Why Is My Pay Different?

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With the next military payday on Tuesday, 15 January 2013, many military members will see their pay deposited into their bank accounts over the next few days.  Nearly everyone is going to have different pay from last month, due to changes in base pay rates, Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) , Basic Allowance for Housing  (BAH), and payroll taxes.  Without a Leave and Earnings Statement until the end of the month, servicemembers will have to estimate whether their pay is right.

The increase in BAS and 1.7% pay raise received by all active duty military folks will be just about offset by the 2% increase in Social Security Payroll Taxes.  Therefore, most increases or decreases in pay will be the result of changes in BAH.

While it is a little frustrating to see the entire pay raise taken up by the increase in taxes, I am thankful that the raise is there.  Otherwise, we’d all be seeing our paychecks go down by 2%.  That would be even more lousy than having them stay just about the same.

Questions?  Ask ’em in the comments.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • garyed

    I would make 18 dollars more a month without the pay raise and BAH/BAS, now with the pay raise and tax raise I make 18 less a month, great……

  • Gary Nisker

    My pay went DOWN by $288!

    • KateKashman

      Gary, that sounds a little off. Were there other factors that would change your pay? If not, I hope it gets cleared up at the end of the month.

  • Kirk

    $76.00 decrease in pay this pay check…multiply that times the 26 checks I’m to receive this year = $1,976.00 – CURSE YOU RED BARON!!!!

  • george

    william, because we are stupid.

  • george

    viet vet yes we are.

  • Jodie
  • 20 year vet

    Anone foolish enough to vote for Obama voted for this kind of pay decrease! And theres more on the horizon! And if you have to ask ‘Why’ who havent been paying attention to the news. Turn off American Idol and pay attention to what really effects your life!

    So, have a seat, grab some popcorn if you can afford it and enjoy a front row seat to the destruction of our Country for the next four years.

    • bingo
    • guest

      You need to watch something other than Fox News 22 Year Vet

    • Bonnie

      the destruction started long before Obama. Time to pay the piper for all the tax cuts of the past and the huge military pay raises that went with it!

      • got gipped

        damn spent all those years in and somehow missed all those ‘HUGH” military pay raises. Wow

      • Gunny’s Girl

        Hugh military pay raises??? Married to a Marine who’s been in since the 90s. Never ever seen a huge pay raise whatsoever. I seriously think you have the military confused with Congress and Senate. Those are the only groups of people I know of who have, and continue to consistently receive HUGE pay raises and amazing – untouchable to regular folks – golden benefits!

  • Steve
  • Pat

    It was Obama who decreased the amount people were paying in social security taxes several years ago due to the bad economy. It was not going to be forever and it was eventually going back to normal. The big negative was removing probably billions of dollars being put into social security retirement.

    People bitched because Bush wanted people to be able to put aside a few percent from social security taxes put it into private accounts (401ks, etc) . But no one complained about Obama reducing money in social security.

    • DOCSAMSPA

      LYNDON JOHNSON UNLOCKED SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUND AND IT WAS RAIDED TO PAY FOR VIETNAM WAR.THE DOOR LEFT OPEN,SO THE BANK IS UPSIDE DOWN.1ST TEAM ,BLACK HORSE -VIETNAM VET.WE GOT PAYED
      $98/MONTH,E-1.

  • Noah

    In case you didn’t actually read this article, or any other article that’s been in the news lately about the changes in the payroll tax, and this is information in case you’re unable to do math or understand English on your own, is the end of the payroll tax holiday. This was a tax CUT enacted by Pres. Obama during the height of the recession, and it’s intent was get Americans more take home pay in a time when they needed it most.
    The end of the payroll tax holiday means that the percentage of your pay that is taken out for Social Security is returning to pre-2009 rates. And it’s not money that your actually losing. It’s additional withholding, so the money you see yourself as losing on your LES is going to end up being less money you have to pay on your income when it’s time to pay your state and federal taxes.

