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Consumer Tip of the Week

 Planning During Deployment

The long-awaited homecoming of a service member is joyous. The much anticipated time of finally being together as a family is here, but the transition back to ‘normal’ can be challenging. Many families face financial burdens on top of this already stressful time, which can make this important transition even harder.

Below are some strategies that service families can use during deployment to make the homecoming even sweeter and more financially secure:

Take advantage of the Savings Deposit Program. It is a DoD sponsored savings program that offers a 10% return. Servicemembers can deposit up to $10,000 into the SDP once they’ve been deployed for 30 days. The money deposited continues to collect interest for up to 120 days after the servicemember leaves the deployed location.

Additionally, while you’re deployed you could qualify for many extra incentive pays, including:

  • Family separation allowance (FSA), payable if you’re deployed or TDY from your dependents for more than 30 days:  $250 per month
  • Hardship duty pay, payable if your living conditions in your deployed location are substantially below those found in the continental US (CONUS): $50-150 per month
  • Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger Pay, payable when assigned to a designated IDP area, or exposed to : $7.50 per day, up to a maximum of $225 per month
  • For every month that you are in a combat zone as designated by a Presidential Executive Order, your taxable income is eligible to be income tax free. FICA (Social Security) and Medicare taxes will still be taken out
  • Your SGLI (Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance) payment, normally $27 per month for $400,000 of coverage, is free while you’re serving in a combat zone

Between cutting your expenses and increasing your income you should be able to use deployment to set yourself up for financial success when you return home to your loved ones. Avoid going into unnecessary debt when you return home by planning ahead and including post-deployment gifts into your budget now. Also remember, they want to see you and that is more than enough.

Additional Resources

BBB Military Line provides financial literacy and consumer protection resources and manages a complaint consumer complaint center for military families.

Military Saves is a social marketing campaign to persuade, motivate, and encourage military families to save money every month. is a financial education program for military personnel and their families developed by the Financial Industry regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation

For more information, please visit the Consumer section of  Or, call the Montana Legal Services Association Helpline at 1-800-666-6899.

This Consumer Tip and is a joint project of Montana's Credit Unions and Montana Legal Services Association. has information about consumer issues, housing, money management, and more.

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