How to Calculate a Selective Re-Enlistment Bonus and First Payment

by William Henderson

To encourage members of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to reenlist, and to make sure the military retains service members with critical skills, the U.S. Department of Defense established the Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) program. The bonus amount a service member receives depends on his base pay, Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), qualifications and skills, and how long he has served.

SRB Program Eligibility

To be eligible for the SRB program, you must complete at least 17 months of continuous active duty, not counting any training you receive, but no more than 14 years of active duty. Also, the Secretary of Defense or Secretary of Homeland Security must designate as critical your specific military skills; you cannot currently receive nuclear-training pay; and you must voluntarily reenlist for at least three years in a regular component of the service or continue as a reserve member of the service. Your command must make your SRB request in advance of the end of your current term of service.

SRB Calculations

A service member's reenlistment bonus is calculated by multiplying her base pay by the number of years of additional service, and then by the SRB multiplier. The military divides years of service into Zones. Zone A is for a period of 21 months to six years; Zone B is for a period of six to 10 years; and Zone C is for a period of 10 to 14 years. The SRB multiplier is based on your MOS, years of service, specific skills and qualifications, and the number of years you plan to reenlist. A service member receives 50 percent of the bonus at the time of reenlistment, and the remainder in equal yearly installments during the reenlistment period. For example, a special operator in the Navy in Zone A who earns $1,500 a month and reenlists for six years has an SRB multiplier of 2. To calculate her reenlistment bonus, multiply $1,500 (her monthly salary) by 6 (length of reenlistment) by 2 (SRB multiplier), which equals $18,000. She'd receive $9,000 up front and $1,500 yearly during her enlistment.

SRB Program Limits

The Department of Defense caps how much of a bonus service members receive. The bonus cannot be more than the lesser of 15 times a service member's monthly base pay at the time of discharge, or $90,000.

SRB Program Refunds

If you do not complete your term of reenlistment for which you received an SRB, or if you do not have the qualifications for which you received the bonus, you have to give back a prorated portion of your bonus based on how much time you have left on your contract. This clause does not apply to service members who no longer possess the required qualifications because of injury, illness or other impairment that is not the result of his misconduct.

About the Author

William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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