Army National Guard pay can be a complicated topic to understand because there are a lot of variables that determine your pay. Are you an officer or enlisted? Are you just drilling or have you been called up to active duty? Have you been in for five years or 10 years?
Your pay changes as your rank, duty status, and time in service increases. We’ll break all of the pay scales down for you in this article including:
- Army National Guard officer pay
- Army National Guard enlisted pay
- Army National Guard retirement pay
- Army National Guard reserve pay
US Army National Guard Pay
Let’s start with US Army National Guard pay in general. Members of the Guard are paid for every day they serve including training. It doesn’t matter if your training is at a local base or another location; if you’re training, you’re getting paid.
In addition to training, anytime you’re doing something related to the Guard, you’ll get paid. This might be checking into the Guard for a physical fitness test, weapons qualifications, or equipment maintenance.
In addition to your base pay, you may receive other “special pays” if necessary. For example, when you train or are called up to active duty for less than 30 days, you might receive a basic allowance for housing (BAH) designed specifically for the reserve component. This amount is based on the national average for housing rather than a specific location.
If you’re called up to active duty for a national emergency and serve more than 30 days on active duty, US National Guard members generally qualify for regular BAH. This amount is based on your specific geographic location rather than a national average.
Now, let’s get to the actual pay for Army National Guard members. Pay generally increases each year and new pay takes effect on January 1. So, the following pay tables reflect the pay from January 1, 2019 until December 31, 2019.
Army National Guard Officer Pay
An Army National Guard officer’s pay depends on rank and time in service. Since there are many different ranks and years in service to cover, the easiest way for you to see the information is to check out this chart.
The pay reflected in this chart is for each drill an officer completes.
|Years in Service|
Since the numbers above are per drill, to figure out total pay just multiply the amount by the number of drills. For example, an O-3 with more than four years in service would get $756.20 for four drills ($189.05 X 4).
There are still small increases in pay after 20 years of service for some ranks but they’re much smaller and less frequent. Officers with over four years of active duty service or more than 1,460 reserve points as an enlisted member or warrant officer make slightly more per drill.
Army National Guard Enlisted Pay
Army National Guard enlisted pay is also based on rank and time in service. Check out this information.
|Years in Service|
|E-1 < 4 months||51.80||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–|
You can calculate the total pay for enlisted Army National Guard members the same as for an officer. Just take the total number of drills times the pay per drill above. For example, an E-4 with more than four years in service would receive $340.72 for four drills ($85.18 X 4).
Army National Guard Retirement Pay
Army National Guard retirement pay depends on a couple of factors.
First of all, a National Guard soldier must have 20 years of qualifying service to receive retirement pay at age 60. A year of qualifying service is a year when a soldier earns at least 50 retirement points.
Here are some situations where National Guard soldiers earn points toward retirement:
- One point for each day of active service
- 15 points for each year as a soldier
- One point for each unit training
- One point for every three hours completed of accredited correspondence courses
Figure Out Benefit Multiplier
Once you determine you have 20 years of qualifying service, add up the total points you earned during your career, divide that number by 360, and then multiply by 2.5 percent. That number is your benefit multiplier.
For example, a retiring soldier with 2,500 points would have a benefit multiplier of 17.36% (2,500/360 X 2.5%).
Figure Out High-36
The next step is to figure out your “high-36”, which is the average monthly pay you would have been entitled to over the final 36 months of your career. This number is the monthly pay someone on active duty would earn if they were the same rank and had the same number of years of experience as you.
The easiest way to do this is to look at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) website. They have pay tables for each year back to 1949.
Add up your final 36 months of pay and divide by 36 to find the average. Let’s look at what the average would be for the following National Guard soldier (for this article, we’ll assume the final 36 months of service were January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2019 so we’ll just take the average of the three years):
|O-4, >16 years service||7605.60||–||–|
|O-4, >16 years service||–||7788.00||–|
The high-36 for this soldier would be $8,130.70 ($7,605.60 + $7,788.00 + $8998.50)/3.
Now, back to your benefit multiplier. Take the high-36 and multiply by the benefit multiplier. So, this soldier would receive $1,411.49 a month ($8,130.70 X 17.36%) for retirement pay.
Army National Guard Reserve Pay
Don’t confuse an Army National Guard soldier with an Army reservist. The pay for both is the same (depending on rank and experience) and the training expectations are about the same but there is one major difference.
The state governor or federal government can call Army National Guard members to active duty. Only the federal government, though, can call Army reservists to active duty.
An Army National Guard soldier is paid for each drill as shown in the charts earlier in this article. The pay for each drill is 1/30th of the monthly pay an active duty soldier of the same rank and years in service would receive.
A soldier can be paid for two drills in any 24-hour period. Army National Guard members usually drill one weekend each month and once annually for two weeks.
As you can see, there’s quite a bit of information to figure out Army National Guard pay but once you learn the formula, you’ll be good to go.