If a combat deployment is in your future, be sure you learn about the Department of Defense Savings Deposit Program, a savings account that earns you 10% interest, before you deploy. This program is an effective way to build up your savings to help you and your family achieve your financial goals.
Am I eligible?
You’re eligible to use the program if:
- You’re on active duty or are an activated Guard or reserve member. In both cases, you must be deployed and receiving Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay.
- You deploy to an area where you receive HFP/IDP.
- You serve in a combat zone or in direct support of a designated combat zone. You must serve for more than 30 consecutive days.
- You serve in a combat zone for at least one day for three consecutive months. This situation is likely if you’re in a special operations unit.
- You’re serving in the Arabian Peninsula area. This includes the Persian Gulf (the Arabian Peninsula, the Strait of Hormuz or the Gulf of Oman), Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
Your eligibility for the program stops the day you leave the designated combat area.
Why use the Savings Deposit Program?
The SDP earns you 10% interest on every dollar saved during a combat deployment (most commercial savings accounts earn no more than 1% or 2%), up to $10,000. The program helps you reach your short- and long-term financial goals more quickly by allowing you to:
- Choose how much to deposit. Deposit all or part of your unallotted pay (the pay you receive after authorized deductions), up to $10,000 per deployment. Deposits outside this range will be rejected by the SDP system; any amount in excess of $10,000 will not accrue interest. An exception to this restriction authorizes a member to deposit more than one month of unallotted pay, but only if the member presents written approval from their commanding officer with the deposit. Interest compounds monthly.
- Earn after you return home. Continue to earn 10% interest for 90 days after you redeploy home, unless you request to withdraw funds before then.
- Build your savings while serving. Coming home to extra savings in your account may help you pay down debt or contribute toward a financial goal, as well as help reduce some of the stress that financial issues can cause.
- Manage your account easily. Monitor and manage your account through myPay. If you set up automatic allotments, check your leave and earnings statements regularly.
- Stop depositing money at any time. There’s no penalty if you stop making deposits into your SDP.
How do I make deposits?
Setting up regular deposits from your pay is easy. Here are some tips and program restrictions:
- Set up allotments. Contact your finance office to start or stop allotments into the SDP. You can make deposits by payroll allotment or with cash, a personal check or an Eagle Cash card. Your spouse or a trusted family member can also start or stop allotments on your behalf with a special or specific power of attorney. An SDP allotment may be increased or decreased upon the member’s request. Keep in mind that deposits contributed overseas can take several weeks to appear in myPay.
- Power of attorney requirements. Visit your Legal Assistance Office for advice on power of attorney requirements and for help preparing a special or specific power of attorney. You can find your legal assistance office with the U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance locator.
- When to begin deposits. A recent update to the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulator Volume 7a, Chapter 52, specifies that the member’s initial deposit is limited to the amount earned beginning with the first day after the 30 consecutive days in a covered SDP area, so you can start making deposits into your account 31 days into your deployment. You can stop making deposits at any time after that.
- How much to deposit. Deposits can’t be for more than your monthly pay and allowances after allotments. You can’t go over your monthly pay after all deductions and allotments, including special pays and re-enlistment bonuses. Deposits must be made in amounts divisible by five, such as $50, $115 and so on, with a minimum deposit of $5. Members are permitted to make more than one deposit in a month.
How do I make withdrawals?
Ordinarily, funds from your SDP account must be withdrawn in one payment after you redeploy home — you may not withdraw funds while you are deployed except in an emergency, but there are exceptions to this rule. The general rules for withdrawals are:
- Request the funds after you return home. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service will post your account money to your leave and earnings statement. Interest will be added from the date of your deposit, regardless of the date of your withdrawal. The service will pay out any interest owed.
- Request emergency funds during the deployment. Emergency withdrawals must be for the health and welfare of the service member or their immediate family and require approval from your unit commander or commanding officer. Submit the approval to DFAS.
- Make withdrawals if the maximum balance is reached. If your account contains more than $10,000, you or your spouse can make quarterly withdrawals for the amount over $10,000.
- Following withdrawal procedures. Active-duty service members will receive their payment electronically to the same account that receives their usual monthly pay. Funds will be transferred electronically to the bank account on record, if payment is made automatically 120 days after the service member has left the combat zone. Reservists and separated members submitting withdrawal requests to DFAS must include the bank account number where the funds should be deposited, the type of account (checking or savings), the bank’s routing transit number and a voided check or a deposit slip. If a check is preferred, a current address must be provided.
You work hard for your money — now make it work hard for you. Take advantage of this savings program exclusive to the military, and watch your money grow. To get started, visit the DOD Savings Deposit Program.