Frequently Asked Questions

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Who do I call if I am having problems with my military

Military members with questions
regarding their pay should first address them to their local finance and
administrative office. The local military
pay office is your first and best source of information. Civilian employees with
questions regarding their pay must contact their customer service representative.
The customer service representative will contact the payroll office directly
with your request. To access
more information and telephone numbers regarding payroll questions for the different
branches of service contact the Defense Financial and Accounting Service (DFAS)
at Defense
Finance and Accounting Service – Military Pay

Information for National Guard Pay and Withholdings can be accessed at

You can get information on how to
understand your Leave and Earnings Statement at

Additionally, Airmen who are having pay problems they are
unable to solve with local military personnel flights or finance offices can
contact the Air Force Personnel Center. Customers can e-mail issues to the
center at
[email protected] or call (800) 558-1404 or DSN 665-2949. The center’s operating hours are
Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST. After hours, a phone message
can be left for an agent to follow up on the next day. For general information on pay benefits,

Questions concerning SPECIFIC PAY ACCOUNT INFORMATION should
be directed to the servicing payroll office or to your normal customer service
representative as follows:


Your local Customer Service

Military Retirees:



1-800-435-3396 (US) or (303) 676-6552
(Outside US)

Military Members:

 U.S. Air Force

Your Local Finance Office

 U.S. Air Force

Your Local Reserve Center Finance

 U.S. Army Active:

Your servicing Defense Military Pay
Office or Finance Battalion

 U.S. Army Reserves:

1-888-PAY-ARMY (1-888-729-2769) or your
administrative unit

 U.S. National Guard:

1-888-PAY-ARMY (1-888-729-2769) or your
administrative unit

 U.S. Army Separatees:


 U.S. Marine Corps

Your Local Admin Office

 U.S. Marine Corps

Your Local Admin Office

 U.S. Navy Active:

1-800-346-3374 or your Local Personnel
Support Detachment

 U.S. Navy Reserves:

1-800-255-0974 or your Local Reserve
Personnel Support Detachment


I access pay information 24 hours a day?

Yes, by using the Military Pay
Information Lines, service members can obtain current pay information from their
Master Military Pay Account 24 hours a day.  To use the Military Pay Interactive
Voice Response System (IVRS) you will need a Personal Identification Number
(PIN), your social security number (SSN) and a touch tone telephone.  CONUS members can access the Military
Pay IVRS using 1-800 phone numbers. 
Commercial and DSN numbers are available for OCONUS members.  Active duty members can obtain
information on Net Pay/Direct Deposit, Allotments, Bonds, Leave Balances and Tax
information. Reserve and National Guard members can obtain information on Net
Pay/Direct Deposit (current and previous), SGLI Election information and Tax
information. Recently separated service members can obtain information on their
final account audit status and W2 information. All callers will be able to
access general information on non receipt of allotments, information on bonds in
safekeeping, reporting procedures for lost or stolen bonds, inquiries regarding
estimated earnings for purposes of civilian retirement, and direct access to a
bond technician. Please remember these applications are not intended to replace
your finance office. Pay related problems should still be directed to your local
finance office or unit administrator for active intervention and

If you are:
























can I find information about current pay scales?

All military personnel
are paid based upon their rank and length of time in service.  You can view
current military pay information for active duty and
inactive duty (drill pay) for all ranks at  Pay rates for 2003 can be found at

What is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Relief Act of

During World War I, Congress passed the Soldiers’ and
Sailors’ Civil Relief Act of 1918. The 1918 statute did not create a moratorium on actions against service
members, but it directed trial courts to take whatever action equity required
when a service member’s rights were involved in a controversy. The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief
Act (SSCRA) of 1940 is essentially a reenactment of the 1918 statute. Experience during World War II and
subsequent armed conflicts made certain changes in the statute necessary. The first of these amendments became law
in 1942. In amending the Act, Congress was motivated, in part, by the desire to
override court decisions that, in some instances, had led to restrictive
interpretations of the Act. The latest amendment occurred in 1991 as a result of
Desert Shield/Storm. Reservists and
members of the National Guard (when in active federal service) are also
protected under the SSCRA. The
protection begins on the date the reservist enters active duty service and
terminates upon release from active duty. However, some protections under the act extend for a limited time beyond
discharge but are tied to the discharge date. Additionally, some of the Act’s
protections extend to the members’ dependents. Information about the Soldiers’
and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act can be found at

Will the SSCRA ensure that I have Reemployment

Contrary to what many people believe, there are no
provisions for Reemployment Rights as part of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil
Relief Act. Reemployment rights are a completely separate legislation, the
Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)

What is the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?

The TSP is a defined contribution plan.  The retirement
income that you receive from your TSP account will depend on how much you (and
your service, if you receive matching contributions) have contributed to your
account during your working years and the earnings on those contributions. The TSP is a retirement savings plan
both for civilians who are employed by the United States Government and for
members of the uniformed services.  Congress established the FSP in the
Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986. The purpose of the TSP is to provide
retirement income. The TSP offers
the same type of
savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under so-called
“401(k)” plans.  TSP regulations are published in title 5 of the Code of
Federal Regulations, Parts 1600 – 1699, and are periodically supplemented and
amended in the Federal Register. The Thrift Saving Plan (TSP) can be accessed at or Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

Two comprehensive TSP informational booklets – the Summary of
the Thrift Savings Plan for Federal Employees
and the Guide to TSP Investments – have been completely updated.  They are being sent to employing
agencies for distribution during the forthcoming open season.  Copies are
now available for preview on the TSP Web site.  Additionally, a “Before and
summary description of the changes is also available on the Web

         When can I sign up for the Thrift Savings

If you are eligible, you can sign up to
contribute to the TSP during the two Open Seasons each year or within 60 days of
when you join the uniformed services. If you are a member of the Ready Reserve
and are called to active duty or are a member leaving active duty and entering
the Ready Reserve, you may also make TSP elections within 60 days of your change
in status. You may make only one election each Open Season.

