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Understanding Army Base Pay and Allowances

I think I receive more emails about pay than anything else. So I will try to address some of the most common questions.

The pay rates given below are based on 2023 rates. All of these assume the soldier is married, lives off post, and is stationed CONUS. If soldiers are single or live on post, they will not receive BAH.

1.      WHAT PAY IS RECEIVED DURING BASIC TRAINING?

While your soldier is in basic, he will receive base pay based on his grade/rank. For instance, the base pay for an E-3 is $2,260.10. This pay is taxable while he is in training or at his duty station.

If he is married, he will also receive BAH (housing) based on where the wife lives and FSA (family separation allowance).

BAH can vary greatly depending on location. You can look up rates online – it is based on rank, zip code, and whether there are dependents.

FSA is $250/month and begins after the 30th day of separation.

Allowances are NOT taxable regardless of whether he is in training, at his duty station, or deployed.

2.      How long will it take to get paid for the first time?

Your soldier’s pay will be directly deposited into his bank account on the 1st and 15th of each month.

Some always seem to get the pay a few days ahead of time, while others don’t receive it until the exact day. This largely depends on your bank.

It will generally be about six weeks before he receives his first paycheck. Some may receive it sooner and some later, depending on when they started in the pay cycle, but six weeks is a general rule of thumb.

3.      What are clothing allowances?

Each year, your soldier will receive a clothing allowance. This is generally paid around the anniversary date.

For less than three years of service, this is around $350. For more than three years of service, it is just over $500.  This allowance is to replace any uniforms, etc.

4.      What WILL THE pay BE once AT THE assigned duty station?

He will receive his base pay, BAS (food), and BAH. BAS in 2023 is $420. This allowance is not taxable.

He may also be entitled to special pay, such as airborne (or jump pay), which is an additional $150/month.

Special pay is based on his MOS and any additional training he has received.

5.      When will we receive THE bonus?

Most people were told that their soldier would receive his bonus as soon as his training was complete. I know exactly ZERO people who have had it actually happen that way.

The bonus is broken up over the time of his enlistment. The soldier can receive up to $10,000 as the first payment.

Any remaining bonus will be divided into installments until paid out. We received my husband’s bonus on the first of each year, while others receive it close to his anniversary date. The key – don’t count on it until it’s in your hands!

And remember, this bonus is taxable! It is generally not taxable if he receives a bonus while deployed. But the bonus must be awarded overseas.

For instance, if when it is time to receive his enlistment bonus, he happens to be deployed, it will be taxed. Because technically, when he was awarded the bonus (at the time of enlistment), he was stateside.

If he re-enlists when he is overseas, it generally is not taxable because it was earned while deployed.

6.      What extra pay will be awarded whILE deployed?

First, the pay is not taxable when overseas (state and federal). The soldier will continue to receive the normal pay (base, BAS, BAH, and any special pay).

In addition, after 30 days, the soldier will receive separation pay of $250 if he or she is married.

Other pay includes imminent danger/hazardous duty pay of $225 and location pay of $100.

7. When will THERE BE raises?

While there is no guarantee, a cost of living raise is typically awarded in January of each year. This rate can sometimes vary dramatically from one year to the next.

In addition, the soldier will receive a pay increase when promoted to a new rank and with years of service (2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year, and every even year after that).

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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117 Comments

  1. My husband is now in AIT and we got married months before he shipped. We never received any FSA he’s been gone way over 30 days now. I was wondering how that worked and does he really get that in basic?

  2. I fiancée of the army soldier.he is on Libya mission and he ask a permission for comeback an we will married. But I get email. Where the say we have to pay. 3800.00 to get a permit to five months. I ever listen some think before. Is this true.

  3. Hi i am 18 and my boyfriend is leaving for basic November 17, 2014 I am going to be on his bank account he wants to ask my dad if he can marry me in uniform. so sometime when he gets back after basic he will ask. i just don’t know i live in Indiana (he does too) i plan on getting an apartment in December after this semester in college. I just can’t seem to find what the housing allowances are … (the apartment will be in his name not mine.) I don’t know how well off i will be with money and i am worried we will have money problems. i don’t currently have a job. I plan to get one while in college after i move though.

  4. Hi my name is maria i am soon to get marry with my fiance thats going to the army i want to know if i can go with him to the base and hes three daughter and if not whst will happen with us while hes in there.

  5. My nephew is leaving for basic training in a few weeks. He lived with his grandmother and contributed to half of her monthly expenses. Nowe that he is leaving, her income has been decreased. Is their anyway he can still be financially responsible for her while in the army.

  6. Hi,
    My husband recently left for army basic training on March 21st. Will i receive his first pay on the 15th of April, because he didnt get payed on the 1st of April? Also, what are the dates i will receive the BAH & FSA & Food?

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