Military pay and allowances can be a confusing subject. There are over seventy different types of allowances and pay. For anyone, that is a lot of types to try and keep track of. Annual increases of military allowances and pay are linked to the civilian economy and wages. Currently, the laws that govern military pay mandate that the level of military pay will remain at least a half one percent greater than civilian pay increases. This amount is calculated with the Employment Cost Index from the year 2006.
At times the level of military pay can rise above or exceed these levels when authorized and funded by Congress. Here are some factors that can influence the amount of allowances and pay that you receive:
Annual Pay Raise. Based on the amount of time that you have had in the service, credit is given and your raises awarded for every two years of service. If you get a promotion, you will advance to another pay scale greater than the level that you have now. Your location (affects your Basic Allowance for Housing). Your number of dependents (affects both BAH and Basic allowance for subsistence). Any relevant cost of living allowance increase that is based on your location. Special Pay rates, based on the job, MOS, specialty or duty that you perform. Examples of Special Pay are Hazardous Duty, Flight, or Combat pay. If you are changing duty stations you can guarantee that the levels of your BAS and BAH allowances will change.
Location, Location, Location. As a Servicemember you can be placed at any station anywhere in the country. Some Servicemembers will be stationed at other places overseas, or on board ship. As a member of the armed forces in your career you can expect to be stationed at locations that have high, moderate, or low cost of living. Military pay does not make up for this directly, but you can be eligible for an allowance called a COLA (cost of living allowance) if you live in certain High cost locations worldwide.
To Qualify. If you are assigned a high area in the United States, you may qualify. There are fifty-two locations in the United States that meet this requirement. If you are forced to live overseas but your primary dependant still resides in such an area, one of high cost of living, then you may qualify also.
Special Pay. There are other types of special pay not mentioned earlier, pay such as Enlisted Flyer incentive pay, Aviation Career Incentive pay, Diving Duty Pay, Hardship duty pay, and Hostile Fire duty pay are a few of the others.