Understanding LES Entitlements: Pays and Allowances


Understanding LES Entitlements - how You read your military paycheck stubEvery month, military service members receive a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES). Raleigh has done a great job of reviewing LES basics in this article, How To Read A Military LES.  It's an epic post!  And because it is so epic, there wasn't really room to include what all those Entitlements, Deductions, and Allotments abbreviations actually mean.  In fact, it is so much that I'm not even going to try to cover it in one post.  So, today you get Entitlements.  The Entitlements section of your LES contains everything that the military is paying you, both pays and allowances.  I'll do Deductions and Allotments within the net few days.

The Big Three of Pays and Allowances

The most common pay and allowances are BASE PAY, BAS, and BAH.


BASE PAY is pretty simple - this is the basic monthly pay that you receive based upon your rank and time in service.


BAS stands for Basic Allowance for Subsistence.  This is the monthly allowance that is given for feeding the military member.  Historically, military members were provided with room and board (a place to stay and food) as part of their military service.  As the military evolved, more and more military members began to be authorized to eat outside of the dining facilities, and BAS was developed to compensate for this expense.  Now, all members who are not in the initial training pipelines  receive BAS, though those who are expected to eat in a dining facility or on board a ship will be charged for those means, often through a meal deduction.


BAH stands for Basic Allowance for Housing, though it is also used for Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) and Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance (they get lumped together into one dollar amount.)  This is either:
  • if stationed in the United Stations, the BAH for your location and rank,
  • if stationed overseas, or the actual rental costs, up to the OHA limit for your location and rank,  plus the Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance based upon your location and rank.
If you live in the barracks, or in certain government owned quarters that are not public-private venture (PPV), you may not receive BAH.  Those who live in PPV housing typically receive BAH, and have it deducted again the deductions section.

Other Pays and Allowances

There is a huge list of less common, rare, and truly odd special pays and allowances.  I'm not going to write about them all here, as this post would be 10 times as long as it already is.  If you have one of these pays or allowances on your LES, and you are not sure what it is for, you can do a quick internet search by using the actual name listed below.

AB = Accession bonus

ACIP = Aviation Career Incentive Pay

ACP = Aviation Continuation Pay

AIP = Assignment Incentive Pay

ASP = Additional Special Pay

BAQ = Basic Allowance for Quarters

BCP = Board Certified Pay Special Pay

CCA = Civilian Clothing Allowance

BRA = Basic Replacement Allowance

Continuation Pay

CCCA = Continuing Civilian Clothing Allowance

CCRA = Cash Clothing Replacement Allowance

CEFIP = Career Enlisted Flyer Incentive Pay

CIP = Combat-related Injury & Rehabilitation

CMA = Clothing Maintenance Allowance or Clothing Allowance

COLA = Cost of Living Allowance

CONUS COLA = Continental U.S. Cost of Living Allowance

Combat Duty

Combat Zone Pay

CRA = Clothing Replacement Allowance

CSP = Career Sea Pay

CSP-P = Career Sea Pay – Premium

CSRB = Critical Skills Retention Bonus

CVI = Conditional Voluntary Indefinite Status

DLA = Dislocation Allowance

Dive Pay

DSCT = Meal Discount Meal

FDP = Foreign Duty Pay

FLPB = Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus

Flight or Fly Pay

FSA = Family Separation Allowance

FSH = Family Separation Housing

FSSA = Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance

HALO = High Altitude/Low Altitude

HDIP = Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay

HDP – Involuntary Extension =Hardship Duty Pay – Involuntary Extension

HDP – L =Hardship Duty Pay - Location

HDP – M =Hardship Duty Pay – Mission

HFP/IDP = Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay

HFP-L = Hostile Fire Pay - Location

HZD = Hazardous Duty Pay

ICCA=  Initial Civilian Clothing Allowance

IDP = Imminent Danger Pay (can also mean Independent Duty Corpsman)

ISP = Incentive Special Pay

Jump Pay

LQA Living Quarters Allowance

Maternity Clothing Allowance

MIHA – Miscellaneous = Moving Housing Allowance - Miscellaneous

MIHA – Rent = Moving Housing Allowance – Rent

MIHA – Security Moving = Housing Allowance - Security

MRB = Multiyear Retention Bonus

MSP = Multiyear Special Pay

NIB = Nuclear Career Annual Incentive Bonus

NPAB = Nuclear Power Accession Bonus

Nuclear – Continuation Pay

OEP = Overseas Extension Pay

OHA = Overseas Housing Allowance

OCONUS COLA=  Outside Continental United States Cost of Living Allowance

OTEIP = Army Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Pay

OVERSEAS COLA = Overseas Cost of Living Allowance

Overseas Extension Pay

PCCA = Partial Civilian Clothing Allowance

RBMA = Reserve Basic Maintenance Allowance

SBP = Military Survivor Benefits Plan

SAVE PAY = used for a variety of different pays

Special Duty Assignment Pay

SDIP = Submarine Duty Incentive Pay

Sea Pay

SEA = Subsistence Expense Allowance

SEB = Selective Enlistment Bonus

SepRats = Separation Rations

SMA = Standard or Separate Maintenance Allowance

Special Duty Pay

Specialty Pay

SPO = Split Payment Option

SR = Separation Rations

SRA = Standard Replacement Allowance

SRB = Selective Reenlistment Bonus

Standard Initial Clothing Allowance

Submarine Pay Submarine Pay

SUPP CMA = Enlisted Supplemental Clothing Allowance

TDYCCA = Temporary Duty Civilian Clothing Allowance

TLE CONUS = Temporary Lodging Expense in US

TLA = Temporary Living Allowance

TLA OCONUS = Temporary Lodging Allowance Outside US

TQSA = Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance

VI = Voluntary Indefinite Status

VBSS = Duty Maritime Visit, Board, Search & Seizure Duty

VSP = Variable Special Pay

As you can see, this is quite a list.  If you have a pay not listed, I'd love to hear about it!

See the next post on this subject, Understanding LES Deductions.


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