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AAFMAA Blog

Deployment Entitlements

2020-08-25

What are deployment entitlements?

Basic pay and allowances are only part of military compensation. While deployed, military servicemembers receive entitlements to partially compensate for the hardship, danger, and costs of that deployment.

What deployment entitlements can I expect to receive?

Entitlements during a deployment come in many different forms and vary based upon the specific location, conflict, and authorizations for that particular area. Your finance office can provide specific information for each deployment, but the following are the general categories and types of entitlements:

Hardship Duty Pay

Hardship Duty Pay (HDP) compensates service members for locations or missions that are particularly arduous. Pay is $50, $100, or $150 per month, depending on the hardship of a particular location. Servicemembers on deployment in designated locations or serving for over 30 consecutive days will receive HDP.

Hostile Fire Pay

Hostile Fire Pay (HFP) is provided if you are assigned to an area in which you are subject to hostile fire or mine explosions. The current monthly entitlement pay is $225.

Imminent Danger Pay

Imminent Danger Pay (IDP) is an entitlement when assigned to a designated IDP area. You will receive $7.50 for each day you are in an IDP area up to a maximum monthly rate of $225. Servicemembers cannot receive both IDP and HFP in the same month.

Savings Deposit Program

Military servicemembers serving in a designated combat zone (deployed for at least 30 consecutive days) and receiving Hostile Fire Pay are eligible to participate in the Savings Deposit Program (SDP), which allows you to deposit up to a total of $10,000 into a special account at DFAS. You will earn 10% interest and continue to accrue interest up to 90 days after departure from the combat zone. It is a great way to save money.

Family Separation Pay

Also known as Family Separation Allowance, FSA is paid to servicemembers with dependents who are away from their family for over 30 days. After you have been separated for 31 days (and file DD Form 1561), Family Separation Pay will be paid retroactively back to the first day of separation at the rate of $250 per month.

Tax Exemption

Earnings received in a combat zone are excluded from taxable income. The exclusion is unlimited for enlisted members and warrant officers and is limited for officers. If you spend a single qualifying day in the combat zone, your pay for the entire month is excluded from taxable income. With a 15% tax rate, that could save you thousands each month. You will still pay Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes on your full pay.

Do you get per diem while deployed?

Although meals and housing are normally provided on a deployment, you are still entitled to deployment per diem. However, you receive it at only the “incidental rate,” which is $3.50 per day. This is normally paid after you return and complete a final travel voucher (DD Form 1351-2). After nine months, this can be over $1,000, so ensure that you take the time to file for your per diem.

Example: Afghanistan Deployment Pay

Hardship Duty Pay $100
Hostile Fire/Danger Pay $225
Family Separation $250
Per Diem ($3.50/Day) $105
Tax Exemption Up to $1,000
Total (Per Month) $685 - $1,785

When does deployment pay start?

Hardship Duty Pay, Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger Pay, Family Separation Pay, and the tax exemption should be posted on your Leave and Earning Statement (LES) the month after you deploy. Download your LES from www.dfas.mil to verify your entitlements. If not, contact your finance office quickly to make the appropriate adjustments.

Plan Your Deployment Finances with AAFMAA

All deployed military servicemembers should be aware of deployment entitlements and have a financial plan for how to use these additional funds. The financial and benefits experts at AAFMAA can help you navigate your new financial situation and ensure your family is cared for while you’re on deployment. Contact an AAFMAA at (888) 862-5932 or MemberBenefits@aafmaa.com to discuss your particular situation and how we can help.

Download the Deployment Entitlements Brochure to print or share more information about this military benefit with your loved ones.