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Military Families Can Expect A Pay Bump In New Year

Hospital Corpsman Travis Stephens leads 125 Sailors assigned to Naval Medical...

Credit: Defense Department

Above: Hospital Corpsman Travis Stephens leads 125 Sailors assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego at the annual Veterans Day parade in downtown San Diego, November 17, 2017.

Sailors and Marines will soon have a few extra dollars in their pockets thanks to a pay raise in the defense budget.

The 2.4 percent raise is contained in the spending plan passed by Congress and recently signed by the president. It's the largest raise in base pay since 2010 for members of the military. Congress granted an increase larger than the 2.1 percent proposed by the White House.

The extra money is a relief for sailors and Marines in San Diego where the cost of living can be daunting for young sailors.

“Certainly, for some young people, a little discouraging, but with this news I think it will be very encouraging for them,” said Ting Du, an E-3 in the Navy in San Diego.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Ting Du, an E-3 in the Navy, talks in San Diego about getting a raise, Sept. 19, 2017.

One caveat on the raise, Congress must lift the budget caps put in place to avoid a government shutdown during the Budget Control Act of 2011.

San Diego is also one of the areas which will see a small increase in money set aside for military housing expenses. Next year, for the first time, the Basic Allowance for Housing will be more than $2,000 a month in San Diego for even the lowest ranked sailors and Marines.

“That can only benefit the service members and sailors who live out in town to help them with the cost of rent,” said Charles Parker, a Navy master chief with 20 years active duty.

The most expensive city for military housing is still San Francisco. Overall Congress has been scaling back the percentage it spends on housing allowance. By next year, the percentage will drop to 95 percent of the cost rent and utilities.

A pay increase combined with an increase in housing allowance will help offset the expense of living in San Diego.

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