The military offers many benefits and resources to active-duty service members, dependents, and veterans. But sometimes, they can be challenging to find and navigate. Benefits begin for service members at recruit training and extend through their end of service. Some benefits will last a lifetime, regardless of the time served. But the majority will be based on years of service and retirement.
We have shared the recorded podcast and quick links to some of the primary benefits below, with basic explanations and best practices.
Here are tips and best practices we recommend for both the recruit and the family member.
If the recruit hasn't left for basic training, set up a new bank account with a military credit union or USAA. Military financial institutions can be easier to work with, especially during deployments. However, always shop rates regarding mortgages, car loans, and insurance.
Add a family member to their bank account, at least for the first year of service or during deployments. Managing a bank account can be overwhelming for anyone, but adding the fast tempo of a military lifestyle and keeping up with debits and credits can be challenging. Having an extra set of eyes on finances can be a relief for new military members.
Create a power of attorney with your recruit or deployed service member. A POA can save time and a lot of headaches if a loved one can sign the necessary paperwork, manage financial contracts, and pay bills on their behalf.
Review tax withholdings. The first 72 hours of recruit training can be organized chaos, including setting up payroll deductions.
Create a communication plan including 'how to deliver bad news' while in recruit training or deployed.
Although writing a last will and testament is not required, it is recommended that service members and their families have wills.
The military is the first introduction to finances for many young men and women, including taxes, savings, investing, and preparing for retirement (or transitioning out from the military). Adjusting to a steady paycheck and the sometimes randomness of deductions from their pay can be confusing.
Everything you need to know about military pay, taxes, savings, and retirement can be found on the government website Defense Finance and Accounting Service, better known as DFAS. Defense Finance & Accounting Services
2022 Military Pay Chart
The military pay charts reflect the current monthly base pay for all military members. Here is the latest pay chart for enlisted, which includes recruits attending basic training.
When service member begins boot camp their dependents are eligible and can be enrolled in DEERS (Defense Enrollment and Eligibility System). To receive a dependent ID (click here) for other benefits and support (click here). You can also call 800-538-9552. Military & Family IDs