The best part of deploying isn’t what you’d think it would be. It’s not the crazy experiences and stories, or even the places you’d go. Sure all that is great and amazing in their own right, but the best part of deploying is for that Air Force deployment money.

Do You Get Paid More When Deployed?

Yes, you absolutely get paid more when deployed. All of the financial benefits while deployed add up pretty fast and you have nothing to spend your money on in the middle of the desert. Unless you do crazy amounts of online shopping. It’s a great time to save!

I spent one year overseas in the desert on two separate 6 month deployments and the financial benefits were well worth it. I came back from my first 6 month deployment as an A1C with around $20,000 in the bank. That’s pretty good for a single young airman.

You could easily do the same with these deployed financial benefits while in the Air Force.

5 Financial Benefits Of Deploying

These five deployment benefits will dramatically increase the amount of money you’ll earn while overseas. Making that 6 month deployment worth it.

Tax Free Air Force Deployment Areas

While in Air Force deployment areas the money you make is considered tax free. Nothing is taken out of your paycheck while you have boots on the ground in these zones. You’re actually making more money while away simply because of this. Deployment Air Force pay is increased when the normal amount of federal taxes isn’t taken out in a tax free zone. So consider it a pay raise while overseas.

Save Your Housing Allowance

This is somewhat of a process to achieve, you have to be living off base for it to work. Typically airmen that do this tend to be single without dependence because it’s much more complicated for an airmen with family. If you live off base then you’re given a housing allowance called BAH to pay for your housing. Many single airmen will move out before they deploy and simply store their belongings in a storage unit while at the same time collecting the BAH money they’d use for rent.

Why pay for rent at a place you won’t even be using, you’d be in a different country anyway. You’ll be provided housing at your deployed location in the form of large tents or dorm style living arrangements depending on the location. The money you’d bank from BAH depends on what base you are originally stationed at so there is no exact number. Generally it’s enough to pay for your rent though.

Side tip, in order to break the lease/rental agreement and not have any issues many airmen will talk to their First Sergeant at their squadron. The First Sergeant will provide a letter for you to give to the landlord requiring them to release you from the rental agreement without penalty.

Air Force Deployment Separation Pay

If you have a family then you can take advantage of another pay incentive while deploying called family separation pay. Having to leave dependents behind while you’re away allows you be granted an extra $250 per month on top of the normal paycheck. Air Force deployment separation pay adds up fast. Over the entire deployment that’s an extra $1,500 just in separation pay going to your bank account.

Hardship Living/Hazard Duty Pay

These are two separate pay incentives and both depend on certain criteria in order to receive them. Sometimes airmen will receive one and not the other. Hardship living pay depends on the location and level of hardship you’re deployed to and can range from $50 to $150 extra per month while in country. On the other hand hazard duty pay is received for certain Air Force career fields, qualifying fiends are payed an extra $150 per month. Hardship living/hazard duty pay list can be found here.

According to the DoD, hazard duty jobs for non air crew members include, “Service members that perform flying duty as non crew members, parachute jumping, demolition of explosives, handle toxic fuels, engage in flight deck duty, or experimental stress duty.”

Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay

Many people want to know, how much do you get for combat pay? Just know combat pay is considered hostile fire/imminent danger pay in the Air Force.

Hostile fire/imminent danger pay is pay incentive that’s directed towards more dangerous areas. Areas where there is a threat of hostile fire and mine explosions. Generally an entire country gets put on the list to receive this benefit. However the locations are very wide spread and not everywhere is gonna be a threat even though you could still get the pay for it if inside the country. The pay incentive is $225 per month or prorated to $7.50 per day if under 30 days in area. Here is a breakdown of the hostile fire/imminent danger pay locations, just scroll to the bottom of the pdf.

Q&A – Deploying And Money

Before you find yourself overseas it’s a good idea to get your financial matters in order. If you’re given a short deployment notice or you just run out of time, the finance office will be able to help with any issues that arise while deployed.

Here are some common questions people often ask related Air Force deployments and money.

How Can I Save Money While Deployed?

Whether you’re just starting to save money or have a chunk of money to throw into savings when deploying, you’re set. There is an Air Force deployment savings plan called the DoD Savings Deposit Program.

This program earns up to 10% interest annually, and you can put as much as $10,000 into saving. Either in one lump sum or by adding monthly increments. The savings deposit program is only available for deploying individuals. You need to have boots on the ground for 30 days before an account can be set up. You can pull your money out if you need it, or leave it in for the entire 6 month deployment and let interest accrue, watching your savings grow.

Do Deployed Airman Have Access To Their Money?

When you’re deploying there will be a finance office on location when you arrive. If needed you can draw out money through the finance office whether it’s in U.S. Dollars or the local currency. Money can even be added to a charge card to use on base for purchases you make at the BX. Depending on the base, some deployed areas do take debit and credit cards, if the base is set up for it. You’ll find some larger deployed bases have ATM’s for convenience sake near fast food stalls. Yes, you heard right, you can still get fast food even when deploying.

If you don’t already, you might want to consider doing online banking. Generally, there is accessible WiFi throughout deployed Air Force bases. This will be the easiest way to pay your bills overseas. However, if for whatever reason you’re unable to do online banking, western union is also available. You can send money stateside to take care of bills and personal matters.

Related article below:

Your First Deployment: Deployment Tips and Deployment Must Haves

To Wrap It Up

Be prepared to have hundreds of extra dollars a month, or possible even double your base pay while you’re deploying. You may not get every single deployment benefit from the Air Force, but expect to make some extra money. Air Force deployment money will make you want to keep volunteering to go overseas and rack up some money fast. I had saved $20,000 from deploying for 6 months.

What would you do with that kind of money?

Corey Porter

Corey Porter

Air Force Veteran

Corey is an Air Force veteran and the lead writer at Basic to Blues. He refueled fighter jets as a young airman and deployed twice to the Middle East. Now Corey can be found hiking in the Pacific Northwest.

Who the hell… POL!

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