Deciphering Military Pay

Service members can receive compensation in a number of different categories. First, every service member will receive basic pay. This is their compensation for being enlisted as a service member. Certain service members will receive allowances in addition to their basic pay. BAH is the allowance for housing. This figure varies depending on the geographic area where the service member is due to differences in cost of living throughout the country. BAH should be added to the basic pay when determining income available for support. If a member is not receiving a housing allowance this may because they reside on base for free. In that scenario, the value of the benefit they are receiving in living for free should be imputed to them and tacked onto their income available for support.

BAS is an allowance to assist service members with food costs. The BAS is another allowance to include as income for support. Service members can receive additional pay for special skill sets or hazardous duty. Examples include flight pay, jump pay or service in particularly dangerous locations. This type of compensation should also be included when calculating income available for support. All of this information can be found on a service member’s leave and earnings statement (LES). It is important to obtain and review the LES in preparation for support proceedings. Many service members have access to their statements online or can request them via phone.