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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!

*********

Hi,

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

Hi,

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.

http://www.baseops.net/spaceatravel/

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!

52 thoughts on “Ask An Army Spouse: Pay & Benefits for Being Married to a Soldier”

  1. 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?

  2. 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?

    1. Army? Military has ruled against this. Garnishment against his pay. She should not move and go see JAG asap. Her & both children should be in DEERS & have insurance. If he is having an affair is is also illegal. Please ask her to stay calm and get her information in order so she can take care of herself and her children. Trust is gone & it hurts. Deployment are hard on everyone.

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

    2. He your current husband receiving military pay for his stepchildren now, are they Dependants on his LES, listed with DEERS, have Tricare (they should). As long as their biological father doesn’t have a problem & completes some paperwork they can go with you. I have a friend that carried his stepchildren overseas with him. This is nothing new to the military. How is your marriage? How does he treat your children? Reality check? Speak with JAG and get your questions answered. Check your husbands LES and see how he is being paid, dependants, dedication, TSP, BAH , etc… learn how to read one.

  4. 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?

    1. 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.

  5. Rosalyn P. Milton

    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

    1. Should be sent direct deposit just like his is from same dept. He split then the SBP should come out of his half. That is one way spouse get cheated on retirement. Read the law on this. Judge should have made this clear in the papers. I have still fighting this. My husband is a retired LTC w/28 yrs. Hope you saw his LES & Stocks, Etc. Disability, you are entitled to part of this..

  6. Im recently married to an e5 in the army national guard in mississippi. I have a few concerns. He does not want anyone in his unit or company or his family to know hes married at least not for a year. He doesnt want to get picked on bc we havent known eachother long. I see this as a problem bc if anything happens noone will think to notify “his girlfriend” or “his fiance” as what he has told everyone that i am. He is supposed to deploy next year. What programs do i need him to enroll in to make sure we are covered with insurance housing college? Is he even eligible for those things being as he is not regular army? He wants to go back to college. So is there a way for me to get college benefits without effecting his? Also can my kids be listed as his dependents? Someone had told him that they couldnt because they are his stepkids not his kids. How do i get involved with the army community if im supposed to keep our marriage secret? I think thats everything. So if you can help… Any information would be appreciated. Thankyou for your time.

  7. What do you do when you’re recently married to an E7 , we live in different state . He claims he gets no extra housing or food allowance for new family & refuses to help support new family ?

  8. I married my husband who is a e4 last December. I have a son from a previous marriage. We seem to non stop fight even when I tell him no to do it in front of my son. He gets all the money on his card and only gives me 100 to 200 if I’m lucky a month. He says he wants me and my son out and I will not see any of the money and me and my son will be homeless. Recently I met a neighbor that is a e7 and he told me to talk to jag, he said that they would give me the bah and part of my husbands pay and make him move back into the barreks, I’m wondering if this is true and if not what do I do. He is very mentally abusive and has hit me in the past a couple times while extremely intoxicated

  9. I was married to a 32yr,retired army Sargent e5,for 7to8yr,and never received not 1check the entire marriage, he told me he didn’t fix it to where I could receive one.is that so?and if he was receiving a check for me all those year’s how can I go about finding that information out?and make him liable for repayment, and also filing a civil suit on him.

  10. Thoughtful discussion , I was fascinated by the points , Does anyone know where I might be able to locate a blank DD 2293 version to work with ?

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