San Diego

Military Pay Increase in 2018 May Make Little Difference for Some

Lower ranking service members will not see much difference in their paycheck

There are more than 115,000 servicemembers in San Diego who will receive a pay raise in 2018.

Military pay will increase by 2.4 percent, and eligible service members will receive a .07 percent bump in their Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH.

It is the biggest bump since 2010.

But for newly enlisted service members, who receive far less pay than officers or senior enlisted members, paying bills may still be a struggle.

“Even without kids it’s hard,” said Haley Dice, a military spouse. “I’m working two jobs just to cover everything.”

In 2017, Navy enlisted personnel at the entry level of E-1 make a little more than $1,500 a month, while those at the rank of E-5 top out at just over $2,600 a month.

Justin Makaleb, an E-4, lives in military housing with his wife. The housing costs $2,500 a month, but he only receives $2,409 a month for housing allowance. 

“Even when you’re not in military housing it’s tough trying to find a decent apartment and support a family,” he said.

Tim Ney is Executive Director of the Armed Services YMCA. He said with the Navy's plans to nearly double the number of ships they have in San Diego, over the next five years the housing shortage is only going to get tougher for military families.

His agency distributes food to 210 military families a month to help, since military families may end up in crisis when an emergency comes up.

“The struggle of those unexpected things that happen to all of us, it could be all of a sudden they need new brakes or tires for the car," said Ney. "Any family emergencies.”

In the end, however, it is the members of the military who have served a little longer and lived through the tough times where the raises and increases really pay off.

Contact Us