Personal Finance – Benefits

As a service member, you’ve earned financial benefits to help protect your future. Take advantage of military benefits to shore up your personal finances — for both the short term and long term.

Savings Deposit Program

The Department of Defense Savings Deposit Program (SDP) was established to provide service members serving in designated combat zones the opportunity to build their financial savings.

  • Service members deployed to a combat zone get guaranteed 10 percent interest on money put into a savings account, up to $10,000 for each deployment.
  • Soldiers keep earning 10 percent interest up to three months after their return.

Thrift Savings Plan

Saving is easier when you have a simple retirement strategy. The Thrift Saving Plan saves a percentage of your pay like the 401(k) plans offered by many private employers.

  • You can choose from two tax options: either make contributions to retirement on a pre-tax case and then pay taxes on the amounts at retirement, or contribute after-tax dollars, letting the amount grow over time and never paying taxes on that savings.
  • If you receive tax-free combat pay, you don’t have to pay any tax on so-called Roth IRA contributions.
  • Your savings is yours to keep, whether you leave the military or stay in until retirement.

Post-9/11 GI Bill

  • The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides the full cost of in-state tuition and fees at public colleges covered for up to four academic years for eligible service members, or up to nearly $22,000 a year for private colleges.
  • Benefits include a housing stipend and up to $1,000 a year for books and tutoring.
  • The bill covers the cost of education and training programs, including undergraduate and graduate studies, vocational schools and technical training.
  • Benefits last up to 15 years after active duty and are transferable to a spouse or children.

Affordable housing

  • Service members get a tax-free housing allowance when government quarters are not provided.
  • The size of the monthly subsidy is based on your rank, location and family size. It is intended to cover part of your rent or mortgage payment so you can live off base comparably to civilians.

Low-cost life insurance

  • Service members have life insurance through Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance.
  • VA’s low-cost life insurance programs were developed to provide financial security for your service members, veterans and their families.
  • You can provide your family with financial security at just seven cents per $1,000 of insurance.

Low-cost loans

  • The Veterans Administration offers eligible service members low-cost home loans.
  • No down payment is required or private mortgage insurance.

Tax deductions

  • You or your spouse are eligible for numerous tax deductions, some extended to all citizens in certain situations and others exclusive to service members and their families.


Service Branch Benefits

College saving options

  • Take advantage of Qualified Tuition Programs, or 529 plans. These are state-run plans designed to help you save for your child’s college tuition.
  • Qualified tuition programs come in two types: a prepaid tuition plan and a college savings program. Most states offer both.

Contacting Military OneSource can put you on path to making the most of your financial benefits. Call 800-342-9647 anytime. OCONUS/International? Click here for calling options.