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Military Pay -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
What is Living Quarters Allowance?

Answer:
Living Quarters Allowance is paid to DoD and DA Civilian employees when government housing is not provided OCONUS. It is used to rent or lease a residence. A Post allowance is provided to offset the difference of cost of living in Washington, DC, and OCONUS.

Question:
What is mean to "buy back" time or "estimated earnings" in terms of crediting my military service time toward my civil service retirement?

Answer:
Former military members can have their service time considered for their civil service retirement by "buying back" that time. Your "estimated earnings" is used to determine the cost of "buying back" that time. There are a number of rules and circumstances that may apply to your specific situation. For example, a retired officer who has qualified for a "second" retirement from civil service may receive total federal retirement by either of two methods. The first method involves the waiver of military retired pay and receipt of credit for active military service in the computation of the civil service retirement annuity. (Note that only active military service may be counted for this purpose, even though inactive service may have been used in computing retired pay.) The second method involves receipt of two separate retirement payments based on the two separate periods of federal service (military and civil service). The retired officer chooses whichever method best works to his/her advantage. For non-retired members, full credit for uniformed service (including active duty and active duty for training) performed under honorable conditions is given for leave accrual purposes, and for retirement purposes provided a deposit, as required by law, is made to the retirement fund. Non-retired veterans first employed in a position covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) on or after October 1, 1982, or in a position covered by the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) on or after January 1, 1984, must make a deposit to the retirement fund of 7 percent (for CSRS) or 3 percent (for FERS) of basic military pay to obtain retirement credit. Non-retired veterans employed in civil service positions before October 1, 1982, have the option of either making a deposit to cover their military service or having their civil service annuity recomputed to delete post-1956 military service if they are eligible for social security at age 62.

Question:
What is the Military Pay Information Line?

Answer:
The Military Pay Information Lines provide service members (of all branches) with current pay information from their Master Military Pay Account. The lines are supported by Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) technology. Service members can access the Military Pay Information Lines 24 hours a day using their social security number (SSN), a Personal Identification Number (PIN), and a touchtone telephone.

Question:
Where can I access my Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) online?

Answer:
All Active and Reserve Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine service members, military retirees, Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) employees, Department of the Army (DA) Civilians, Military Annuitants, and certain former Military Spouses can view and print Leave and Earnings Statements (LES), Pay, or Account Statements online by using myPay, which is accessible from the Defense Financial Accounting System (DFAS) website. Additionally, certain changes can be made online such as changes to allotments or changes of home address.

Question:
Where can I find the pay tables for Army personnel?

Answer:
You can find complete Active Duty and Reserve Pay Tables, to include information on Special Pay, Per Diem Rates, Housing Allowances, Cost of Living Allowances, etc. on the Defense Finance and Accounting Service website at http://www.dfas.mil/money/milpay.

Question:
Where can I learn how to read a Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)?

Answer:
Military personnel can consult their unit's financial NCO for questions about their Leave and Earnings Statements (LES). You can also get an explanation of each of the fields on an LES by visiting the Defense Financial Accounting System (DFAS) website and selecting the appropriate link. Army Family Team Building (AFTB) includes this information in one of the Level I classes. Check with your local AFTB office for their schedule of classes or visit their online classes at www.aftb.org.
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