Returning From Deployment

Expenses and income change with deployment. After it’s over, they change again. Read on to stay a step ahead and avoid any surprises.

Welcoming service member back from deployment

Welcome home.

Returning from a deployment can be an exciting time as you reunite with family and friends. However, it’s important not to overlook certain financial tasks so you can make the most of the extra money and resources related to your deployment.

Money Adjustments

Revisit your financial goals

Check your financial goals to reorient yourself. If you don’t have any, this is a good time to set some!

Key Takeaway: If you want personalized, expert help making your financial plan, you can get it for free. Service members have access to free financial counseling through Military OneSource.

Reset your budget

Check your Leave and Earnings Statement or pay slip for changes in pay and budget accordingly.

  • Special pay will be discontinued after deployment.
  • Account for changes in taxes. Tax-free income from the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion may cause a decrease in income.
  • Your expenses might also change — especially transportation.
  • If you increased your Thrift Savings Plan contributions during deployment, depending on your cash flow, you might have to dial it back to normal.

Don’t forget about changes in your loan payments. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protections that lower or suspend interest rates end when you come home, so remember to notify all of your lenders and account for changes.

Guard against the splurge

It’s great to be home and be reunited with family and friends. You might feel tempted to make a “feel-good” purchase that doesn’t align with your budget or long-term goals. Unless you planned and budgeted for it, don’t do it. As an alternative, set a purchase goal and save up for it over time, or treat yourself to something smaller that won’t break the bank.

Make a plan for SDP dollars

If you participated in the Savings Deposit Program, make sure the allotment has stopped. The account will continue to earn the 10% annual interest rate for 90 days after deployment. Then, 120 days after you leave the combat zone, the balance will be transferred electronically (EFT) to the bank of record or you can request the funds through myPAY. Plan how you’ll use these funds before they’re distributed, so you aren’t tempted to make a spur-of-the-moment purchase when the deposit hits. Let your financial game plan be your guide.

Get Going Again

Un-Pause Insurance, Unfreeze Credit, Unwind Legal Documents

Ensure you’re insured

If you made changes to your auto coverage while you were deployed, remember to call your insurance company to make sure you’re adequately covered. Don’t forget to adjust your budget to account for any increase in cost.

Turn off credit protections

If you set an active-duty alert or credit freeze before you deployed, you can lift these restrictions upon your return.

Revisit legal documents

Review any legal documents such as your will and power of attorney you put in place prior to deployment and make any appropriate changes as needed.

Guard or Reserve?

Tips for Members of the Guard and Reserve

Keep these three things in mind to smooth the process of reintegration.

Your job is protected

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) protects Guard and Reserve members from discrimination as they seek to return to civilian employment; just know there are some requirements. Your base legal office might be able to advise if you run into issues.

Your TRICARE coverage is gone

Guard and Reserve members who elected TRICARE health coverage during deployment, will remain covered under Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) for 180 days after separation. Learn more about TRICARE coverage scenarios around activation and deactivation.

Your income could take a hit

Guard and Reserve Service members may see a significant dip in pay as they go from military deployment pay back to civilian pay. Don’t let it sneak up on you — plan ahead for this decrease.