The military allotment is a perk of serving. An allotment can be set up to handle certain kinds of payments including recurring investments like savings bonds, dental premiums, or donations to charity.
Allotments can also be used to make court-ordered recurring child support payments, pay off government debt, and make certain other types of payment. Allotments can be set up to pay a civilian entity or a military one depending on the nature of the transaction.
What Is A Military Allotment?
A military allotment is an automatic deduction from your military pay. Any active duty service member can set up an allotment to have money automatically deducted for two different types: a discretionary allotment and their non-discretionary counterparts.
Discretionary allotments may be started and stopped at any time by the service member. You can use a discretionary allotment to pay your healthcare premiums, life insurance, recurring payments to others, and much more.
However, not every type of payment is eligible, and not every kind of recipient is eligible to be the beneficiary of a military allotment.
One major use of discretionary allotments? Those who are deployed to war zones often use them to set up deposits into the Department of Defense Savings Deposit Program, which is offered to those serving in combat zones or other hazardous duty.
Non-discretionary allotments may include payments to a military relief organization such as the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society or the Air Force Aid Society. You can also use a non-discretionary allotment to make court-ordered child support payments.
The fact that these payments have a payee-defined start and stop are one of the reasons why this type of allotment is considered non-discretionary. You aren’t allowed to simply stop the payments at will.
How Much Comes Out Of Each Military Paycheck
Generally speaking your allotment is split over both pay periods each month. Half comes out with your first month’s LES, the other half is paid for your second military paycheck that month.
Restrictions On Military Allotments
The number of allotments you may have is restricted depending on the nature of the allotment.
DoD regulations allow active duty military to carry as many as six discretionary allotments per month. You may carry as many non-discretionary allotments you like but Defense Accounting And Finance Service rules say a servicemember can have a maximum of 15 allotments at any one time per month.
There are circumstances where military allotments are not permitted. In 2014 the Department of Defense issued a statement noting that starting in 2015 and beyond, “discretionary allotments are prohibited to ‘purchase, lease, or rent personal property.’”
However, any allotments for savings accounts, support of dependents, insurance premiums, mortgages, to pay rents or fund investments “will continue to be permitted”.
This policy statement was directed at active duty service members only. Retirees and federal employees were not included in this restriction.
There are also other limits. For example, you cannot set up an allotment to be paid to a minor under the age of 16. Other restrictions, as described by the Defense Accounting and Finance Service, include but may not be limited to:
- Mentally incompetent recipients – Allotments may be made payable to the recipient’s appointed guardians or “the institution when a mentally incompetent payee is confined”.
- Restrictions on General Powers of Attorney – A general power of attorney is not acceptable in order to start or modify a military pay allotment.
- You cannot start allotments between the date that a court-martial is ordered and the date of the approval or disapproval of the sentence, except when instructed by the convening authority to establish an allotment for deferred forfeitures.
- Allotments are denied for returning absentees, deserters “unless DFAS has verified the member’s pay status”.
- Allotments are denied in cases of fraudulent enlistment – Pay and allowances may not be allotted when pay is suspended pending final action on determination of fraudulent enlistment.
- Allotments are discontinued when a reduction in grade or stopped military pay does not leave sufficient funds for allotments that have already been established.
What About The National Guard And Reserve?
Reservists and members of the National Guard are permitted military allotments when they are called to active duty, active duty for training, or full-time training duty under orders specifying extended active duty for more than 180 days.
Those in the Guard/Reserve who are not on extended duty may set up one allotment for insurance premiums, paid to a sponsored-by-the-Guard group life insurance program.
Setting Up A Military Allotment
As mentioned above, it’s crucial to make sure all account numbers, addresses, routing numbers, and other pay-related details are entered and submitted as accurately as possible to avoid delays or misdirected payments.
How do military pay allotments work? With an allotment, half of the allotted amount is deducted from your mid-month pay, and that amount remains in the system until the other half is deducted from your end-of-month pay. At that time, the entire amount is submitted to the designated recipient.
Allotments may be set up by completing DD Form 2558 or by using MyPay.
What Happens If I Make An Error In My Allotment Paperwork?
In cases where an inaccurate or invalid account number is entered on the application forms, the financial institution generally returns the funds to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Disbursing Office.
Eventually the service member will be credited for that amount but in the meantime it is the servicemember’s responsibility to change the allotment to include the correct account numbers.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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