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.

Let’s dive in to discuss truth vs. rumor.


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 cases, 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 for “free.”

Instead, he will receive BAS since the Army no longer provides “three squares a day.”

Once again, this is a pay increase, and it comes with an increase in expenses…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.

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


If the soldier is already married when he has children, his pay will not increase. No increase in base pay, no increase in BAH, and no increase in BAS.


The Army does not pay for additional dependents, whether a spouse or a child, 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.

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. hello my boyfriend and i are going to get married as soon as possible he wanted to be here in kuwait but the process is i have to pay the us military mariage certificate and his tickets flight going here in kuwait…pls help me if this is true i dnt want to be scam…

  2. Hi im thinking about joing the army again when i got out i had no kids and wasnt married i now am married an have three kids will there be an increase in pay from what i was making then because i have dependants now? Just wondering

  3. Okay my boyfriend is going to join the navy. We are not married but we have a 3 month old baby. He spoke to a recruiter and said I have to put him on child support. What if we got married Before he leaves to basic training or after?

  4. Hi Stacey. .. I’m joining the military in 2 weeks…. my girlfriend have a child that is not mind, we are not marry either but been living together for 5 yrs… can I collect Bah for the child?

  5. QUESTION: I have 3 children from a previous relationship and my fiance is in the Navy. I’ve head several different things about our living situation. And I’m not sure what is true and what isnt
    1. That if we are not married and he chooses to live off base that we are responsible for our own living and moving costs. (This is understandable and I am ok with this.)
    2. That if we are married that we can live off base and he will receive ‘benefits’ such as housing etc., for me and him but not for the kids (also understandable). However I must have court ordered sole custody of my kids and I will need to provide their living and moving costs, but that I cannot take them overseas even with a court order.
    3. That even after marriage we cannot live on base unless he adopts the kids. Also that they cannot live with us (regardless of a court order).
    4. That unless deployed they cannot legal force us to be separate after marriage. Also that they cannot force me to leave my children behind.
    5. Unless contested by the Children’s father. Once my fiance and I are married. The children and I can go wherever he goes unless deployed.

    1. Did u ever get a answer? I have 3 kidswith a prior relationship and I will be getting married to someone in the army, we have a son together all in all 4 kids. Do u know what would happen.

  6. My husband has a child outside of the marriage. Adjustments will be made to lower child support. How soon will it change with his LES? The next pay check ?

  7. I married a navy guy marriage lasted 4 years he did 4,9 month cruises in that time and our son and I never got a dime of help

  8. questions I have two daughters and a baby on the way my husband is about to join the military and I’m about to get married to him 4 kilos how much would we be getting if we are married with two children and one on the way?

  9. question I’m about to get married to my fiance before he joins the military we have two kids and one on the way. Are we going to be able to make enough to support all of ourselves and enjoy life in the first year of him joining?

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