military paycheck faq

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.


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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  1. I am enlisting in the army my husband has a couple of charges on his background does that effect him being able to go with me??

    1. UMM…. Jordan i ask if i could go to the army and they did a back round check on me and i have 2 disoraly conduct or how ever u spell it. It depends on what charges ur husband has.

  2. just a tidbit. All soldiers do recieve BAH. However, it is in no way created equal. As a single E-4 with no spouse or dependants, living in the barracks, I recieve $8.10/month BAH. BAH rate in my area if I were married is $759. This is the equivilant to renting a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, about 650 sq. ft. appartment.
    That being said, my living space is around a 180 sq ft. bedroom with a shared bathroom and kitchen area. (which btw has no means cooking anything other than in a microwave)
    Hardly the deffinition of “equal pay for equal work.”

  3. Hi,
    I am marrying my boyfriend who is enlisted, very soon. I’ve read the comments and understand how BAH works but he will more than likely get deployed before years end. I just wanted to know if he gets deployed how he will receive his money while stationed over seas. If he has no access to his bank the direct deposit thing wouldn’t help out. How will the army take care of his expenses there?

    1. He will either need to set up automatic drafts before he leaves or have someone here who can take care of his bills while he is deployed.

  4. My spouse said he is projected to go to Korea for a year. We were wondering how does that effect his pay? We know we will still recieve bah,regular pay and seperation pay(i think). But does he get hardship pay? And some of his fellow soldiers keep telling him he wont be taxed, but we didn’t think that was correct seeing as it is a US Post. Also our son and I will be staying stateside.

  5. Hey I’m enlisting in the army and I have a brother I help out to pay rent is their any way I can help him when I’m in the army

    1. You can claim your brother as your dependant after your provide proof that you are helping to support him and after some lengthy paperwork. Talk to your chain for more details.

  6. I’m a single guy. I’m 19 years of age. I want to go in as infantry. Will I get a good amount of money if I serve 10+ yrs ??

    1. My husband is infantry, while he was single he made a good income just being there for 2 years. But he only made enough for living and things like dates or drinking. Never enough for vacation, come leave time.

  7. Hello,

    My husband just joined the army and is currently in basic. I was wondering when I can expect our BAH so that I can pay our mortgage and not have to pay it late. I do not make enough money to support my whole household on my own, and I was just wondering if I should be expecting some help sometime soon. I have access to all of our accounts so I know that if it comes in I will be able to pay for the bills.


  8. Hey,

    My boyfriend and I are getting married before he goes to basic. I am attending college already, So next year when he is away I will be a softomore. I was wondering if there would be any benifits that I could recive. I also have heard that I can get help with a place while he is away. Is this true?

    – soon to be army wife

  9. Hello, i am an army wife, were still kinda new married couple but we been bf/gf for more than 3yrs now, so im still new about military stuff and don’t know a lot of info, my hubby is e6 (career counselor) and been in the army for 14yrs now, im not that type of person who ask a lot of questions especially if it comes about money, that is why i even don’t know how much exactly my husband get payed everymonth, i still don’t have any access in his card so i really don’t have any idea whats going on with our financial thing, i am just waiting that he will tell me everything one day without me asking about it, i also don’t have a job yet so most of the time im just at home. I just wanted to know how much he exactly make everymonth, included with everything, and is it true that being married can get additional pay? Does military spouse has a right or included into some of their allowance?

    Thanks and i hope somebody can answer my questions.

  10. My husband will be leaving for Basic and AIT training soon. We have been raising my 16 year old sister since birth when my mom passed. We don’t have any legal guardianship or custody and has never had to pursuit any. How would this affect our chances of receiving on-base housing and adding her to our benefits package? Also, if there is a problem, what steps must we take to prepare for this transition in our lives.

    Thank You

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