The new year will bring a welcome gift to many members of the U.S. armed services – one of the biggest pay raises in years.
The military budget for fiscal 2020 – of $738 billion – will increase service member pay by 3.1 percent. Federal civilian pay is also set to rise by 3.1 percent.
The raise will increase pay for enlisted members with less than two years of service to more than six years of service by amounts varying from $1,733 (E-1 with less than two years of service) to $3,837 (E-7 with over six years of service), according to the Navy’s pay chart.
An officer at the highest pay grade with more than 10 years of service will get a $12,579 bump.
As of 2019, basic monthly rates of pay for enlisted members with two to eight years of service varied from about $1,680 to $4,345 based on pay grade.
Next year will be the first time since 2010 that pay for military members will increase by more than 3 percent, as noted by the Military Times. Ten years ago, service members’ paychecks increased by 3.4 percent.
Annual raises are typically determined by the Employment Cost Index, which measures increases in private-sector wages and salaries. Congress or the president can opt to enact a different pay raise.
A recent RAND Arroyo Center study reported by FOX Business looked into whether service members’ pay has gotten too high. The researcher found that despite pay exceeding the 70th percentile for both enlisted and officers, the Army has struggled to attract top-tier recruits. The study suggested the service might look into providing special incentives for retention and performance, or increasing resources other than pay.
Last year military pay increased by 2.6 percent, and 2.4 percent in 2018.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will also get its largest funding boost in history – a 9 percent increase in funds, or $217 billion.