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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 monthly 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 options, such as through MyCAA.

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 –  he graduates in August, and then goes 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. It’s a total of 21 weeks. That is like 1/2 a year 🙁 Thank you for your time!

Once you are married, your children 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 ensure that all of his paperwork is processed promptly.

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 then. He basically got screwed from day one, 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 can finish school. I have a million questions about it as we wait until 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 of the college. At some schools, tuition will be completely covered; at some, you may still owe a great deal.

In addition, you will receive BAH based on the zip code where the school is located. This could be different if he lives remotely or is doing online school.

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 impossible to find my answers online. Questions like, He has returned to Iraq and will be there till June of next year! His main base is Hawaii, and I live with my mother in Illinois.

Can I have his household goods moved to my address without 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? Please comment if someone can provide me with information on these questions.

You don’t have to move with him 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 allows 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. Regarding his household hoods, he hasn’t been authorized for moving expenses without PCS orders in most cases.

Benefits Without Getting Married and Life Insurance

My boyfriend and I 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 to 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 assuming 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 provides food since the soldier no longer eats 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 and 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 no longer eats 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 flight preference. 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 been evicted twice in the past year from their apartment.

Her husband has stated that the Army gives them the full amount for rent and deducts it from his monthly check. 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 about sending 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 he doesn’t get bad credit for repossessions and evictions because he is in the Army. 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 impacted, affecting his security clearance (if he has one).

The only way that BAH is added to 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 offers some financial readiness and budgeting classes on post.

I would recommend that they attend those as a family if she intends to stay with him. She would need to contact his chain of command about him not providing any support.

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 he is in tons of debt because of his mother. He comes from a family of 14, and his mother always tells him it is his responsibility to help her raise the kids.

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 (like tobacco), smoking, and drinking that the money could 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. Sadly, 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 kind of problem needs to be resolved before you walk down the aisle.

Good luck!

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. Hi.. my daughter helps support us financially a while she is in the army. She is in AIT right now. She is graduating from that in Feb 28th. She was told by her commander to claim us as dependents so that we could get BHA. We turned in all of the paperwork and proof that they asked for. We turned in everything the very beginning of Nov. 2016. We are still waiting on an answer if it was approved. She is not getting any help or answers at all. They just keep telling her 10 days…this has been said multiple times. One person says one thing and someone says something else. She was in a financial planning class today and the lady who was giving the class said that it will not go through that she had to put us on as dependents at Basic Training. I tried looking on the internet to see it this was true but Im not finding anything. She has talked to several people at the office who does this and they never told her this or said no you cant do this. If you could help that would be great.


  2. My husband and I have been together almost 10 years, married 4 years and have 2 kids together. My husband is currently really thinking about joining the army. I’m have been what you would say the “bread winner” since we have been together and now with my husband wanting to join the army we seem to not be able to agree on much. My husband wants me to stay here in CA where my family is but I can’t seem to get him to understand that if he is stationed somewhere we will be going with him. How do I get him to understand this? What do have to look forward to with him joining the army? We are 26 and 25 have been together since we were 18 and 19. I will support my husband in anything because I love him. Do I just let the recruiter let him tell him what will happen?

  3. My daughter is currently pregnant. He baby is due this august. Recently her and her boyfriend went to a National Guard recruiter and was told that she could get full benefits if he joined, including insurance and college tuition help. As far as i know they do not plan on getting married. Has she misunderstood the benefits. Am i correct to say that she is not eligible for these benefits unless they are married. Thank you.

  4. Hi I have a few questions. My husband is going to leave for boot camp and I don’t know what to expect he’s the main source of income we don’t have kids but I go to college. Will I be on my own or will I get some sort of help?

  5. 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?

  6. TO THE 17 YEAR OLD PLEASE WAIT ON GETTING MARRIED because THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH BENEFITS AND THE SOLDIERS should KNOW THIS. You both have plenty of time to get married and a deployment is very hard on a relationship, then add marriage & college. Enjoy life…

    For the young lady that married her boyfriend while he was home on leave and now YOU are trying to find out ALL the information, sorry but that is not left up to you. Your Husband the Soldier is the one require to fill out the papers, he is your Sponsor. He should have never left this Country and his Command should have never let him knowing he was married and all his paperwork was not in order. But unfortunately he is not the only one that has done this. Contact his Chain of Command ASAP, his Commander. Your Husband should have a computer and can complete the paperwork on his deployment and get your DEERS , health ins, $$ in order, Life ins on both , etc in order. You both need Wills. This is a requirement of Deployment. You need copies of all his paperwork.(records, keep them in a safe place, several copies)

    Sorry if I missed understood either one of the post I read.

  7. For the young lady that married her boyfriend while he was home on leave and now YOU are trying to find out ALL the information, sorry but that is not left up to you. Your Husband the Soldier is the one require to fill out the papers, he is your Sponsor. He should have never left this Country and his Command should have never let him knowing he was married and all his paperwork was not in order. But unfortunately he is not the only one that has done this. Contact his Chain of Command ASAP, his Commander. Your Husband should have a computer and can complete the paperwork on his deployment and get your DEERS , health ins, $$ in order, Life ins on both , etc in order. You both need Wills. This is a requirement of Deployment. You need copies of all his records keep them in a safe place, several copies

  8. Hi I have been separated from my husband for 3 years now he’s a veteran he doesn’t help me financially with my son I’m aware that he starting to go to school are there any benefits I or my son can get from him now? Can someone point me in the wrong direction

  9. My daughter is married to a E-5 Seargeant in the Army sine dec. 23, 20018. He has never sent her any money, I was married to a Army soldier & I received an allotment check every month yrs. ago. Is it not mandatory for him to send her money?

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