Help a newbie out :) — The Bump
Military Families

Help a newbie out :)

So DH enlisted in the Marine Corps and just left for bootcamp this week.  The recruiter warned me that it may take up to 6 weeks for any of his checks to get transferred into our account. I am just trying to figure out around how much he will be making. Here is my questions....

I looked at the military pay charts... these are the before taxes amount right?

Does he get BAH or separation pay while in bootcamp? Would this be included in his checks each month or more in a lump sum (like a back pay) when get graduates from bootcamp.

 Thanks for helping.  We asked his recruiter these questions and he wasn't sure and never gave us a definite answer before my DH left.  

 

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Re: Help a newbie out :)

  • I am pretty sure you get BAH and it should be off of where you live.  I'm unsure about the separation pay though.  Also beware that his first couple paychecks mightl be lower than average because they "may" deduct money to pay for the uniforms he will be receiving in boot camp.

    He'll get paid every 2 weeks...the 1st and 15th of every month unless they land on a weekend then he will get it the Friday before.

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  • I think the pay charts are before taxes.  I guess I've never looked into it.

    He'll get BAH based on where YOU are currently located.  So put in YOUR zip code when trying to figure out how much that will be.  He'll also get separation pay after 30 days. 

    You should receive it as part of his paychecks but there is usually some catch up in the first couple checks so it might not add up cleanly (pay + BAH + sep pay) right away. You can eventually review his pay history in My Pay to make sure he's received it all.

    Ditto pp that they'll automatically take money out of his first check for him to spend on things he'll need/want so expect it to be smaller by a few hundred dollars.

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  • I'm not going to rant about the recruiter.  There are some good ones out there but others just don't seem to want to look up any information or help a troop out after they've enlisted. Not knowing the situation, I'll just shut my trap and move on to the point of your post...

    GracieLou, good advice.  The pay charts are definitely before taxes.  Remember that the monthly amount is the same no matter how many days are in a month.  For calculation purposes, there are 30 days in every month.  The taxes are generally based on the state that he claims which is based off of his home of record.  Home of record is usually wherever he enlisted from or wherever his resident state is. 

    He is entitled to BAH based on the fact that he has a dependent (i.e. you) and typically the amount is based off of where you are currently living because he is not yet assigned to a permanent duty station.  I want to say that this amount is non-taxable, but don't quote me on that.

    He would also be entitled to Family Separation Pay (FSA) because he is away from you for at least 30 days.  He would start receiving that after 30 days.  That is usually in the amount of $250 per month.

    He may also have elected to have the Servicemember's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) which means he will have an additional amount (up to $27 a month) deducted from his paycheck.  SGLI pays out up to $400,000 in life insurance based on their parameters.  I won't go into too many details on that, because that can get a little complicated.  

    He may also elect to put money in the Thrift Savings Account (TSP).  It's like a 401(k) for the military.

    If you really want some bedtime reading, Google DoD FMR vol 7a, which is the bible for pay and entitlements.  I caution you that it can get very confusing.  I've been doing military pay for a few years as part of my job so I've had to reference it multiple times and whatever Army pay manuals supplement it.

    I hope I didn't confuse you too much, but I do suggest you also get him to set up a guest account for you on MyPay with read-only access to his LESs so you can see how he's being paid.  I know active duty gets paid on the 1st and 15th, but some active duty Army only get one LES for the end of month statement (the payment on the 1st which shows all payments and deductions).  I also really recommend you save the LESs (they can be printed or saved as a PDF) just in case there is a pay problem or a question about how much duty he performed.  Oftentimes if there is a pay issue that the pay center is acting on, you'll see information at the very bottom of the LES indicating that there is a problem.  It's jibberish if you don't understand the lingo, but trust me, it'll save you both a lot of pain if you have the LES's saved.

    MyPay usually only saves the last three months' worth of LES's, so that's also why I recommend you save them all.  After they fall off MyPay, you have to go back to DFAS to get copies and they are a pain in the @$$ to work with!

    Good luck, and welcome!


