The newly released 2019 pay chart for active duty and reserve components reflects a 2.6 percent basic pay raise approved last year by Congress, a hike servicemembers will begin seeing in their Jan. 15 paychecks.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service has released the chart on its website at dfas.mil/militarymembers.html.
Under the new rates, for example, an active duty E-7 with 18 years of service will receive $4,745.40 of base pay, compared to $4,625.10 in 2018.
The average allowance for off-base housing rose by 2.55 percent, slightly less than a proposed 2.9 percent hike from an earlier Pentagon budget proposal. The allowance varies based on location and other factors.
The food allowance for servicemembers living off base did not increase in 2019.
The overall raise “clearly signals that Congress wants military pay to be competitive,” Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, told Stars and Stripes following passage of the hike in August.
Whether increased spending power comes with the raises will depend to some extent on inflation. The Labor Department reported the cost of living rose 2.9 percent for the year ending in June 2018.
“Always tough to get it right because we will not know the inflation rate for calendar year 2019 until January 2020,” Andrew Sherbo, a University of Denver finance professor who has tracked government and defense budget issues, said in August.
Servicemembers could also see higher per diem reimbursements in cases where they travel more than 30 days.
Military personnel have received at least a 1 percent raise each year since 2007, according to Pentagon figures. Troops received a 3.9 percent boost in 2009.
Defense Department civilians had been in line to receive a 1.9 percent raise following passage of a Senate bill, but President Donald Trump ordered a pay freeze for federal government workers on Dec. 28.
Senate officials have said they intend to bring the measure back up during the new congressional session, but Trump would have to sign any such bill for a raise to take effect.
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