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. Hi – If the solider has a dependent and is not married would they still be able to bring their dependent with them to their base once they receive housing?

  2. My son is a marine and in calif he came home on leave,got married to a girl in n.c,she is college there.Will have to move off base?or can he live there till he get station in Jacksonville n.c

  3. My son is a marine and in calif he came home on leave,got married to a girl in n.c,she in is college there.Will have to move off base?or can he live there till he get station in Jacksonville n.c

  4. HI, I am a grandparent that has custody of a 3 year old dependent. Dad just got out of Basic training and is off to ait for 26 weeks. Before he left we agreed on a small amount of support since the court never set anything. He is not my son. the agreement was that after he got out of basic that i would go to the child support division and let them determine child support. When I got to basic training graduation he told me that if I go to child support enforcement that they will take almost his entire check. He is an e1. So he asked me to wait to do so. I find this hard to believe, and really dont believe it. I am asking for any advice or referral to someone who would know?
    Thank you.

    1. You could contact JAG to see if they could offer advice? There should be a JAG office on most military posts – you don’t have to call the one where he is.

  5. I am seeing someone who has a child by previous marriage. when this child was borned did it automatically become his dependent through service.

    1. Any child born to a servicemember is considered to be a dependent. But he would still need to go through the proper procedures so that the child is covered under Tricare, etc.

  6. I joined the U.S. Army in 1959 and was honorably discharges 1962 at the rank of E-5. I was married and had a child, then divorced and had to pay child support which was deducted from my pay each month. During this time I was with a combat unit in Augsburg and Berlin Germany. The child support took almost half of my pay. Did the Armed Forces have any kind of extra pay if the member had dependents during that time period? If unknown, can you give me the name of the agency to get this answer?

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