Paycheck Chronicles

From The Mailbag: NMCRS Debt on LES


There are some things about the military's pay system that just can't be explained.  Today's email highlights one of those inexplicable things you might find on your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES.)

Dear Kate,

My husband's LES has a deduction for "NMCRS Debt."  I know that NMCRS stands for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, but he hasn't borrowed money from them.  I tried to call their local office but they aren't open today.  Why would they just take money from his paycheck?  Why would they even be able to do that?

Also Kate

I can completely understand why Kate would be wondering about this.  It makes no sense that the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society would be taking out money if Kate's husband didn't get a loan from them.  But sometimes things aren't always what they say they are...

Dear Kate,

Of course you are confused!  For some reason that I have never been able to figure out, the amount listed on an LES next to "NMCRS Debt" is not actually a payment to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.  It's a repayment of a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) loan.  Did your husband take a loan from his TSP account?

If you get a loan from the NMCRS, it actually shows up on your LES as a government debt.

It makes no sense, but it is true.

I hope that makes a lot more sense, and I hope you're able to laugh a little about the silliness of the military's pay system.

Thanks for writing in,


The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society  is a fabulous resource for military members, offering a wide variety of ways to help military families.  This includes the Quick Assist Loan, where you can get up to $500 quickly with little paperwork, regular loans and grants for larger needs, one-on-one budget counseling, and various classes including the ever popular Budget for Baby class.  I encourage you to use NMCRS when you need a little help with your finances, just don't be surprised when it doesn't show up as NMCRS on your LES.

Do you have questions for Kate?  Email her at!

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