Military Bonuses Affected Despite Sequestration’s Hiatus

Pay rate changes affect drill instructors, among others. Pay rate changes affect drill instructors, among others. Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken/U.S. Marine Corps

Sequestration is on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean federal employees and military members still aren’t feeling its effects on their pay while the automatic spending cuts hibernate.

Case in point: Some Marines reporting for special duty assignments after Oct. 1 will receive less bonus pay than in previous years because of tight budgets, according to information on the service’s website. The pay rate changes affect those serving as recruiters, drill instructors, combat instructors and embassy security guards, among other jobs, according to the news release. Those service members still will receive special duty assignment pay, but at a lower rate than their predecessors.

Marines who started special duty assignments before Oct. 1 and continue in those positions won’t be affected.

“We spent significant time evaluating all relevant factors before making a final decision on the changes,” Krahling said in the report. “As the Department of Defense and Marine Corps move into a more resource-constrained environment, we must fully evaluate each of our programs by weighing total costs and benefits of the current programs.”

Special duty assignment pay is an incentive, designed to attract service members to hard-to-fill jobs. For Marines, there are six levels, and bonuses currently range from $75 to $450 per month, depending on the level. Those eligible for SDAP, as it’s known in the military, and affected by the changes, will be placed lower on the pay scale than in previous years as a way for the Defense Department to save money.

The department doesn’t have much wiggle room on pay when it comes to cutting costs, as law prohibits Defense from tinkering with most of it. But bonuses and some special pay are considered discretionary, which means it’s more malleable.

Click here for the official notice on the special duty assignment pay changes.

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