Keeping track of all the changes in your benefits is not easy. The 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, along with additional legislation, has updated many existing benefits programs. This checklist-with special thanks to Chief Terry Howell, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired), for its compilation-is a handy reference to some of the most important changes.
Annual Pay and Allowance Increases
* Basic Pay 3.1%, Cost of Living Allowance, Retirement Cost of Living Allowance, Basic Allowance for Subsistence.
* An average 5.9% increase in housing allowances, with authority to increase set levels temporarily by as much as 20% in areas affected by natural disasters or troop surges resulting from force realignment.
2006 New or Increased Bonuses and Incentives
* An increase in the maximum reenlistment bonus offered, from $60,000 to $90,000.
* A higher maximum enlistment bonus, up from $20,000 to $40,000.
* A new ceiling on hardship-duty pay, from $300 to $750 a month.
* A doubling of the maximum assignment incentive pay for hard-to-fill billets or assignments, from $1,500 to $3,000 a month, now payable either in a lump sum or installments.