Do Military Spouses Receive a Paycheck?

The military pay system can be pretty complicated, especially for a new military member. It is even more complicated for new military spouses to understand. Marrying into the military transforms your daily life, and if you haven’t been exposed to it before, it can be a culture shock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a manual!…
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The military pay system can be pretty complicated, especially for a new military member. It is even more complicated for new military spouses to understand. Marrying into the military transforms your daily life, and if you haven’t been exposed to it before, it can be a culture shock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a manual!

Do military spouses receive their spouse’s pay when they are deployed?

I recently received a reader e-mail from a new Army spouse regarding military pay:

I’m newly married to an Army Soldier and he is going to be deployed to Afghanistan soon. Will the Army send me a paycheck monthly or does my husband have the final say about money? And how much money will I receive and when will I receive it if I do?

Thanks, Trisha

Hello Trisha,

Congratulations on your marriage! I’m sure you are going through a big culture shock right now – adjusting to military life is never easy, especially dealing with deployments!

OK, to answer your question, military members’ paychecks are directly deposited into the military member’s account. This is required by the military – it must be directly deposited (no payments by cash or check). The Army will only send this to the account on record, and they will not automatically send you a check unless your name is also on that account.

Family separation pay. You may have heard about family separation pay from another military spouse. This is a tax free military benefit that military members with dependents receive while they are separated from their spouses due to military related duties that last 30 days or more. This benefit is to help take care of additional expenses while the military member is deployed, but he will not receive it until he returns from the deployment. Again, this money will be direct deposited into his account. It is also important to note that the money e earns while he is in Afghanistan will also be tax free because he will be serving in a tax free combat zone.

I am sure you will need access to funds while your husband is deployed, so the best thing to do is work out a financial system before he leaves – that way you will be taken care of and have access to money while he is gone, and he will have the peace of mind knowing that you aren’t left wanting.

The most important thing to do is communicate with your husband about both of your financial needs. Deployments are stressful, and you don’t want to add the stress of money on top of it.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you have access to your husband’s military pay:

  • You can open a joint account with your husband so you have access to the funds.
  • Your husband can set up an automatic allotment that will send you a set amount of money each month from his paycheck.

It is important to note that so far as I know, there are no requirements that he set up a joint account. But he does need to ensure you are taken care of and that all his bills are paid while he is gone. You can work with him to try and set things up so that you can take care of the bills while he is gone. That will give him one less thing to worry about while he is in a stressful situation.

Where to sign up for a joint savings account:

You can sign up for a joint savings account at any local bank or credit union, or you can use an online bank such as USAA.

Setting up a joint financial system:

There are many pros and cons to setting up a joint financial system, and I encourage you to look into it. If you decide to go this route, I encourage you to communicate often about money so both of you are on the same page. Money can be stressful, and frequent communication can prevent many financial problems. Here is more information about financial planning for military families.

Best of luck to you both, and I wish him a safe return.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet's founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

Ryan uses Personal Capital to track and manage his finances. Personal Capital is a free software program that allows him to track his net worth, balance his investment portfolio, track his income and expenses, and much more. You can open a free Personal Capital account here.

Featured In: Ryan's writing has been featured in the following publications: Forbes, Military.com, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, Reserve & National Guard Magazine (print and online editions), Military Influencer Magazine, Cash Money Life, The Military Guide, USAA, Go Banking Rates, and many other publications.

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  1. Shar says

    I would like to know if girlfriends and or boyfriends are privy to deployment location and or address of their deployed soldier?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shar, Each situation is unique. Some deployment locations and addresses may be classified, even from spouses. The servicemember may or may not be allowed to share this information with loved ones, including immediate family members. So I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all answer about this situation. That said, many deployed military members may have access to email or other forms of communication. It would be best to start there. Best wishes!

  2. Julie Burdick says

    Hi, i would like to know if i can get help getting my money back by being scammed! I have receipts, but i got two individuals off of Quora and they ended up to be scammers! So is there anybody out there that is trustworthy!! Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Julie, I’m sorry to hear about this.

