Basic Pay: All servicemembers receive basic pay. It is the bulk of their pay, and it is based on rank and length of service. As a member of the Guard or reserve your basic pay is based on your paygrade and the number of drill periods (4 hours each) you serve each month. Regular weekend drills are paid on a 2 drill period per day basis. So each full weekend drill is actually worth 4 drill periods. See the Reserve Drill Pay Calculator for more details.
For training events longer than a weekend, you are given prorated Basic Pay. In addition, when activated Guardsmen and Reservists are paid just like their Active Duty counterparts. See the active duty pay charts for further details.
Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)
BAS is a non-taxable allowance for food. Officers receive this allowance regardless of grade. Enlisted members may receive this allowance based on the availability of government mess (dining facility), or if authorized to mess (eat) separately when government mess is available. Normally, enlisted members who are living in barracks are required to eat in dining facilities on their bases and therefore would not be entitled to BAS.
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
BAH is a non-taxable allowance for housing. BAH is payable to members on active-duty according to length of time on active duty, their pay grade, family status, and geographical location. The allowance is based upon costs of adequate housing for civilians with comparable income levels in the same area.
The yearly clothing allowance enables enlisted members to care for and replace their uniforms. Officers receive an initial allowance to purchase military clothing but do not receive a replacement or maintenance allowance. An extra clothing allowance may be authorized for special requirements or types of duty, but this is limited.
Incentive or Special Pay
Pay may also include additional pay for dangerous, highly skilled or undesirable assignments. For example:
Hazardous Duty Pay - Special pay for parachutists, diver, demolition experts, and other hazardous duties.
Career Sea Pay - A monthly pay based on accrued years of sea duty.
Flight Pay - Incentive pay for those in the aviation field or whose jobs require extensive flying.
Hostile Fire Pay - Paid to service members who work in an officially declared hostile fire zone (not war).
Thrift Savings Plan - Tax Exempt Contributions to a 401(k) style retirement plan.
Retirement Pay - Retirement pay for Reservists is not automatic. You must apply for it prior to your 60th birthday, which is the age of eligibility. You will receive an annual retirement points report and will use these point totals to compute your retirement pay. First, divide the total number of points by 360. This figure equals the precise number of years of service for retirement pay computation purposes. Second, multiply the number by .025. Third, apply that percentage times the dollar amount of active duty basic pay for your grade and number of years of service.
To be eligible for pay, you must have completed a minimum of 20 years of qualifying service (active-duty or in reserve status). To apply for retired pay, you must submit DD Form 108 or verifying letter. Normally, an application package is sent to all eligible members at least six months before the 60th birthday but if you have not received these forms, it is up to you to obtain them. The application must be completed and filed at least three months before your 60th birthday.
Retired pay stops when the service member dies. The only way to pass on part of the retired pay to eligible survivors is to participate in the Survivor's Benefit Plan.
For more on the above pays, and more, see the Active Duty Pay and Withholdings section.
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