Activated reservists could see extra pay
Stars and Stripes August 30, 2006
ARLINGTON, Va. — Reserve component servicemembers might be eligible for up to $3,000 extra per month to make up for the difference between their civilian and military incomes.
Congress has authorized Reserve and National Guard servicemembers who are involuntarily called to active duty to collect between $50 and $3,000 per month beginning Aug. 1, 2006, to make their military and civilian pay roughly equal, officials said.
The Marine Corps outlined the details of the program in an Aug. 25 Marine administrative message (MARADMIN), following news last week that the Marine Corps plans to call up to 2,500 members of the Individual Ready Reserve to go downrange.
A Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday that the DOD estimates that between 1,000 and 2,000 servicemembers are eligible for the extra pay, which will amount to average payments of between $850 and $1,000 per month.
The program will make it possible that reserve component troops will be paid more than their active-duty counterparts.
Asked if the disparity could cause ill will among troops, a DOD Reserve Affairs spokesman said in e-mailed response Tuesday: “That is always a possibility when one member is receiving more money than another similarly situated member. This situation exists today between members with dependents and those without dependents since the housing allowance provides for different levels of compensation.”
The extra money comes on top of hazardous duty and imminent danger pay, but it is also taxable, unlike Marines’ regular combat pay, said Maj. John Price, Reserve Affairs policy specialist.
Under the program, which runs from 2006-2008, Marines are paid for every month of service after 18 months, Price said.
To be eligible, Marines must serve at least 18 consecutive months of active duty or be deployed twice for 180 days or more within an 18-month period, he said.
A Rand Corporation study in 2002-2003 found that about 28 percent of reserve component servicemembers earn less while mobilized than in their civilian jobs, Price said.
Thus, of the roughly 500 Marines who fall into one of the two categories at any given time, about 140 would be eligible for the extra pay, he said.
Other servicemembers are eligible if they serve more than 24 months in total on active duty in the past five years by participating in more than one contingency operation, such as deploying to the Balkans and the Middle East, Price said.
Currently, no Marines qualify for this option.
The pay is not retroactive, but eligible Marines in the Select Reserve and Individual Ready Reserve already on active duty can earn the extra cash for their active duty service beyond August 1, Price said.
To apply for the extra pay, servicemembers should go through their chain of command, he said.
Marines who qualify for the extra pay must provide tax forms or their last 12 pay stubs, he said.
For more information on the Reserve Income Replacement Program, go to www.dod.mil/ra/ And look under Income Replacement.