Trans World Assurance Blog

How to Save Money During Your Spouse's Remote Military Tour

Posted on Wed, Feb 29, 2012
Remote military tours can take a toll on the family unit, as active duty personnel prepare to spend 12 months apart from their families. If your spouse is about to leave for their remote military tour, you can save extra money during their absence by taking advantage of the monetary benefits you receive. 

Family Separation Allowance (FSA)

Family Separation Allowance (FSA) is payable to active duty personnel with dependents who serve an unaccompanied tour at a rate of $250 per month, provided they meet certain criteria. Family Separation Allowance starts to accrue the day before departure and ends the day before they are due to return home to their home station. Family Separation Allowance is paid in addition to any per diem benefits being paid, as long as conditions are met.

If you are frugal, you can bank $3000 of Family Separation Allowance over the 12 month remote tour, which can help to pay down debt. Even if you are married to another servicemember, you might still be entitled to receive Family Separation Allowance (for one, rather than both members) if you can prove that you were living together for 30 days prior to the start of the remote military tour. Once servicemembers have completed DD Form 1561 (Statement to Substantiate Payment of Family Separation Allowance) and it has been approved, they will begin to receive Family Separation Allowance. 

BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing)

Dependents that continue to live in government housing on the military installation during their spouse's remote military tour are not entitled to claim BAH. However, if you and your dependent children move out of government housing, you will be entitled to claim BAH to help cover the cost of the rent or mortgage payments. 

The amount of BAH that you receive will be based according on rank and location. If you budget your BAH well and choose to live in modest accommodation below your means, you can save the difference you receive each month from your BAH.

Not all active duty personnel head off for a remote military tour during their career, but many do. If your spouse is about to depart on a remote tour, take advantage of the financial benefits to be had by saving your Family Separation Allowance as well as the difference left from your BAH after you have paid your monthly housing costs.


Written by,
Sophie S

Sophie S is a freelance writer from the UK residing in California. She holds a BA (Hons) in English with Sociology. She works as a freelance writer, specializing in web content on immigration, expatriate life, cat care and much more. Sophie has had over 3,500 articles published on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, other sites and for private clients.

Tags: personal finance, money saving tips, military pay, military spouses, military spouse, deployment

What Makes Up Military Pay

Posted on Tue, Feb 07, 2012

There are many misconceptions regarding military pay. When people see a military pay chart, they think they know exactly how each service member is being compensated. While using time in service and rank to find base pay is a good starting point for determining individual compensation, there is still a large portion of cash unaccounted for.

Each service member is entitled to some form of housing. Single junior enlisted soldiers will typically be provided a barracks room free of charge. Married soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers may choose to live in government owned housing at no cost to them, or they may elect to receive a housing allowance. This allowance is known as basic allowance for housing, or BAH.

The amount of BAH a service member receives is based off of three things:

1) number of dependents
2) duty zip code
3) rank 

A service member with dependents will receive BAH approximately twenty percent higher than their single counterparts. There is no additional compensation for having more than one dependent. If a service member elects to receive BAH and locate their own housing, the extra pay is added into their monthly paycheck.

Each service member is entitled to some form of compensation for meals. This is known as basic allowance for subsistence, or BAS. Junior enlisted soldiers living in the barracks can elect to receive this compensation in the form of a meal card, which allows them to dine for free in the mess hall. All other service members receive a flat rate added into their pay each month. The BAS rate for enlisted service members in 2010 was $323.87 per month, while the rate for officers was $223.04 per month.

Because of these allowances, take-home pay for most service members is typically about one and a half times as much as the basic pay charts would suggest.

Tags: military pay