For most IA Sailors, there are financial concerns when mobilizing that may range from small to great. As part of your readiness and to make you an overall more resilient Sailor, you should be aware of the benefits as well as some of the special services available to you to help you while mobilized. There are many financial incentives for mobilization, which fall into the following broad categories.
- Basic Pay
- Travel Pay
- Special Pay
- Tax Liability Relief
- Financial Services
Basic pay includes the basic active duty wage based on time-in-service and paygrade, the basic allowance for subsistence (BAS) and the basic allowance for housing (BAH) based on the Page 2 location the member is deploying from. Sometimes questions related to BAS arise when IA Sailors are in a location where government messing is provided. The following clarification is provided by the Navy Pay and Personnel Support Center (NPPSC):
IAW DODFMR Vol 7A Para 250201, all officers and all enlisted members are entitled to BAS. However, IAW DODFMR Vol 7A Para 250204, all members must pay for all meals or rations received from a government mess. The latter does not negate BAS, however. The BAS payment rules stands. Rather, in the latter condition, reimbursement of the government will be required:
- Officers will always pay for their meals as shown on their mess bills via their mess treasurer.
- Enlisted members will have a meal deduction posted to their pay accounts anytime they are on field duty, sea duty, or accession pipeline.
There are no exceptions to the meal deductions for IAs, if they are in a field duty status then they will have meal deductions on their accounts.
IA Sailors (both AC and RC) will collect BAH based on the PLEAD (home address) shown in the member's mobilization orders. For RC sailors, this is derived from the member's Page 2 record. For AC Sailors this is derived from the member's current PDS except where member has been approved for BAH based on dependent's location.
In addition, when deployed/mobilized to a location greater than 50 miles from their Page 2 residence, they will be entitled to per diem. Normally, no per diem is payable for TDY exceeding 180 days without Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) approval, per the JFTR. Currently, per diem is being paid to Sailors on contingency operations orders exceeding 180 days based on a SECNAV determination (see ASN (M&RA) memo July 8, 2013).
- In locations where mobilized personnel are expected to procure their own lodging and meals, the per diem will include lodging (government or commercial), meals (government or commercial) and incidentals ($3.50 per day).
- In some AORs where the government provides all lodging and meals (e.g., forts, FOBs, and other operational posts) "Incidentals Only Per Diem" applies ($3.50 per day).
- Reimbursing travel pay is the responsibility of CNIC, for which they have provided reference info and files.
ASN (M&RA) policy generally restricts IAs to receiving per diem entitlements for not more than two years in one geographic location, however specific time limitations on TDY entitlements are reflected in the “stoplight charts” and “flow charts” discussed below. The TDY Entitlements policy breaks IA Sailors into three general categories:
- AC Sailors
- RC Sailors with existing TDY orders
- RC Sailors with new TDY orders
Each of these categories has specific rules regarding their TDY Entitlements. Due to the complexity of the new policy, USFF N1 issued two memorandums supporting the generation of new RC IA TDY orders and implementation plans for existing RC IA TDY orders. (Note: “Existing” orders are defined as orders dated on or before July 8, 2013.) Supporting these two memorandums, the TDY Entitlements Implementation Stoplight Charts and TDY Entitlements Flow Charts provide amplifying details.
Questions regarding this policy and/or specific situations, work through your chain of command. Any issues that cannot be resolved contact USFF IA Support.
Numerous special pays may apply, depending on the Sailor's location, mission and unique qualifications. These special pays are discussed in detail on the IA Pay page.
Tax Liability Relief
In addition to extra pay, there are opportunities for IA Sailors to reduce their tax liability. For RC Sailors with equivalent earnings in their civilian career, an immediate tax reduction comes from the fact that BAH and BAS elements of their military pay are not taxed. Additionally, the following may also apply:
- Combat Zone Tax Exclusion
- Complete tax free pay Enlisted/Warrants
- Officers up to allowable limit
- Stops at the end of the month of zone departure
- Social Security and Medicare still collected
- Enlisted bonuses and subsequent installments tax free
- Officer bonuses and subsequent installments tax free to limit
- Entire month credit with one day in zone
- Additionally, IA Sailors should take this opportunity to review their traditional and ROTH TSP elections.
- Savings Deposit Program (SDP): The SDP is available to IAs serving in designated AORs and is intended to incentivize saving. Deposits in the program earn a government guaranteed 10% annual interest return.
- Financial Counseling: Available free through Military OneSource, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) will meet with you, review your income, liabilities, and help you develop a budget and a savings plan to support your financial goals.
- Tax Preparation: Free e-filing, another service available free through Military One Source.
- Apply for reduction of interest to a maximum allowable rate of 6% for any credit obligation, terminate certain leases and service contracts, and protect your family from eviction and sign up for alerts to protect your credit and your identity while deployed.
- For additional topics and guidance, refer to the MilitaryOne Source personal financial management page, call Military OneSource directly at 1-800-342-9647, or refer to "Before You Go," a pre-deployment financial readiness brief.
- Establishment of active pay accounts is a common problem RC personnel experience. The switch should be done at NMPS and RC personnel should work with NMPS staff to ensure that their pay account is up and running. No RC personnel should ever depart CONUS on mobilization orders without an active pay account.
- Another issue for RC personnel is a lack of understanding of entitlements. Many may find "A Compass for Entitlements While Reservists are on Active Duty" a helpful overview in this regard.
- There are some pay changes IA Sailors who are mobilizing from a sea-duty assignment to a non-sea-duty assignment (for example, an IAMM Sailor currently assigned to a USS vessel but mobilizing to a Provincial Reconstruction Team) need to monitor on their LES to avoid overpayment or underpayment during the IA assignment:
- Sea Pay
- Not eligible after 31st day of IA assignment
- Sea counter stopped with the stop of sea pay
- Special detailing considered for credit of IA assignment
- Meal Deduction
- No meal deduction for entire IA assignment
- Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP)
- Eligibility can continue up to the first 90 days of IA assignment
- If command transfers special duty assignment to another qualified command member, SDAP can be stopped the first day of IA assignment