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Combat Pay (Immiment Danger Pay)



Updated September 14, 2010

A member assigned to or deployed to a combat zone receives "combat pay" (officially called "immiment danger pay") at the rate of $225.00 per month. In some locations, immiment danger pay is paid only for duty on the ground, and in other areas, ground, airspace, or duty aboard a ship at sea qualify.

Being assigned or deployed to a combat zone also triggers a tax advantage in some locations. Congress and/or the President can designated combat zones as "Tax Exempt" areas. Earnings received while in these combats zone are excluded from taxable income. (NOTE: This only applies to Federal Income Tax Withholding (FITW). A military member still pays social security taxes and Medicare Tax. Whether or not state tax is excluded is up to the individual state.

This exclusion is unlimited for enlisted members and is limited to the maximum enlisted pay amount for officers and warrant officers.

If you spend a single qualifying day in the combat zone, your pay for the entire month is excluded from taxable income, and you receive $225 in combat pay for that month.

Bonuses and special pays are also excluded from taxble income if within the previously stated limitations and earned in the same month in which you served in a combat zone. For example, an enlisted reenlistment bonus is excluded from taxes if the member reenlists in the same month in which the member served in a combat zone. Since there is no limitation on amounts excluded for enlisted members, the entire reenlistment bonus would be excluded. As another example, an officer's flight pay would also be excluded from taxable income, but only up to the point which basic pay and the flight pay do not exceed the maximum enlisted pay amount.

In addition to Immiment Danger Pay (Combat Pay), and the tax exclusion, some areas qualify for a special monthly allowance called "Hardship Duty Pay."

Military members with dependents also receive " Family Separation Allowance" (FSA) of $250.00 per month, anytime they are away from their families (due to military orders) for 30 days or longer.

Finally, members in a combat zone are authorized to to deposit up to $10,000 (per year) of their pay and allowances into a special savings account, that pays a guaranteed 10 percent interest per year. This program was established during the Vietnam era, and then phased out at the end of the Vietnam War. However, it was revived in 1991 during the Gulf War, and the program still exists today. In addition to the combat zones listed below, personnel stationed in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are eligible to use the program if they are supporting combat operations in Afghanistan.

For more details about immiment danger pay, see the Department of Defense (DOD) Pay Regulation, Volume 7A (Active Duty & Reserve Pay), Chapter 10 -- Special Pay—Duty Subject to Hostile Fire or Imminent Danger.

Here are the designated combat zones, as of January 1, 2009:

2010 Combat Zones

Country Area
Afghanistan land and airspace
Algeria land
Azerbaijan land
Bahrain land and airspace
Djibouti land
East Timor land
Egypt land
Eritrea land
Ethiopia land
Greece land (within 20k radius from center of Athens)
Haiti land
Indonesia land
Iran land
Iraq land and airspace
Israel land
Ivory Coast land
Jordan land
Kenya land
Kosovo land and airspace
Kuwait land and airspace
Kyrgystan land
Lebanon land
Liberia land
Malaysia land
Montenegro land and airspace
Oman land
Pakistan land
Phillipines land
Qatar land and airspace
Rwanda land
Saudi Arabia land and airspace
Serbia land and airspace
Somolia land and airspace
Sudan land and airspace
Syria land
Tajikistan land
Turkey land
Uganda land
United Arab Emirates land
Uzbekistan land
Yemen land
Arabian Sea north of 10 deg north lat, west of 68 deg east long.
Gulf of Aden sea
Gulf of Oman sea
Persian Gulf sea and airspace
Somalia Basin sea

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