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Your monthly LES is one of the most important financial documents you have for mastering your money and achieving your financial goals. Use the LES to budget your monthly expenses and plan for a purchase. Here’s how to decipher the code.
First, what is the LES exactly?
It’s your monthly report of earnings, deductions and leave balance. Your statement covers:
Military personnel receive pay raises that are linked to private-sector raises, as measured by the Employment Cost Index. These raises are for both reserve and active-duty service members.
- Monthly base pay
- Additional entitlements, such as special pays or allowances
- Tax withholding
- Thrift Savings Plan contributions
- Insurance deductions
- Available leave or vacation days earned
Where can I access my statement?
What should I look at on a regular basis?
Stay on top of your information — especially income and deductions. Mistakes can happen. Review these items every month and make sure they’re correct:
The Deductions section shows things that are deducted from your pay, including Medicare and Social Security taxes, state and federal taxes and Thrift Savings Plan contributions.
The Allotments section lists your allotments. Be sure you know what they are, who is receiving them and if/when will they be paid in full.
The amount of money you receive is shown in two places. Your mid-month pay is listed as a deduction, and your end-of-month pay is listed. Is the amount accurate for your situation?
Are your TSP contributions and life insurance premiums being properly deducted?
How much leave do you have available? Do you have leave you need to use before the end of the fiscal year? Any impending changes to your pay or notices from your command?
Anything else I should note?
- Track your Social Security. Sign up for a my Social Security account to verify and track your earnings or to use the retirement estimator tool.
- Stay current on your pay. Understand when special pay — like deployment pay, hazardous duty pay and other special duty pay — is supposed to begin and when it should end.
- Mistakes happen. Regardless of who made the error, a “no pay due” could be the result. Watch for overpayments too.
- Find an error? Contact your command administration or finance personnel.