pm

    Hello, my husband just joined the army and will be leaving for fort Leonard Wood in November I have been going to other sites to get information that I have been wondering about and this site has already answered some of those for me but I have a few more…..

    my husband will do basic and AIT at fort Leonard wood , the day of AIT graduation will he get to come home with us or do we need to get a hotel room?

    Also I was told since we want on base housing we won’t have to pay rent or utilities ?
    We are a family of five and I didn’t know why my husbands at basic and AIT if we will recieve the full amount of BAH since while he is away the kids and I will be living with my parents.

  • Jessica August 9, 2011, 4:41 pm

    I have noticed that most of you are saying to expect a wait of 6 weeks before his first check during basic. What if I can’t wait that long? We have a daughter who definitely needs diapers & food! And we of course have bills to pay. We live check to check now, so after his last day of work (which is tomorrow), that will be all the money we have to live on until his first check from the Army. He leaves for basic in about 2 weeks. Advice? Thanks & God bless 🙂

  • Marah Conner September 30, 2011, 11:40 pm

    Me and my husband recently got married in January of 2011. He just left this september for basic and its been killing me.. even though i cannot wait for December to come.. because he will have graduation AND the two weeks of leave for christmas.. which i will gladly enjoy.. its hard for me especially since its our first year of marriage.. to be away from him.. We probably wont be in our own home till April or even May.. Does this get any easier??

    I miss my husband.

  • Keishia October 4, 2011, 3:06 am

    My husband is enlisting in the army I don’t know much about the army but this site has helped me understand things and has answered a lot of my questions. Well pretty much my situation is I am currently working and am trying to make room for school we have a 3yr old daughter. Right now I am renting a house and the lease isn’t up until March, I wanted to know does the army help out as far as assisting me for the house I already have or do I have to live on base for that? and what all kind of allowances do you get? This is all very new to us both and we are just doing as much research as we possibly can.

    • Stacey October 11, 2011, 9:10 pm

      They don’t help with your existing house as far as selling it or anything. While he’s in training, you will receive a housing allowance though. Once he is permanently stationed, you can choose to live on post or off.

  • Jessica D November 28, 2011, 3:39 am

    so i just received my husbands first check from basic and i know that he should get a little over $1700 i also know that the amount is taxable. his check was just short of $960 and that’s about how much the BHS is. so is this the average amount i should expect every month from a full check? because we thought it was going to be at least over a $1000.
    please let me know i’m really stressing about it.

    • Stacey November 28, 2011, 7:48 pm

      What time period does the paycheck cover? An E-2 pay is $1644.90 per month plus he will receive BAH based on your zip code. After the first 30 days of separation, he’ll also receive that allowance ($250 last time I checked it). His base pay is taxable whereas the allowances are not. It’s also possible he had some expenses taken out.

  • nicole December 19, 2011, 11:31 pm

    Ok so my husbands about to swear in and we are living pay check to pau check and were livong with my parent and will continue to be living with them till he gets out of basic will me and our 6 month old recieve soneof the pay while hes in basicw

  • Isabel February 22, 2012, 4:22 am

    hi i had a couple of questions…
    In my husband’s first paycheck will BAH be included in the paycheck?

    if not, how soon do i start getting BAH?

    is BAH split into 2 payments in the month?

    • Stacey February 22, 2012, 7:38 am

      As long as he completed all of the paperwork, it should be included. Pay is generally split in half.

  • unknown October 11, 2012, 11:23 am

    My husband is reenlisting into the Army. He has already done eight years in the guard but thi time he is gctive duty. How long does it take to get stationed after reenlisting since he doesn’t have to go to basic or ait?

  • Shanele August 26, 2014, 11:11 am

    So I leave for basic next week and I know they are going to want us to buy things in reception, will they give us some of our pay out of our first paycheck, or how does that work

  • Crystal Irizarry November 16, 2015, 1:00 pm

    Hello my husband left for basic training on October 19,2015. Does anyone know when he will receive his first paycheck? i thought it would be the 15th of the month in November but i was wrong.

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