Military Families Will See a Boost in Separation Pay in 2024

Military Families Will See a Boost in Separation Pay in 2024
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Justin Wolpert/Navy

This article by Leo Shane III originally appeared on Military Times, the nation's largest independent newsroom dedicated to covering the military and veteran community.


Service members forced to live apart from their families because of military responsibilities could see a significant boost in their monthly separation pay stipends next year thanks to changes included in the annual defense authorization bill passed by Congress last week.


The legislation, expected to be signed into law later this month, allows military leaders to boost the Family Separation Allowance from $250 a month to $400, the first such increase for the stipend in two decades.


Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, and a Navy veteran who was one of the sponsors of the provision, called the adjustment “much-needed relief” for families dealing with extra expenses caused by the separate living arrangements.


[RELATED: Largest Pay Raise in 2 Decades Part of Final Defense Authorization Bill]


Under Defense Department rules, sailors who are on duty away from their home port for more than 30 continuous days are eligible for the payouts, as are troops on temporary duty away from their permanent duty station for more than 30 days.


However, troops who voluntarily choose to serve an unaccompanied tour of duty are not eligible for the extra payouts.


For junior enlisted service members with dependents, the extra stipend can be a much-needed boost to family finances. An E-2 with two years in service makes about $2,150 a month. An E-4 with four years service collects just under $3,000.


[RELATED: As Servicemembers Spend the Holidays Deployed, Work Remains at Home]


The authorization bill also requires a full review of the stipend as part of the Defense Department’s quadrennial review of military compensation, to ensure the payouts are adequately covering the needs of military families.


Lawmakers also included in the legislation language to study whether junior enlisted pay and military housing stipends are large enough to ensure military families are in good financial health. The bill also provides for a 5.2% increase in military base pay in 2024, the largest annual boost in 22 years.


President Joe Biden has voiced support for the authorization bill, but White House officials have not said when the measure will be officially signed into law.


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