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Field Problem: The First Paycheck

My husband just left for basic training a couple of weeks ago. I have small children and bills to pay; how long will it be before we see any income?

Lindsey, Army spouse

Dear, Lindsey:

Thanks for writing!

Let me start by saying, been there! I know what you are going through. Before my husband joined four years ago, we were both out of work, and I had a newborn. I remember how scary everything seemed when my husband first left for BCT and not knowing when his pay would start. It will definitely test your resilience.

To answer your question, I remember waiting two pay cycles (30 days) to receive my husband’s first pay check; it wasn’t much. The military pay days are the 1st and 15th of each month. My husband joined at the end of July 2009, and we got his first paycheck on Sept. 1, which was only pay for the last three days of July! It can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to get the first paycheck, and I would definitely plan for the worst case scenario.

In the meantime, the Red Cross does offer financial assistance. You are eligible for military benefits (base access, health care, commissary shopping, etc.) now that he’s at BCT, so make sure you get your military ID as soon as you can. Your husband should be sending the necessary paperwork to you as soon as he can. There is also a resource called Army Emergency Relief, and you can locate resources for them here. Keep in mind that only certain needs qualify under AER.

I hope this answer was helpful to you. Yes, the wait is long and likely not what you want to hear, but you’ll learn with the military, there’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait.

Best of luck to you.

Author

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