How Much Does the 2020 Military Pay Raise Really Put In Your Pocket?

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Lots of cash. Getty Images
Lots of cash. Getty Images

You may have heard that the military will be getting a 3.1% pay raise in 2020. But how much is that in real money?

For the average E-5 with six years of service, a 3.1% increase means you are getting a raise of just about $0.50 an hour in your basic pay (assuming a 40-hour work week).

That E-5 will be getting a raise from $17.31 an hour to $17.85.

Without trying to sound too much like a retention officer, that's better than cooking fries -- especially when you figure in the benefits and tax-free allowances. Including those benefits an E-5 would be making about $30.32 an hour. That figure includes basic pay, Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), and the national average Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), your actual numbers may vary.

An O-3 with six years of service will see their hourly base pay increase from $34.29 an hour to $35.35 -- a little more than a $1 hourly raise. Adding on the subsistence and housing allowances brings their normal hourly pay to $47.16.

These numbers also don't take into consideration other benefits such as Tricare, shopping and recreational benefits or tax advantages.

And they also don't take into consideration marching 50 kilometers in the snow, standing double underway watches, running 5 a.m. PT in full gear or midnight flight-line duty in the rain.

All in all, it could be better, and it could be worse.

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