FORT KNOX, Ky. –
In addition to competitive pay and enlistment bonuses up to $50,000, the U.S. Army offers a wide range of benefits for its Soldiers, from housing and food allowances to money for education and support services for the whole family.
Soldiers also receive 30 vacation days as well as comprehensive health care, retirement benefits after only 20 years of service, and even career support when they decide to transition out of the Army.
“It is important for applicants to know what the Army can do for them,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, who leads U.S. Army Recruiting Command. “Especially right now with the uncertain environment after two years in a global pandemic, people want stability. The Army provides that for its Soldiers and for their families.”
Health care premiums can be very expensive, which is why the military health care program, TRICARE, is a key benefit for many individuals who choose to serve. It provides comprehensive coverage to all beneficiaries at no cost or very little cost, depending on the individual’s status as a full-time or part-time Soldier.
TRICARE insurance covers 9.6 million beneficiaries from all branches of the Department of Defense, to include retired service members.
Advanced education can also be significant life expense, and the Army has various program to ensure its Soldiers are able to pursue degrees or other certifications that will help them in the future without racking up debt.
“For the young adults who are unsure of themselves and their place in life, the Army can help guide them to figure it all out,” Vereen said. “We want people to know the Army is an organization that will give them more than just a paycheck.”
Soldiers are eligible for $4,000 per year in tuition or credentialing assistance, and the courses they take do not have to directly relate to their Army career field. More than 2,000 education institutions currently offer more than 300,000 different college courses for Soldiers using ArmyIgnitED to assist them with their educational goals.
The Army also offers a variety of college scholarship options, to include medical and dental school.
For those who have student loan debt when they enlist, the Army offers up to $65,000 in loan repayment for more than 50 full-time and part-time career fields.
Yet another significant monthly expense for individuals and families is housing. Affordable housing in this fluctuating market can be a challenge for many. As members of the U.S. Army, Soldiers can choose to live in housing on the installation or receive a housing allowance, based on location, pay grade and the number of dependent family members living with them, so they are able to have off-base housing that is comparable to their civilian counterparts.
Retirement is another highlight of military service, as individuals are eligible after only 20 years of service. That means a Soldier who enlisted at 18 can retire at 38 and start receiving payments immediately – they do not have to wait until a traditional retirement age in their 60s to receive benefits.
Soldiers are also able to participate in a 401(k)-type retirement savings and investment plan. The Thrift Savings Plan is sponsored by the federal government and offers the same type of saving and tax benefits that many corporations offer employees. For individuals who do not want to serve for 20 years until retirement, this is a benefit they can still take with them.
“The Army works hard to take care of its people,” Vereen said, “and we continue to do so long after a Soldier transitions out of the service.”
Individuals can learn more about Army career options and the benefits of military service at www.goarmy.com.