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  • Thank you all so much for the info.  I feel a tiny bit less lost in all of this.  I don't know if I can access his my pay.  His recruiter told me that my DH can just sign up to have a certain percentage of his checks be deposited into our shared bank account here at home.  It would be so hard to talk to my DH about all of this since he is at basic and all I can write him is letters.  Plus, I don't want to harass him with a bunch of questions about banking stuff that he probably doesn't even understand himself yet. 

    Is there any way to access his MyPay?  Is there like a website or anything?  I am trying to not to stress out about all the money, but it is hard.  I have been in charge of the bills and bank account for so long and now that it is out of my hands, I'm struggling not knowing when/if  and how much his paychecks will be.  

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  • imagechloebeth930:

    Thank you all so much for the info.  I feel a tiny bit less lost in all of this.  I don't know if I can access his my pay.  His recruiter told me that my DH can just sign up to have a certain percentage of his checks be deposited into our shared bank account here at home.  It would be so hard to talk to my DH about all of this since he is at basic and all I can write him is letters.  Plus, I don't want to harass him with a bunch of questions about banking stuff that he probably doesn't even understand himself yet. 

    Is there any way to access his MyPay?  Is there like a website or anything?  I am trying to not to stress out about all the money, but it is hard.  I have been in charge of the bills and bank account for so long and now that it is out of my hands, I'm struggling not knowing when/if  and how much his paychecks will be.  

    This is the website.  I don't know about getting it set up without him here, but I don't think it would hurt to give the number on there a call and chat with them about it.   

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  • image*HoneydewChestnut*:
    imagechloebeth930:

    Thank you all so much for the info.  I feel a tiny bit less lost in all of this.  I don't know if I can access his my pay.  His recruiter told me that my DH can just sign up to have a certain percentage of his checks be deposited into our shared bank account here at home.  It would be so hard to talk to my DH about all of this since he is at basic and all I can write him is letters.  Plus, I don't want to harass him with a bunch of questions about banking stuff that he probably doesn't even understand himself yet. 

    Is there any way to access his MyPay?  Is there like a website or anything?  I am trying to not to stress out about all the money, but it is hard.  I have been in charge of the bills and bank account for so long and now that it is out of my hands, I'm struggling not knowing when/if  and how much his paychecks will be.  

    This is the website.  I don't know about getting it set up without him here, but I don't think it would hurt to give the number on there a call and chat with them about it.   

    Unfortunately, they won't let you set it up for him. Once he gets an account, he can get you a log in and password so that you can view his information, but they won't give you access to his account. 

    I definitely second the recommendation to either print each month's final LES or I just save them on my computer. It helps if they come back 2 years later and say "we over paid you for that deployment." Then you can go back and prove how much you received. The 15th paycheck just gives you a paystub, the 1st's paycheck gives you the entire previous month listed out as to what you received and what was taken away.

    The first few paychecks will definitely be a little messed up looking until they can get everything balanced out. For example, if you get paid on June 15th, you'll get backpay for the portion of May that he was at bootcamp (BAH, base pay, etc) plus the pay that you'd get for those first two weeks of June. Then, July 1st you'll get the pay for the rest of June, and since you'll have hit 30 days seperation you'll get backpay for the 30 days plus whatever excess there is (if he reported mid May, you'll get like 45 daysish, or however many it is). Etc. They may set up MyPay while at bootcamp, so you could always ask him next time you get to talk to him if he has or if he could do it if he can get internet access later and that way you can keep track. 

    Good luck!

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  • Thanks.  Since he isn't allowed internet access (well at least to email or for conversation) I may just ask him in one of my next letters if they had him sign up for a my pay account or anything.  Really... thank you all again, this has been SOO helpful!!
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  • I'm a newbie to the Marine Corps lifestyle too :] FI left for bootcamp 3 weeks ago :[ I'm no help with the pay because we're not married yet. but i do know they get paid on the 1st and 15th like PP said. GL and if you wanna talk, just PM me...it's getting slightly easier everyday, but it's still a struggle, not having my best friend around.
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