Military Life Cycle | Your Life in the Military
As an active-duty service member, you receive many benefits and entitlements like free access to Military OneSource services and support. One of the primary benefits to working in the military is a steady paycheck and tax-free allowances. Here’s a summary of the different military pay elements you might see on your monthly Leave and Earnings Statement.
You're learning a lot of new skills in the military, and money management should be one of them. As a service member, you may earn more, get special duty pay or have new expenses. It's your money. Make the most of it by creating a financial plan. Staying on top of your finances is important for your security clearance, your career and your future.
Military care packages deliver a welcome piece of home to your service member while they’re away – whether that’s your child, fiancé, sibling or friend. They help both of you stay connected despite distance or duty. Here are some appropriate ways to send those care packages to your service member throughout their time in the military.
Starting October 2020, all soldiers will be required to pass the new Army Combat Fitness Test, which will replace the Army Physical Fitness Test. You will be expected to meet ACFT requirements regardless of age or gender, as part of your military training.
Are you separating or retiring from the service in the near future? Are you actively transitioning to civilian life? With so many components of transition, you may feel like you could use some extra help. Maybe you’re looking for support to manage stress or logistics. Or perhaps you just need someone to give you that extra encouragement to set goals to get through your to-do list.
Your military friend or family member serves our country with integrity and honor. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of that service to cheat them and you. You can help protect your service member against military scams by learning the warning signs of schemes that target those in the military community.
One of the most valuable assets to service members is their military ID. The Department of Defense issues distinct identification cards to uniformed service members, their family members and other eligible individuals to serve as proof of the cardholder's identity and Department of Defense affiliation.
Thinking about joining the military? Perhaps you’ve already signed up and are waiting to head to boot camp, or someone close to you has joined the military. Some of the common questions among new recruits and their loved ones relate to military uniforms.
As a member of your service member’s support network, you may have heard the good news that both active duty and reserve military personnel received a 3.1% military pay raise in 2020 – among the biggest in a decade. Beyond the salary bump, you’ll be glad to know that your loved one has several ways to be financially fit.
During basic training and initial job training, all enlisted service members are required to live in the barracks. When service members move to their permanent duty station, only single members are required to live in unaccompanied housing, or barracks.
Navy Boot Camp is the first step in turning you into a sailor with all the skills to perform in the fleet. If you're on the Navy officer path, you'll attend a 13-week course to prepare for an officer's responsibilities. Know what to expect and arrive ready for Navy training.
At some point in their military career, your service member may ask if you can help them with certain personal business that can be hard to handle if they have limited communications or access to technology.
Military Funeral Honors provides a final tribute to eligible veterans and a meaningful ceremony to their families. Military OneSource provides information to help you navigate the process to arrange Military Funeral Honors.
The Military Funeral Honors program includes several key elements that your casualty assistance officer or Military Funeral Honors coordinator can guide you through. In addition, here are some frequently asked questions and answers to navigating the traditional process.
Your resume is a summary of your background and experience, and it's likely to be the first information about you that an employer will see. These tips will help you make a resume that stands out.
The military has an extensive array of services to help make your separation a success. If you're an active-duty service member, National Guard and Reserve Component service member, or service member's spouse, you can take advantage of these transition assistance resources and more.
The deployment cycle is the period of time from the notification of a deployment, through pre-deployment training, through the deployment, and immediately after deployment. Every deployment cycle is different, but here are some general things to know.
As part of the military pay and benefits package, military service members earn 30 days of paid leave per year. You start at zero and for every month of military service, 2.5 days of leave get added to your leave account. It doesn’t stop, but the most you can carry over from one fiscal year to the next fiscal year is 60 days, except in certain, very limited situations where you can carry over more.
Marine Corps Basic Recruit Training is the first step in preparing you mentally and physically to serve. The second step is the School of Infantry, where you'll develop core skills for service.
U.S. service members already serve their country as part of one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever seen. Some special operations units have even higher standards than the general force.