    • HGH

      The tax was cut to buy votes, and it worked!

      • jaxsolo

        No. Payroll tax has nothing to do with income tax. Payroll taxes fund social security, such as it is.

        • KateKashman

          Jaxsolo, I think you could debate whether or not payroll tax has anything to do with income tax. It is a tax, and it is a tax on income. Doesn’t that make it an income tax? You are, of course, correct that it does not figure into your federal income tax return at the end of the year. You could say that means that it isn’t an income tax. Either way, we’re paying it!

    • Mike

      umm, Noah?
      Where do you get the idea that OASDI reduces your taxable income?

  • Vet

    Everyone wants the government to stop with all the give always and to pay less in taxes. That is until the benefit you receive is targeted. Then it becomes not me I earned or I am entitled to that. The problem is that Congress is doing what we want them to, fight for our entitlement/benefit and cut the other people benefit. That other guy is you. yes I saw a reducing in my pay this month.

  • ROBERT

    OVERSEAS SPENDING…….STOP GIVING AWAY MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1.ISRAEL
    2.SOUTH KOREA
    2.THE BIGGEST ONE GERMANY

    • Redleg

      Robert, lemme put it simple for ya…..our German and other European partners have paid a huge cost in Afghanistan, and without their support, more US Soldiers would’ve paid the ultimate price in Afghanistan. Or are you saying we should pay the full cost for all wars without allies?

  • guest

    This isn’t a tax hike people, it’s a return to the historical norm after a short and greatly appreciated reprieve. Think of it as helping your parents in their retirement years. In addition the active duty base pay increased 1.7% this year so in actuality your gross pay is only .3% lower then last year. If .3% is that HUGE of a deal in your budget then something needs to change because you have massive financial issues, either a spouse needs to seek additional employment or there needs to be a trimming of the budget.

    Time to take a second and be thankful for what the military does offer, like free healthcare to active duty and their families. If I was on my companies private insurance this year instead of Tricare, my MONTHLY premiums would be $850, and the lowest dr’s copay is $50, for prescriptions the tiering is $10 for generic, $25, $50 and then an 80% of total for non formulary. That’s $10,200 a year just for PREMIUMS for a family. then tack on another grand or two in copays

    • Mic

      if it was really .3 ours would have only been like $21 instead it is more like $240 so something is off. Have to wait to see if the active duty bas pay increase was actually on the LES (can’t see that till Feb 1st) And just so you understand back 20 years ago when my husband joined the military every penny/dollar counted even the $10’s so when you say something like thankful for free healthcare it is NOT free it is added into what is the “compensation package” meaning they DO pay for it with the lower salaries. Look at what an E3 get’s paid. PLEASE never say FREE and healthcare again. Don’t even start on that bandwagon it’s not a fair fight.

      • guest

        A married E3 that gets BAH makes as much money as when I got out of grad school 5 years ago…after investing 100k in my education (that I paid for through scholarships and jobs, not my parents). So their pay is NOT lower then private industry any more…maybe back 20 years ago it was but those days are loooong gone. It is FREE healthcare, yes it’s part of the compensation package but try and name me ONE private company that has NO Copays, NO premiums, NO “extra fees” for active duty members. It’s an added bonus on top of decent pay. And name me ONE private company that you can pay a $500 YEARLY premium for a high quality healthcare plan for retirees. My father worked for a state government. His retiree plan for healthcare is %500 a MONTH still. So, Mic you can believe what you want based on your experiences 20 plus years ago, but those experiences aren’t reality anymore so it’s time to stop looking the gift horse in the mouth.

  • harlry

    no one wanted to listen about this administration and their lies! To all you ******** tha voted these idiots back into office expecting different results, I guess the joke is on you!!!!

