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Deployed money and you: How to come out ahead during your TDY

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- Those deploying should see a nice boost in their paychecks.

Between deployment-specific entitlements and investment opportunities, a deployment can offer a range of excellent financial opportunities. The wise person will put a plan into place before deploying to take full advantage of these opportunities.

What are your financial goals?

Some might consider reducing credit card debt or setting some money aside for investing in the future.

Discuss goals with family and put a plan in place before deploying ... there is no better time to start than right now.

Below are some facts that about deployment pay entitlements and program. Please the see local or deployed finance office for any further questions.

Entitlements: There are up to five pay entitlements that you may qualify for depending on the specifics of your deployment location and your family status

Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay
Members serving in the CENTCOM area of responsibility or another designated area qualify for HFP/IDP. The entitlement is $225 a month and members will receive a full month's entitlement if even in the area for only one day. This entitlement will start automatically when members in-process through their deployed PERSCO.

Combat zone tax exclusion
A member is entitled to combat zone tax exclusion for any month or portion thereof in which a member performs active service in a combat zone designated by Executive Order. In other words, pay is tax-free. This entitlement applies to both Federal Income Tax Withheld and State Income Tax Withheld. Tax exclusion status will start automatically when members in-process through the deployed PERSCO. For officers, the tax exclusion is capped at the basic pay rate for the highest enlisted grade plus HFP/IDP (if applicable) for the month in the combat zone. There is no cap for enlisted members.

Hardship Duty Pay - Location
The rates vary based on the level of quality of life hardship in a given location. For much of the CENTCOM AOR, this rate varies between $50 and $150 per month. It is prorated for those that spend less than a month in the area. To qualify for this entitlement, members must be deployed for at least 30 days. At the 30-day mark of the deployment, members may visit the deployed finance office to have this pay started or they can wait until returning home and have it paid retroactively on the final travel voucher.

Family Separation Allowance
FSA is payable for a member on TDY away from the permanent station continuously for more than 30 days. The rate payable is currently $250 per month and is prorated for partial months at $8.33 a day. Military members without dependents do not qualify for FSA. At the 30-day mark of the deployment, members may visit the deployed finance office to have FSA started or they can wait until return and have it paid retroactively on the final travel voucher.

Per Diem
Those deployed to the CENTCOM AOR will receive an incidental rate of $3.50 per day assuming that they have access to three meals a day at the deployed dining facility.

Investment opportunities
Deployed members can also take advantage of the Savings Deposit Program. This great program is a savings account that guarantees a risk-free 10-percent return on deposits. Interest compounds quarterly on deposits of up to $10,000. Members can make deposits at deployed finance offices. Deposits for a given month is limited to unalloted pay. Interest is taxable and will accrue on the balance for the period members are deployed, plus up to three months after their return home. After these three months, members can use MyPay to have deposits routed back to the bank account of their choice.

For more information on these programs or for answers to more deployed pay inquiries, call 987-8294.

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