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Military Benefits

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Intangible qualities like discipline and determination are perhaps the most rewarding of all military benefits. Still, it’s nice to know that service in the Military comes with more tangible benefits than you might expect, including education, medical/dental care, 30 days of paid vacation, low-cost travel and more.

Job Training

Everyone in the Military is trained in a job specialty. Many military schools offer high-tech training. Some are accredited, so you earn college credits as you receive job training. Your aptitudes, physical abilities, motivation and determination all help decide which military career will best suit you. And most military jobs have a civilian counterpart – so you’ll have a head start if you decide to leave the Military.

Learn more about military training and opportunities

Money for College

The Military wants you to thrive and excel. During and after your time in service, the Military encourages you to advance your education. To that end, there are many programs designed to help you pay for college. The Post-9/11 GI Bill, Loan Repayment Programs, Tuition Assistance and college credit for training are some of the available options.

Learn more about Education Support

Pay, Allowances and Promotions

Servicemembers are paid twice a month based on pay grade, service requirements and time in service. A paycheck generally consists of base pay plus special pays and allowances, if a servicemember is eligible.



There are many different types of allowances, including the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Basic Allowance for Subsistence (to pay for food), cost-of-living adjustments and so on.


Explore military compensation


Compare military and civilian pay

The Military promotes people based on a combination of job knowledge and performance, time served at that level, physical fitness and the needs of the Service. Individuals joining the enlisted ranks are typically promoted three times during the first four-year enlistment. Officers are usually promoted twice during the same period, although intervals between promotions tend to last longer as rank increases.

More information about military salary levels

Free Health Care

Active-duty military members receive medical and dental care at no cost. Care and wellness programs are available through a system of military and civilian health-care facilities. In addition, the spouse and dependent children of an active-duty member may also enroll in military health care (a small enrollment fee and annual deductible may apply).

Vacation

In the Military, you receive 30 days of paid vacation each year, compared to the standard two weeks for entry-level civilian careers. What’s more, servicemembers often have access to free or low-cost travel throughout the world on military aircraft.

More about travel in the Military

Retirement

Some servicemembers make a career of the Military, and those who do are well compensated. After 15 years of service, a military member has to make a decision concerning which of the two retirement plans he or she would prefer:

  • Receive $30,000 after 15 years and then receive a retirement fund after 20 years that equals about 40 percent of his or her highest pay.
  • Receive no cash bonus at 15 years but receive a retirement fund after 20 years of service that equals about 50 percent of his or her highest pay.

In either case, you can count on the money being there when you retire.

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a policy that financially supports the family and friends of an individual who dies. As an active-duty member, you may select up to $400,000 in Service Group Life Insurance at a cost of only $27 a month, which is automatically deducted from your paycheck.

VA Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides dozens of federal benefits to veterans and their dependents, including VA home loans, educational assistance, disability compensation and more. As a military veteran, you may apply for a home loan that is guaranteed by the federal government.

Learn more about VA health care and financial-assistance programs

Thrift Savings Plan

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a government-managed retirement savings and investment plan that works similarly to a 401(k) plan, offered by private companies. At your discretion, savings are deducted from your pretax pay and invested. You don’t pay taxes on your investment earnings until you begin to withdraw them at retirement.

More information on the Thrift Savings Plan

Other Lifestyle Benefits

To thank and support those who serve, many companies extend special deals and discounts to current and former servicemembers. These aren’t official DoD-supplied benefits, but they are a great gesture of thanks and can be a real additional benefit.

More about military discounts