Once upon a time, a long time ago, the military received their pay once a month. I’ve heard stories of lining up at the pay office to receive their cash..$18, $24, $53. Things sure have changed. One big change to military pay happened when servicemembers were given the option to receive half their pay 15 or so days early – a mid-month paycheck. Though most people now think this is usual and the way things are regularly done, historically it is an optional benefit to help military families who might have difficulty budgeting across an entire month.
When you receive mid-month pay, what you are receiving is an interest-free advance of half the estimated amount of total pay that you will receive for the entire month. It is pretty clear on the LES – the mid-month pay is listed as a deduction from the month’s total pay.
Here’s the interesting thing, though…you don’t HAVE to get paid twice a month. If it works better for your family, you can choose to do the once a month pay option. Some people think it is brilliant, some people think it is useless. I think it is nice to have choices.
If you think you would like to switch to getting your pay only once a month, remember that because the mid-month pay is an advance on the end-of-month pay, you’ll go that first month with only a half a paycheck at the beginning then no pay until you receive the full month’s pay at the end of the month. This is not going to be easy if you are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Your finance folks should be able to help you make the switch, and if they can’t, ask them to find out how.