Joining the Army unlocks a world of exciting perks that seamlessly blend adventure, camaraderie and security. As a soldier, you'll experience the thrill of stepping outside your comfort zone. You'll push your limits alongside a tight-knit group of your new best friends. Every day brings new possibilities for personal and professional growth. You'll build resilience, discipline and unwavering commitment. However, these aren't the only Army perks available. Life as a soldier offers so much more.
The journey begins
Through the crisp morning air, the sound of boots striking the ground echoes like thunder, as determination, grit, and a fierce sense of purpose drive you forward. Sweat drips from your brow, but it is merely a testament to the resilience you have cultivated. The benefits of joining the Army aren't just financial - but that helps, too. These benefits are an investment in your present and your future.
Did you know that as of 2021, the Post-9/11 GI Bill has paid out over $100 billion in education benefits to more than 2 million service members and their families?
The Army offers a wide range of education benefits that can help you reach your goals - no matter what they are. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is one of the most popular and generous benefits. These days, it covers up to 100% of tuition and fees for eligible soldiers. The bill also offers a monthly housing allowance and a stipend for textbooks and supplies, so there's no getting buried in student loans.
Besides the GI Bill, the Army Tuition Assistance (TA) program is another valuable benefit. TA covers up to 100% of tuition and fees for courses taken at accredited colleges and universities, up to a maximum of $250 per credit hour. So if you're trying to make yourself look really good for your next promotion board, you should be fully using all of your TA. It's free money and you don't want to leave that on the table. This program is available to active-duty soldiers, Army National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, and even some family members.
If you already went to college but have a mound of loans to tend to, the College Loan Repayment Program (CLRP) is probably ideal for you. This program can repay up to $65,000 in eligible student loans and is available to soldiers who enlist in certain military occupational specialties.
Comprehensive healthcare coverage is one of the major Army perks. Military treatment facilities provide medical and dental care to you and your loved ones. Additionally, TRICARE, the military's health insurance program, offers tailored options such as TRICARE Prime, which has minimal out-of-pocket costs. TRICARE covers about 10 million beneficiaries, including active-duty service members, making it a comprehensive healthcare choice for you and your family.
But what good is an epic journey without the rewards of gold and treasure?
Serving in the Army means your financial future is secure. Competitive salaries, regular pay raises based on rank and time in service, and the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) all contribute to the richness of the Army experience. Enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, hazardous duty pay, and family separation pay are also within reach, adding to your growing bounty.
Here’s how to use your BAH to make extra cash.
As your Army odyssey nears its end, the allure of retirement perks beckons like a warm, glowing sunset on the horizon. Depending on your length of service, you could receive a monthly pension through the military's retirement system, like the innovative Blended Retirement System (BRS), which fuses a traditional pension with government contributions to a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Consult the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website to discover your path to a well-earned retirement.
Check out our full review of military retirement benefits here.
Family support programs
The Army is committed to supporting your family while you're on duty. The Army Community Service (ACS) offers a range of services to help military families navigate the unique challenges of military life, including deployment, relocation, and separation. The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) provides support to families with special needs, offering customized services to meet the unique requirements of each family.
The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) provides resources and support to families dealing with domestic abuse and other related issues. In 2020, the Army provided over 38,000 hours of counseling and support services to military families through FAP.
In addition to these programs, ACS also offers a range of other services to military families, including financial counseling, employment assistance, and youth programs. According to a 2020 report from the Army, ACS provided over 4.4 million services to military families in 2019.
After the Army
When your Army journey comes to a close, the Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) is ready to provide counseling, job search assistance, and other resources to ensure a smooth transition into civilian life. It's not going to be easy, but just like when you joined, you'll have a team of people in your corner helping you every step of the way.
And, as a veteran, you can also access a range of benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, such as healthcare, education, and home loans.
From the moment you first don your uniform, you embark on a journey unlike any other, where each step unlocks a world of unparalleled opportunities. As you take those steps, you'll realize that the Army has not just provided you with a career but a family, a purpose, and a lifetime of memories.