Your monthly Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES, is one of the most important financial documents you have for mastering your money and achieving your financial goals. Here's how to decipher the code.
More than one in four active duty service members tell us they intend to join the reserves. It can be a great option for lots of service members.
In the military, stress happens. But too much stress can have negative effects on performance, safety and well-being. During deployment, it is especially important to know the signs of stress and to be ready with good stress management techniques.
Whether it's a deployment or training, sometimes our military careers take us away from loved ones and we leave them in the care of others. A family care plan is designed to guide caregivers, providing the important details about child care, school, medical care and family activities.
Service members are protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act if they need to break their lease on account of a deployment or permanent change of station.
Life in the military is about being ready for deployment. You may be duty-ready, but don’t overlook preparations on the home front. That includes having or updating essential legal documents. Don’t let it slip off your radar before deployment. Do it for your family’s sake.
The Military Funeral Honors Program establishes procedures for requesting and providing Military Funeral Honors. Such honors consist of traditions intended to express deep gratitude for those who have served our nation.
The military issues standard identification cards to active duty, reserve and National Guard members, retired service members, civilian employees, some contractors, family members of eligible sponsors and other eligible individuals. In addition to providing verification of identity and affiliation to the Department, military ID cards also verify eligibility for access to those benefits identified on the card.
When your loved one decides to join the military, they’re taking an important step toward a great career path. As a parent, relative or significant other of someone who has joined the military – or is considering doing so – rest assured that there are many career and personal opportunities available to them.
If your service member has recently entered the military, you may now lose the ability to claim them as a dependent. On top of that, this may be the first time your loved one has ever had to file a tax return.
The day will come when you're preparing to get out of the military. You might have spent many an hour already thinking about where you want to live when you get out. Now it's time to get practical.
Like a coin, there are two sides of your military paycheck. There’s what goes into your paycheck – basic pay, allowances and special and incentive pays – and there is what comes out. You can see your deductions and allotments listed on your Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES. Here are some of the more common items you’ll see listed on your LES.
Whether you're on your first tour of duty or your fourth, Plan My Deployment helps you, your family members and loved ones prepare for – and stay strong and connected – through every phase of deployment.
The driving habits that kept you safe in a war zone can endanger you and others now that you're home. Reduce the risk of injury to yourself and others by retraining yourself to drive in normal conditions.
What kind of job are you looking for when you leave the military? Most people look for location, salary and job stability. But there's much more to finding great jobs for veterans.
Holidays can feel very different when your service member is away. There are traditions that you’d like to share with them or wish they could participate in. But there are things you can do to help yourself – and your service member – make the holidays special, whether they are stationed far from home or deployed. Sharing old traditions and creating new ones can keep the holidays fun and meaningful, and help you stay connected.
The military is an honorable way for patriotic men and women to both serve their country and pursue a career. When it comes to education and career benefits, the military takes care of service members during, and after, their service. Of course, the military itself can be a rewarding career choice. But if they decide to move on, service members can access many tools, resources and benefits to successfully transition into civilian careers.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits and services to meet the needs of veterans and service members. While many VA programs are designed to serve veterans, particularly disabled veterans, VA services are not limited to those who have left the military.
Service members put their life on the line to protect our country. But serious risks may lurk in everyday life for some with intense trainings or as the pace of military life suddenly gets faster and for prolonged periods. And that can be even harder and more confusing to deal with as a loved one.
The military recently adopted a new retirement plan called the Blended Retirement System which extends benefits to a lot more service members than the old plan. The good news: the BRS can put your service member on the path to long-term financial security. And, the more a service member contributes to their own retirement, the more the Department of Defense matches it.
If you're disabled, it is important to feel comfortable at home. Depending on your unique needs, modifications can make a big difference in your accessibility at home.
Many organizations in the civilian world value your experience, skills, work ethic and training as a service member. Here are ways to connect with employers committed to hiring veterans.