    • guest

      Ummm no…I voted this guy back into office to do EXACTLY what he did, maintain middle class tax breaks, increase taxes on the wealthy (and if the limit had been set to 250k, we would have been in that class of people in a few years), remove the 2% tax reduction to aid in shoring up SS. Now if we can get some more reform to get rid of the EIC, child care credits etc, perhaps get to a flat tax with no deductions for EVERYONE, I’d be one happy camper. So I guess the JOKE is on YOU, there are many of us that are greatly effected by his policies and are OK with it..

      • Yes! Flat tax

        FLAT TAX! Simple easy and everyone pay the same percent. No more IRS for the worker. Money saved there too.

  • Mrs. J. trick

    No – The “joke” is on ALL of us

  • ed manning

    whats happening to TRICARE FOR LIFE ?

  • kw_fixer

    I GOT TO LOVE ALL THE ARGUMENTS HERE THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST DECISIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENT IN D.C. IS TOTALLY OUT OF TOUCH WITH WHAT IS GOING ON ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. YES THE FICA-SS TAX HOLIDAY WAS A MISTAKE. BUT, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND BELIEVES THAT THE ECONOMY IS BETTER? WE WERE AT 10% UNEMPLOYMENT JUST A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. THAT IS THE GOVERNMENT FIGURE. THE ACTUAL FIGURE WAS WAY HIGHER WHEN CALCULATING PEOPLE THAT HAVE STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK. AM I PISSED, HECK YEAH. TO THINK I HAVE BEEN IN THIS JOB FOR OVER 10 YEARS AND I STILL ONLY HAVE A 32K A YEAR PAY IS LUDICROUSNESS. I GIVE EVERYTHING TO THIS JOB ONLY TO BECOME BROKEN DOWN, BORDERLINE DISABLED AND THEN TO FIND OUT THAT CONGRESS’ PAYCHECKS WILL NEVER BE DELAYED WHILE OURS ARE PUT ON HOLD IF THE GOVERNMENT “SHUTS DOWN”. SOME OF US ARE TRULY LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK. WHILE THE DIMWITS IN CONGRESS ARE MAKING OVER $174K A YEAR! THAT IS A FIRST YEAR CONGRESSMAN. LOOK IT UP. ONE MONTH OF THEIR PAYCHECKS WILL PAY ALMOST 5 SOLDIERS. HMMMM….. NEVER THOUGHT OF THAT ONE!!! NEXT ON THE CHOPPING BOCK FOR SOLDIERS IS RETIREMENT, TRICARE, WHO KNOWS, HOUSING? IF CONGRESS DID WHAT THE CONSTITUTION DEMANDED OF THEM THEY WOULD BE TRUE PUBLIC SERVANTS. THE JOB OF BEING A CONGRESSMAN WOULD BE A SIDE JOB TO A NORMAL JOB. IT WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A FULL TIME JOB OR EVEN A PROFESSION. THIS IS GETTING TO BE OUTRAGEOUS. EVERY OFFICE SHOULD HAVE A TERM LIMIT. IF YOU DO 8 YEARS FOR EVERY OFFICE THE MAX YOU COULD BE IN WASHINGTON WOULD BE 24 YEARS. THAT IS NUTS! BUT THEN AGAIN NEW BLOOD WOULD FILL THAT PERSONS SEAT EVERY 8 YEARS. RATHER THAN HAVING SOMEONE ELECTED TO THE SENATE BACK IN THE 1950’S AND STILL SERVING IN THE SAME HOUSE SEAT TODAY (REP. JOHN DINGELL D-MICHIGAN)! LOOK THAT ONE UP! NEW BLOOD NEW IDEAS, BETTER FOR THE COUNTRY. ONE FLAT TAX RATE IS ANOTHER GREAT IDEA, X% FOR EVERYONE, NO DEDUCTIONS, JUST X%! OK ENOUGH OF MY RANT!

    • guest

      I don’t know about you but I work in private industry and my salary has doubled since I started in 07 as have my investments so in many ways the economy is much better.