Paydays are routine in the military and come on the 1st and 15th of each month. Unless you opted to receive full month pay on the 1st each month. Another couple exceptions are if holidays fall on paydays, then you will be paid the prior business day. If you have USAA, Navy Federal or other military banking institutions, you may be paid a day earlier each payday. Yet what if your pay is too little or too much? What if your bank statement does not reflect the pay you expected?
The first place to look is your Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES for short. The LES will provide information on your years of service, rank, address, and special pay. All which affect how much your paycheck is. It is a good idea to check it each month, even if your pay is correct.
If you find that the pay is correct on your LES but your bank account does not reflect it, it could be routing. Check with your bank to see if they have given you the correct routing number and have the correct information from your military branch. If the routing number is incorrect you will need to go to your branch finance office to reset the proper routing number. Be aware that you will most likely not receive pay until the next payday.
Special pay usually refers to things such as paratrooper pay, diving pay and combat pay. The most confusion comes about during deployment. Many think that when they deploy their paycheck will immediately reflect hazardous duty combat pay. This is not true. You will not receive this pay until you have been in combat for over thirty days. Another confusion sometimes occurs with special training and units. In order to receive special training pay, you must be attached to special unit. For example, to receive jump pay you must be a part of an airborne unit and you complete the required jumps during the fiscal year. If you change units, you might lose the special pay if your new unit does not support the training.
Promotion of rank, years of service and address changes will also sometime takes thirty days to reflect in your paycheck. This is why it is important to keep careful track of your LES and your personal records. If you are expecting per diem and other costs associated with a PCS move, it can take up to sixty days to reflect in your LES as well.
So what if you are correct but your LES is not? You will need to contact your branch financial office. Bring all supporting documents with you along with your bank information. Be aware that if they owe you money, it will show up as credit on your LES and may take up thirty days to receive it. If this presents a problem for your family, request an advance pay. It is a loan for military members only that has no interest rate. You will make small payments to pay it back which will be taken out of your paycheck. With an advance pay, you will be cut a check that you can cash right away for your financial needs.
Finally if the military has paid you too much, do not spend it. They will find out quickly and will deduct it all from your next paycheck. Regardless if that means you receive no pay. It is best to contact your financial office to let them know.