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Military pay may change with deployment

Deploying Soldiers and their families should be aware of changes in their monthly paychecks.

Many military pay items may change, while others will not, when a Soldier is deployed to a combat zone.  Below is a list of basic finance changes that you can expect with deployment.

Cost of Living Allowance

There is no change to the allowance while the Soldier is deployed but Soldiers lose their entitlement to COLA on behalf of their family members if their dependents leave Alaska for more than 30 days.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence

Soldiers without meal cards will see no change.  Meal deductions will stop for Soldiers on meal cards on the day of departure and resume the day of return to home station.  

All enlisted Soldiers will receive BAS of $254.46 per month while deployed.       

Basic Allowance for Housing

Soldiers drawing BAH prior to deployment will continue to draw the same allowance while deployed unless one of the actions below are conducted:

ARD/ERD BAH

An Advance Return of Dependents is a voluntarily action requested by the Soldier for family members. 

Soldiers with dependents who conduct an ARD receive a housing allowance at the with-dependent rate for Alaska. 

An Early Return of Dependent is a command-directed action to remove family members from the local area.

Soldiers with dependents who are involved with an ERD receive their housing allowance at the with-dependents rate based on the family’s location.

If the Soldier must move off post because there is no room in the barracks, and if it is approved by the Housing Office, the Soldier is also authorized BAH at the without-dependents rate for Alaska.

Family Separation Allowance

Family Separation Allowance appears on the Leave and Earnings Statement as FSH. 

Soldiers with dependents receive $250 per month Family Separation Allowance.

Jump Pay

Jump Pay continues throughout the deployment for Soldiers who are currently on jump status.

Hardship Duty Pay Location

Hardship Duty Pay appears on the Leave and Earnings Statement as SAVE PAY.  Soldiers receive $100 per month for Hardship Duty Pay. 

Hardship Duty Pay begins the day of arrival to the hardship location and ends the day of departure from the area. 

Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger

Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay appear on the LES as HFP.  Soldiers receive $225 per month for Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay. 

This is a monthly entitlement; one day in the area qualifies the Soldier for the full amount for the month.

Per Diem

Soldiers receive $3.50 per day while outside the Continental Unites States and $2.50 per day while stateside. 

Per Diem begins the day of departure and ends the day of return to home station.  Payment is made upon return to home station and is paid in a lump sum. 

Soldiers do not receive per diem during rest and recreation leaves, emergency leave, in bad conduct status such as Absent Without Leave, while an in-patient in a hospital or a passenger on a government vessel.   

Combat Zone Tax Exclusion

All military pay for enlisted Soldiers and warrant officers is excluded from federal tax during service in a combat zone. 

For commissioned officers, the monthly exclusion is capped at the highest enlisted pay, plus hostile fire pay/ imminent danger pay, or $6,315.90 per month for 2004. 

Pay is excluded on a monthly basis; one day in the area excludes the Soldier’s pay from federal taxes for the entire month. 

Federal taxes will then not be listed under the deductions column on the Leave and Earning Statement.  

Special Leave Accrual

SLA assists Soldiers unable to take leave due to operational requirements.  Soldiers with approved SLA can carry forward up to 90 days of accrued leave into the next fiscal year. SLA is automatically approved for Soldiers who receive Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay for at least 120 continuous days during the fiscal year.

Savings Deposit Program

Soldiers can participate in the Savings Deposit Program once they enter the deployed area. 

Soldiers enroll in SDP through the deployed finance unit by allotment or through cash or check contributions. 

Deposited funds earn interest at 10 percent per year, compounded quarterly at 2.5 percent.  Monthly deposits cannot exceed the Soldier’s current pay and allowances less deductions and allotments. 

The maximum total amount allowed for deposit during the deployment is $10,000. 

Interest stops 90 days after redeployment, and Soldiers must remove their money from the program by sending a letter to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Thrift Savings Plan

Soldiers who contribute to the TSP may contribute up to 100 percent of special pay, incentive pay or bonuses. 

The annual limit for 2005 TSP contributions is $41,000 for deployed Soldiers. 

Soldiers may start TSP contributions during the annual TSP open seasons from April 15 to June 30 and from Oct. 15 to Dec. 31. 

Soldiers can conduct TSP transactions over the internet on the myPay Web site or through their Personnel Actions Clerk on form TSP-U-1. More information about the program is available at www.tsp.gov.          

Filing taxes

The IRS allows service members to delay filing taxes up to 180 days after redeployment. See www.irs.gov for details.

Powers of attorney

Specific language is required on either a general or special power of attorney for a dependent or designated representative to make changes to a service member’s military pay (see story on page S-3).

myPay and you

Soldiers can access the myPay Web site on the Internet at https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx. 

Here you can view or print your last 12 months of Leave and Earnings Statements, view or print your last four W-2 Tax Forms, make allotment changes, conduct Thrift Savings Plan transactions, create a “Restricted Access PIN” and more. 

Soldiers must have a current myPay PIN number to access this website.  If you do not have a PIN or have lost or forgotten it, you can select the New PIN link on the Web site and get a new PIN by e-mail. 

The Restricted Access PIN lets the Soldier establish a separate number for family members that allows view only access to pay information. 

No pay changes can be made with a Restricted Access PIN.  Soldiers can set up a Restricted Access PIN on the Personal Setting Page located on the main menu of myPay.  

Soldiers and family members should familiarize themselves with the myPay Web site before deployment.

For questions concerning this information at Fort Wainwright, contact the 267th Finance Battalion Customer Service desk at 353-1307 or 353-1365. At Fort Richardson the customer service number is 384-1172.