Do Married Men Make More in the Military? Exploring Income Benefits and Allowances

by | Military Finance | 1 comment

Ever wondered if tying the knot could boost your military paycheck? The question of whether married men make more in the military isn’t just about curiosity—it’s about understanding how military compensation works. With factors like housing allowances and family separation pay, marital status can indeed influence your earnings.

In the military, benefits often extend beyond base pay. Married service members may receive additional allowances that single counterparts don’t, potentially leading to a higher overall income. So, if you’re considering marriage or already have a family, it’s worth exploring how these financial perks can impact your military career.

Overview of Military Pay Structure

In the military, the pay structure encompasses various elements. These include basic pay, allowances, special pay, and bonuses. Understanding these elements is crucial for grasping how married men may have a financial advantage.

Basic Pay and Allowances

Basic pay serves as the cornerstone of a service member’s salary. Pay depends on rank and years of service. For instance, an E-5 with 8 years in service earns more than an E-5 with 2 years. Pay scales are revised annually.

Next, allowances supplement basic pay. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) covers housing costs and varies based on location, rank, and dependents. Married service members receive higher BAH rates due to dependents. Another key benefit is the Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS), which helps with meals. Married status doesn’t impact BAS rates.

Special Pay and Bonuses

Special pay addresses specific skills or duties. Hazard pay compensates for dangerous assignments, while flight pay rewards aviation duties. Similarly, sea pay benefits those on ships. Bonuses offer additional income for retaining critical skills or re-enlisting. These can range from $1,000 to over $30,000, depending on the need and commitment required.

In essence, special pay and bonuses, while not directly influenced by marital status, add to a service member’s overall income. Married men benefit more from allowances, notably the BAH, which elevates their total earnings compared to single counterparts.

Impact of Marriage on Military Benefits

Marriage can significantly affect your military benefits, often leading to increased financial support and services. Married service members might enjoy higher payouts through key allowances and other advantages.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) provides financial support for housing costs. For married military personnel, BAH rates are generally higher compared to single service members. The Department of Defense sets BAH rates based on location, rank, and whether you have dependents. For example, if you’re stationed in a high-cost area like San Francisco, the BAH rate for married individuals can be considerably higher to cover the increased cost of living. This makes BAH a crucial component of military compensation.

Family Separation Allowance

Family Separation Allowance (FSA) offers additional financial support if you’re separated from your family due to military orders. If you’re married and deployed or assigned to a location where your family can’t accompany you, you become eligible for FSA. This allowance aims to alleviate the financial strain of maintaining separate households. For example, if you’re deployed overseas for more than 30 days, you could receive an FSA payment to help cover additional family costs incurred during your absence. This benefit helps many married service members manage their finances more effectively while on duty.

Married military personnel often receive these two key benefits, making their overall compensation package more robust compared to single service members.

Comparison of Earnings: Married vs. Single Soldiers

The difference in earnings between married and single soldiers in the military hinges significantly on additional allowances and benefits. Married soldiers often see a financial uplift due to these factors.

Statistical Data Analysis

The Department of Defense gathered 2019 data on compensation highlights. Married soldiers receive 20-30% more than their single counterparts. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) plays a significant role. For instance, a married E-5 stationed in San Diego receives up to $2,832 monthly in BAH, whereas a single E-5 receives about $2,124. Also, Family Separation Allowance (FSA), set at $250 per month, benefits married soldiers.

Rank Status BAH (San Diego) FSA
E-5 Married $2,832 $250
E-5 Single $2,124 N/A

Given these figures, the difference in compensation becomes clear.

Case Studies

Consider the case of Sergeant James, an E-6 in the Army with ten years of service. James, married with two children, receives not only the basic pay and BAH but also FSA during deployments. His annual compensation reaches roughly $70,000, including special pays and allowances. Conversely, Sergeant Lisa, an E-6 unmarried, with the same service duration, earns around $57,000. The gap stems from the lack of family-related allowances.

Staff Sergeant Michael, stationed overseas, benefits from the Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) and Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). Married soldiers stationed overseas receive higher COLA rates due to family size considerations, directly impacting their overall earnings compared to single soldiers.

These examples underscore how married soldiers earn more due to additional allowances, particularly housing and family separation pays. The military’s compensation structure clearly favors married individuals, providing them more ample financial support.

This insight outlines how single soldiers may need to consider long-term financial planning proactively.

Factors Influencing Higher Earnings for Married Men

Married men in the military often experience higher earnings due to various factors inherent in the military’s pay structure. These factors significantly impact their overall financial situation, enhancing their income compared to single service members.

Stability and Support Systems

Married men typically possess greater stability and support systems. Stability reduces financial stresses. With a stable home life, service members can focus more on their duties without worrying about household issues. Their support system, including a spouse, can provide emotional and logistical support, resulting in better job performance and, potentially, more opportunities for promotions and bonuses. For instance, having someone to manage household tasks allows soldiers to allocate more time to training, leading to skill advancement and higher pay grades.

Long-term Career Commitment

Long-term career commitment also plays a crucial role. Married men tend to stay longer in the military, attracted by the financial stability and benefits for their families. This extended service increases the likelihood of career advancement. Longevity in service means more opportunities for rank promotions, with each rank offering higher pay. For example, reaching the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7) compared to Staff Sergeant (E-6) can result in thousands of dollars in additional annual income. Committed service members receive recognition and often assume leadership roles, leading to specialized pay and bonuses.


Understanding the financial dynamics of military compensation reveals a distinct advantage for married service members. With additional allowances and benefits, married soldiers can significantly boost their income compared to their single counterparts. This financial edge, coupled with the stability and support a family provides, often translates into better job performance and career advancement opportunities. If you’re a single soldier, it’s crucial to consider these factors in your financial planning and career decisions. The military’s compensation structure clearly favors those with families, making it essential to strategize accordingly to maximize your earnings and career potential.


post page form.


Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page ( Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.