Enlistment and Reenlistment Bonuses

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In addition to pay, there are two types of bonuses that encourage members to start and/or stay in the service. The following is a summary of the bonuses service members are eligible to receive:

Enlistment Bonus

There are many benefits to joining the military, but few directly affect your pay as much as enlistment bonuses. In fact, if you enlist in military you may be eligible for up to $40,000 in cash bonuses.

Your actual bonus will depend on the service branch, specific job specialty -- also known as a rating (Navy), AFCS (Air Force), or MOS (Army and Marine Corps) - and length of enlistment contract. 

Reenlistment Bonus

If you are an active duty member you may be eligible for a reenlistment (or retention) bonus, if:

  • You have completed at least 17 months of continuous active duty (other than for training) but not more than fourteen years of active duty.
  • You are qualified in a critical military skill.
  • You aren't receiving special nuclear-training pay.
  • You reenlist or voluntarily extend your enlistment for a period of at least three years.
  • You enlist in a regular component of the service concerned; or continue in a reserve component of the service concerned.

Refund of Bonuses:

Be aware that if you voluntarily, or because of misconduct, don't complete the term of enlistment (or reenlistment) for which a bonus was paid, or are not technically qualified in the skill for which the bonus was paid, you must refund a prorated portion of the bonus according to the time of service left on your contract.

Each service's policy and guidelines for re-enlistment bonuses are different and change periodically based on the current needs of the service. 

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Related Topics

Military Pay