Paycheck Chronicles

Kate is Clueless: Adding Up The Cash Benefits of Military Marriage


A little while back, a reader commented that her new husband was going to earn an extra $14,000 over the course of a 12 month deployment, because they had married before he left.  Well, I am clearly clueless about this one.  As far as I can figure, there are two ways that getting married increases your cash income.  Number one is the difference between Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) without dependents and BAH with dependents.  Number two is Family Separation Allowance when he is actually gone.

Even if they lived in San Francisco or some other high BAH area, the difference between without dependents and with dependents is unlikely to ever exceed $650 per month, an in an average area it will be much, much less.  I just did a quick BAH query on the last three places we've lived, and put in random ranks, and the differences were  $410 per month, $183 per month, and $604 per month (Honolulu - wow!).

Family Separation Allowance is $250 per month, it begins after the 30th day of separation due to deployment or temporary duty, and it is pro-rated to the days actually separated.

Now, there are all sorts of financial reasons while couples who include a military member would want to get married.  Health insurance is hugely expensive in the real world, and the commissary and exchange can offer good value (depending where you live and what sort of competition is available), and the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is not available to partners, just spouses.  However, I've never considered that military members could choose to marry for the extra cash compensation.

So, readers, help me out.  What am I missing here?  Are there other cash financial benefits to marrying if you are in the military?  I need to learn.

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