      You will need to file a police report, contact your bank, and contact Quora. I don’t have any advice beyond that.

      I wish you the best.

  3. Georgina R Jones says

    I am legally separated from my husband who is in active duty in Afghanistan. We have been separated for 5 years. He asked for my social security number at one point but they found my information in the system when we were separated. I just want to know is he receiving money as if we are still married and should I look into this deeper. And do I have any kind of ownership to any of that money? People have been telling that I do, but because I’ve moved on with my life I feel like I’m not owed anything. But if he is receiving money on my behalf I feel like she cheating the government and me because I’ve been on my own struggle to make ends meet.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Georgina, I can’t say for certain if he is receiving money for still legally being married or not. However, if you are still legally married and he is claiming you as a dependent, then you may still qualify for certain military dependent benefits, such as an ID card and access to medical care through TRICARE. However, if you are legally separated, I am not certain if you would be eligible for any of these benefits, and I do not know if he would be able to claim you as a dependent and receive additional funds for having you as a dependent.

      In short, it’s not possible for anyone to answer these questions via email. You can, however, contact the Human Resources or personnel office at a military installation and ask if you are still listed as a dependent in the DEERS system. If you are, then you are still technically a military dependent. If you are not in the DEERS system, then you are no longer a military dependent and it is unlikely he is receiving any benefits for being married to you.

      Best wishes.

  4. Pat Tracey says

    Thank you, Ryan. Appreciate your time. I know the general rule you speak of in reference to sensing $ to a person not personally known. In spite this, I still wish to know the 2 answers to my Q of military accounts overseas, as well as the general Q of how military personnel gets another phone should theirs be damaged during a base bombing or other mishap? It seems that our guys should have some way besides reaching back home to try and get a new phone for contacting back home. Thanks again.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Pat,

      A military member’s phone is personal property. I’m not sure if personal property would be replaced if it is damaged or destroyed during a bombing or other mishap. However, there are generally other ways to contact family members back home when deployed, such as using their personal computers, shared government computers, phone cards, calling through a base operator, a wi-fi enabled cell phone, and other means. In general, a military member should not have to get another personal phone in order to communicate back home. There should be multiple other means.

      I can confirm there are hundreds of variations of scams in which people impersonate U.S. military members and share stories of hardship and ask for money, gift cards, prepaid cards, gifts, and other valuables. In almost all cases, they want money, gifts, and other valuables sent to overseas locations and in forms that are untraceable and easily convertible to cash in their currency. These are all scams. U.S. military members would never ask strangers or people they met online to give them money or send them things. It’s not how we operate.

  5. Pat Tracey says

    I met female military personel on lineas friend who wanted pen pal. After a few wks. She said ghey were bombed in Afghanistan and her phone blown up. Could i buy her new phone and send. One she cou ln d use to acess her bank on line. I not only wss a bit suspocious but i didnt have money. She got another friend to help but now needs amazon card ti activate phone. I offered a gift card from her carrier but that wont do. Im suspicious of all of it. Seemed like a nice friendship until money was askee for. Doesnt militart help them get phones if blown up? Also i cant believe she doesnt have access to some funds to activate phone.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Pat,

      This is a scam. Never send money to someone you have never met in person and with whom you don’t already have some kind of relationship prior to meeting them online.

      Best wishes.

      • Pat Tracey says

        I met female military personel on lineas friend who wanted pen pal. After a few wks. She said ghey were bombed in Afghanistan and her phone blown up. Could i buy her new phone and send. One she cou ln d use to acess her bank on line. I not only wss a bit suspocious but i didnt have money. She got another friend to help but now needs amazon card ti activate phone. I offered a gift card from her carrier but that wont do. Im suspicious of all of it. Seemed like a nice friendship until money was askee for. Doesnt militart help them get phones if blown up? Also i cant believe she doesnt have access to some funds to activate phone.

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