You may already know that shopping for groceries at the commissary or for electronics at the exchange can amount to significant savings. But you may not know that these stores also offer additional perks like contest prizes, scholarships and family employment opportunities, all while supporting your war-fighter overseas. Check out our listings below for benefits you may not have heard about.
Guard and reserve members are entitled to benefits and services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, just like their active-duty counterparts. The VA can help Guard and reserve members cover the cost of school, secure a home loan or acquire life insurance.
Veterans Affairs Benefits for Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn Transitioning Service Members
Active-duty, Guard or reserve service members returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn deserve a smooth transition back to civilian life.
Basic training is the first step in preparing you to be a soldier. It starts with basic combat training or Army boot camp. Then comes specialized training in your career field — or you may go to Officer Candidate School to master Army leadership skills.
When joining the Air Force you can choose one of two paths, either enlist or get a commission as an officer. If you enlist, your first stop will be Air Force Basic Training, eight-and-a-half weeks of physical preparation to serve, before you move onto more technical training. If you take the officer path, you’ll go to Officer Training School, the U.S. Air Force Academy or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has several programs that can cover the cost of education and training, housing fees and more. Review the benefits of each program and find out which one works best for you.
Your spouse or partner is preparing for deployment and transitioning from reserve status to active duty. Take advantage of several deployment support programs.
The anticipation of a homecoming may come with many different feelings. It is understandable that you may be feeling anxious, excited, even worried all at once. As a family member or friend, you can be a key supporter for your service member as they return home from deployment – no matter if you live nearby or far away.
Armed with the right information and understanding, reuniting with your family after a deployment can go more smoothly for everyone. Educate yourself on what to expect upon reintegration, and be patient with yourself, your spouse and your kids. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Follow these eight tips to ease your adjustment.
You’re going to PCS or you’ve just arrived. Want to learn about activities on base? Schools in the community? Check-in procedures? Child care? A veterinarian for your pet? Or other useful information?
The Department of Defense recognizes the role of the spouse in a smooth military transition, and has developed a new tool, called the Military Spouse Transition Program, designed to bolster your military spouse success at each step of the journey, from the beginning to the end of your family’s military experience.
There are many reasons to sign up for VA Health Care, the first being low- to no-cost, quality health care. Learn more about which health care benefits you qualify for and how to apply.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has programs specifically to prevent homelessness or provide relief for veterans who are already homeless.
The Department of Veterans Affairs and other government agencies offer numerous programs and services for veterans, their dependents and survivors. Beyond benefits, these programs and services are helpful.
As a service member, you’ve been taught to expect the unexpected. The unexpected can require a little support. As a veteran, you have help at hand. Find out about what kinds of assistance are available to you.
Hanging up your uniform and transitioning to civilian life can be both exciting and confusing. It may come with a lot of questions. Have you figured out your civilian career? Found a health care plan yet? Secured a new home base?
When military life takes you away from home, you and your family can use an absentee ballot and ensure your voices are heard on Election Day.
From budgeting and car-buying to building a good credit score or getting a handle on student loans, your service member has access to several free benefits and protections to help them gain firm financial footing.
Deployment can impact a household budget. Your pay could change, or you could incur some unexpected expenses. With the right information and a little extra effort, you can stay fiscally fit during deployment and stay in command of your household budget. Follow these tips to achieve financial stability and health even while you're gone.
Grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends and loved ones can make children of service members feel more secure and loved when their parent is deployed.
If you are marrying a service member, congratulations. You are about to join an elite community of people who have committed to serve their country in a profound and meaningful way.
They say money can't buy happiness, but a financially-healthy future can buy peace of mind. Plus, financial security at home allows service members to be more focused and mission-ready.
If your service member ever gets into financial trouble, it can impact their military career. For this reason, there are two major laws – the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act -- that help protect the finances and ease the stress of active-duty service members and their families.
Following your Army basic combat training, you’ll take one of two paths, advanced individual training or Officer Candidate School to advance in your military career.