Does the Military Pay More for Dependents?

Chief Logistics Specialist Kyle Bryant, assigned to USS Nevada, embraces his family as he returns to Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on March 21, 2017, following a routine strategic deterrent patrol. Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda R. Gray/Navy

We're thinking about having another kid, but we want to make sure we can afford it. Do we get extra pay for each child?

How much military pay you receive each month is based on different factors, including rank or "paygrade," your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), the service member's Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) and a few other pays that depend on your circumstance and job, such as the annual clothing allowance, deployment, job description, location and other factors.

You can use's pay calculator to easily figure out how much you make or download the mobile app.

When it comes to a service member having a family, known as "dependents" in military jargon, things are pretty cut and dry. Service members who are married or have children receive a "with dependents" rate for BAH instead of the "without dependents" rate.

So does the military pay more for dependents? Yes and no. But mostly no.

Yes, but not in the way you're hoping. That BAH bump comes only once, when the service member gets married or, if they don't marry, when they have more than 50% custody of their first child. After that, the rate does not change per child or per dependent -- it's a one-time thing.

But, when stationed in an area where a cost-of-living-adjusment (COLA) is paid, it is paid per family member. Because COLA is meant to offset the cost of living in that area, it makes sense that each person would receive it. So, in this case, having an extra child would get you a little extra cash.

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