Changes to your TSP can be made through
E/MSS and do not require a form. However, if you prefer to submit a paper form, available on the TSP Web
site, at or if you are interested
in a loan, you must contact your servicing personnel-payroll office.

Members of the uniformed services can sign
up to participate in the TSP by submitting a TSP Election Form (TSP-U-1) to their service from the member’s unit. Those who are members of the military
services can also enroll electronically through the Employee/Member Self-Service
System (E/MSS). For 2002, all members of the uniformed services can contribute
up to 7 percent of their basic pay. Members can contribute up to 100 percent of
incentive and special pay, including bonuses. For more information, see the
Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan for the Uniformed
, which is available from
the TSP Service Office, or contact your
service TSP representative.


National Guard members receive any tax benefits?

Members of the National Guard receive
a W-2 Form each year showing the total amount of taxable wages for the previous
year, total federal and state income tax withheld, and total Social Security
taxes withheld from pay received for National Guard duty. National Guard members whose civilian
employers pay them the difference between their National Guard pay for annual
active duty for training and their civilian pay for that period may end up being taxed twice. The civilian
employer may report as taxable income the full salary for the two-week period
without reducing the amount for military reimbursement, and DFAS will deduct
taxes from the National Guard member’s military pay as well. This can be
corrected either by obtaining a corrected W-2 form or reducing the amount of
income reported in one’s tax return and including a narrative explanation of the
situation. All basic pay (excluding pay received as a stipend for participation
in the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program) and hazardous duty
or incentive pay, is taxable. Allowances for BAH and BAS, uniform allowances,
meal allowances, and items furnished in kind, such as rations, transportation,
and accommodations, are not taxable. Some National Guard members are entitled to a
credit on their tax return for excess Social Security tax withheld from their military

USAA at is a good
source of information for military members for insurance, banking and
tax-deferred investments. If you have any questions about your specific tax situation, you can consult the Tax Guide, the IRS at,
a tax professional or Tax
Information For National Guard Members
.  A copy of
the Armed Forces Tax Guide can be found at

More information about Tax Relief for Those Affected by
Operation Joint Guard can be found at 
ntitlements and benefits
for military personnel deployed for Operation
Joint Guard can also be found at

You can download federal tax forms from the
IRS’s Forms and Publications site:  You can also file
electronically, using the IRS’s e-file
system or by using one of a number of software packages.  For more
information on filing, see the section Filing Returns
in the Armed Forces
Tax Guide  You can
download state tax forms from your
state tax

Are W2 Tax Forms Available Online?

Beginning in January 2003, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service
will make 2002 W2 tax forms available online through DFAS’ myPay system. A personal identification number is
needed to access personal accounts. Service members, retirees and civilian employees who do not remember
receiving their PIN or do not remember the number can go to, and click on myPay, which is under the “Money
Matters” heading. Due to security
reasons PINs are mailed to the recipients, and it could take from three to seven
days to get the number after the request has been made. Some of the other finance actions that
can be performed online to date are: purchasing savings bonds, managing
allotments, viewing and printing travel vouchers and leave and earning
statements. Customers with
questions about myPay can call customer support at 1-800- 3900-2348, Monday
through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. EST. For more about pay and benefits, and a
tax guide, see

10.       What is
Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI)?

SGLI is a program of low cost group life insurance for
service members on active duty, ready reservists, members of the Commissioned
Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public
Health Service, cadets and midshipmen of the four service academies, and members
of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. SGLI is available in $10,000 increments
up to the maximum of $250,000. SGLI insured have two options available to them
upon release from service. They can convert their full-time SGLI coverage to
term insurance under the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance program or to a
permanent plan of insurance with one of the participating commercial insurance
companies. Military members may
purchase a Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance (SGLI) policy available through
military pay deduction.  It is currently limited to $250,000 (since 1 April
2001). See
Service Members Get More Life Insurance Coverage.

With the recent increase, now is a good time to review your
SGLI beneficiary designations.  For
details on beneficiary designation see AR
600-8-1, Army
Casualty Operations/Assistance/Insurance
, paragraph 11-29. Check the Chapter 11
Figures associated with
SGLI beneficiary designations for more information. Also see SGLI information
online @ Of course,
any day is a good one to be sure you have properly named who you want to receive
your insurance policy proceeds.

You may find general information about SGLI on the SGLI page of the Department of
Veteran’s Affairs web site. It includes this SGLI/VGLI Handbook.  

Available for Viewing and Downloading in Adobe
Acrobat PDF. Get Adobe

Remember, how much life insurance you need,
if any, depends on your personal situation. Several sites, mentioned in USAAs
Insurance may help you
decide how much life insurance you want to buy. If you want more information you can
contact the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) at
1-800-419-1473 or at
[email protected]