Do Military Wives Get Paid While on Deployment?

by | Military Finance | 1 comment

When your spouse deploys, you might wonder about the financial aspects of military life, particularly whether military wives receive any pay during deployment. It’s a common question that touches on the broader topic of military benefits and support systems.

Understanding the financial world can help you better navigate the challenges that come with deployment. This article will break down the specifics of military compensation, including whether spouses are directly compensated and what other financial supports are available.

Understanding Military Benefits and Family Support

Exploring military life during deployment can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding financial support. Knowing your benefits and available support services is crucial.

Eligibility for Direct Compensation

Military spouses don’t receive direct compensation during deployment. The service member’s pay may increase due to deployment-related allowances. These include Family Separation Allowance (FSA) and Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay. FSA provides $250 per month if separated from family for more than 30 days. Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay offers $225 per month for service in designated areas. Service members may also receive Combat Zone Tax Exclusion benefits, exempting them from federal income tax.

Additional Support Services Provided

Several support services exist for military families.

  • Family Readiness Groups (FRGs): FRGs offer emotional support and information. They connect families with resources and create a sense of community.
  • Military OneSource: A comprehensive resource providing counseling, legal advice, and financial planning. Free for service members and their families.
  • Commissary and Exchange Benefits: Military families can save on groceries and goods. Discounts help mitigate financial strain.
  • Childcare Services: Programs like Child Development Centers (CDCs) offer affordable childcare options.
  • Educational Assistance: Military spouses may access scholarships and tuition assistance programs. The My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) provides up to $4,000 for education.

Understand these benefits to navigate deployment challenges effectively.

Exploring Compensation for Military Spouses

The topic of military spouse compensation during deployment creates confusion. To clarify, let’s investigate into the financial realities and available support programs for military spouses.

Employment Challenges During Deployment

Military spouses face unique employment challenges when their partners deploy. Jobs may become challenging to maintain due to frequent relocations and the added responsibilities of managing a household alone.

  1. Frequent Relocations: Constant moves disrupt career progress, making it tough to hold steady employment.
  2. Childcare Issues: Managing children while solo increases time demands, limiting job opportunities.
  3. Limited Job Markets: Some bases are in areas with fewer employment options, adding to the difficulty.

Programs and Benefits Available

Although no direct pay exists for military spouses, several programs and benefits aim to support them financially and otherwise.

  1. Family Separation Allowance (FSA): If a service member is deployed, their spouse may benefit indirectly from this allowance. It provides additional money to support separation-related expenses.
  2. Commissary and Exchange Benefits: Military families can access groceries and goods at reduced prices, which helps cut down living costs.
  3. Childcare Services: Free or subsidized childcare programs provide relief, enabling spouses to work or pursue education.
  4. Educational Assistance: Programs like My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA) offer scholarships for spouses seeking education or professional licenses, aiding career development.
  5. Military OneSource: This resource offers financial counseling, employment coaching, and more to ensure military spouses get the support they need.

Military spouses may not receive direct compensation during deployment, but they have access to a range of support systems. These programs ease financial burdens and provide critical assistance, helping spouses maintain stability when their loved ones are away.

Financial Management for Military Families

Deployment is a challenging time for military families. Managing finances becomes crucial as you balance limited income with increased responsibilities.

Budgeting During Deployment

Creating a budget is essential. Start by identifying all sources of income. Include the service member’s base pay, allowances like Family Separation Allowance, and any added benefits received during deployment. List expenses such as housing, utilities, groceries, and unexpected costs.

  • Track Expenses: Use tools like Mint or YNAB to track spending. Allocate funds to categories and monitor over time.
  • Emergency Fund: Build an emergency savings fund to cover unforeseen expenses.
  • Debt Management: Prioritize paying down high-interest debts. Consider using the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) for interest rate reductions.

Accessing Financial Assistance

Several programs are available to support military families financially.

  • Military Aid Societies: Organizations like the Army Emergency Relief (AER) and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offer grants and no-interest loans.
  • Military OneSource: Provides financial counseling and education. It includes budgeting assistance, tax preparation help, and more.
  • Thrift Savings Plan (TSP): Encourage your spouse to contribute to TSP, a retirement savings plan for federal employees and military members.

By effectively managing finances and utilizing available resources, military families can navigate deployment financially.

Addressing Common Misconceptions

Many believe military spouses receive payments during deployments. This isn’t true. In reality, military spouses don’t get direct compensation. Let’s debunk some more common misconceptions.

Myth: Spouses Get A Special Deployment Salary

No special deployment salary exists for military spouses. The service member’s pay may increase due to deployment-specific allowances, but spouses don’t receive a separate wage.

Myth: There’s Full Financial Support From The Government

Government support exists, but it’s not comprehensive. Programs like the Family Separation Allowance (FSA) provide extra funds, not full financial support. Military Aid Societies offer help, yet they aren’t a replacement for one’s own budgeting and financial planning.

Myth: Spouses Have Access To All Military Benefits

Not all benefits extend to spouses. While healthcare and commissary access are available, some benefits are exclusive to the service member. For detailed benefits, consulting resources such as Military OneSource is beneficial.

Clarification: Importance Of Personal Financial Management

While there may be assistance programs, personal financial management remains crucial. Creating a budget, tracking expenses, and building an emergency fund are essential practices. Utilizing resources like the Thrift Savings Plan can bolster long-term financial security.

By dispelling these misconceptions, you can better navigate the financial world during deployment. Relying solely on perceived support won’t suffice; proactive financial management remains key.


Exploring the financial world during a spouse’s deployment can be challenging but understanding the available resources and debunking common myths is crucial. While there isn’t direct compensation for military spouses, programs like the Family Separation Allowance and Military Aid Societies offer valuable support. Effective financial management, including budgeting and tracking expenses, plays a vital role in maintaining stability. Utilizing tools like the Thrift Savings Plan can also contribute to long-term security. By staying informed and proactive, you can better manage your finances and ensure a smoother deployment experience.


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