Confused about pay and BAH. Please help!

Q. Hello,  and Thank you for your previous answer to my question Will BAH increase when we marry? That does help a bit. But I am confused about the DEERS system/program. We have went to the nearest base while he was on leave from boot, I got my military spouse ID card. In doing that process, was I added into the system, or was there a completely different thing I was supposed to do?  Also, I looked up the BAH for my zip code with dependents. It’s about 1,300. An E-1 has a monthly income of about the same, right? So that would turn out to be 2,600 for a whole month. Getting paid the 1st and 15th should be about 1,300 each? Plus Separation pay of 250? He has gotten paid about a day or two ago and the amount doesn’t add right. We only gotten a little over 900. Any ideas about this? I was told that we should get “reimbursed” for the time we were married (Dec. 27, 2011) to present. Sorry I have a lot of questions, but I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to help me. The military and everyone, basically, just leaves you in the dark and you’re going in blind.
Again, thank you :)

If you have a Military ID, then you have already been added to DEERS. Family Sep pay is only payable after 30 days have passed and can take a pay period or two to show up. You will only get BAH for your zip code if he told finance that his BAH needs to be rated at your zip code. If he has not told finance this, he will get the BAH rate of where he is at (or if at school then where his home duty station is). One thing you are not taking into account when figuring up how much he should get every two weeks are taxes, SGLI, dental, and any other allotments and deductions that he may have coming out of his pay before it hits your bank account. The only real way to figure out if you are being paid the correct amount is to look at his LES. It will show you all pay received as well as all deductions and allotments that are being taken out. Taxes alone take a good chunk of pay, then add in dental premiums he has to pay for you, SGLI premiums that he has to pay for the both of you, and any additional allotments such as car payments, child support, or other loans and it all adds up.

Again the best way to figure it out is to look at his LES and see what his pay is for BAH and see what deductions and allotments he has coming out of his paycheck.

Also know that it can take several pay periods or even months for the pay to be right after a dependent is added. Y’all have only been married for just a little over a month, and it could take another month before his pay is all straightened out.

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Bridget Carlson

Professional Photographer at Texas Love Photography
Bridget is a Mother to 4 and has been a Military Wife for 16 years. She is the author of the Dear Military Spouse column, a journalist/photographer for her local newspaper, and professional photographer. She is also the face behind Antics of a Nutty Hiker, and loves to spend her time out on the trails racking up miles =)

FTC Disclaimer About Reviews: The Company or Publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or product unless otherwise stated in the review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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One thought on “Confused about pay and BAH. Please help!

  1. The Smoke Eater's Wife

    First off, Bridget – I love your blog! You have done such a great thing opening the door to a wealth of information for military spouses!

    I am a former military spouse, former meaning my husband ETS’ed after 8 years of active duty and we’re living the civilian life now. I just wanted to elaborate on the DEERS system, because when we were newlyweds facing a deployment and trying to set up house – I was overwhelmed and confused. The acronyms and lingo. I was a mess. Bridget did a great job of answering your question, but here’s what I learned… I hope it helps you too!

    The DEERS system is your spouse ID card that allows you certain privileges aside from identifying you. They include using the PX/BX and Commissary.

    My confusion began when I thought that because I was enrolled in DEERS, that meant that I was enrolled in the health care program (Tricare) and the dental program (United Concordia.)

    In fact, it does not.

    Tricare and United Concordia are both separate, although you will need to be in the DEERS system before you can apply. You will need your solider for enrollment into each, or you’ll need your POA (Power of Attorney.)

    As far as extra pay for getting married. It doesn’t exist. It’s a common misconception that they PAY the soldiers for getting married. It simply is not true. You also do not get extra money for dependents – i.e. don’t have babies thinking you’ll get a bonus.

    The pay just looks that way because the Army has been feeding and housing your solider. When you’re married, they expect that solider to move out of the barracks. You can choose to live on base – which means you WILL NOT receive BAH. Live off base, and you will receive BAH.

    He will receive BAS – which is the money they were paying to feed him (even if he wasn’t eating on base.)

    He has to be gone for a full and complete 30 days before any TDY/Combat pay will be awarded. (TDY is when the army sends him somewhere.)

    They should reimburse you for your time… eventually. But sometimes you have to go back and forth with finance for it. And YOU as the dependent (get used to that title) cannot go to finance and “fix” it. Even with a general power of attorney. And if your solider is under a certain rank (E-4 and below) he can’t go alone to fix it himself either.

    Have him log onto his MyPay account and print out his LES. Double check ALL of the information and where the money is going.

    There are resources on base that can help you, and are meant specifically to help you. I encourage you to join an FRG. Even if you just come away with one good friend, there is a wealth of information at those meetings that you can tap into. And spouses need battle-buddies too!

    I know it’s rough in the beginning, but you’ll be spouting acronyms in no time!

    Good luck and God Bless!

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