Military pay is divided into two categories: basic pay which is taxable, and other allowances which are not taxable. Non-taxable allowances include BAH (basic allowance for housing), BAS (basic allowance for subsistence), per diem for travel, and a clothing allowance. Members of the armed forces are allowed to claim legal residence in their home state if they so desire which may also affect their state tax status.
Current annual pay (as of January 2017) for an E-6 in the Coast Guard Band with no prior service is $51,292 (without dependents) and $56,800 (with dependents).
Due to the limited amount of Coast Guard Housing, band members do not receive on-base housing but instead receive a BAH as part of their pay.
Leave (Vacation) Time
Band members receive 30 days paid leave each year plus some federal holidays. The Coast Guard Band uses a “blanket leave” policy where specific time within the year is set aside to allow members to use their leave days. Leave requests outside of the blanket leave period are considered on a case-by-case basis and may be approved depending on the performing/rehearsals schedule and mission needs of the band.
All members of the U.S. Armed Forces are automatically enrolled in TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health care program for active duty personnel, retirees, and their families. Through TRICARE, members receive free comprehensive medical and dental care as needed at any military health care facility or civilian TRICARE providers. Family members may also be enrolled in TRICARE and receive medical care at military or civilian facilities through various options for little or no cost. Visit http://www.tricare.mil/ for more information.
U.S. Coast Guard members may participate in the Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program at very reasonable rates.
Pension and Retirement
The U.S. Coast Guard provides a pension for its members who serve for at least 20 years. After serving 20 years, members will receive 50% of their basic pay in retirement compensation. This amount increases each year by 2.5%, and after 30 years of service, members will receive 75% of their basic pay in retirement compensation. Retirement income is adjusted each year to compensate for increases in the cost of living. Military members also have the option of enrolling in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP is a tax-deferred, government sponsored investment fund.
All members of the band are eligible for enrollment in the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the new Post-9/11 GI Bill. Full information about these programs can be found at www.gibill.va.gov.
The Coast Guard also has several programs to assist with furthering your education and tuition assistance. For more information on these programs visit http://www.uscg.mil/hr/cgi/
Members of the Coast Guard Band are entitled same benefits as other members of the Armed Forces. These include the use of military exchanges, commissaries, gymnasiums, exercise facilities and golf courses as well as services such as legal and financial assistance. Military MWR offices offer rentals of camping equipment, canoes, and athletic equipment at little or no cost. The Coast Guard Academy is a small military base, but the New London Submarine Base in Groton, CT offers many of these services.