Pay during deployment as a reserve physician / Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

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Mar 29, 2022
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Sorry this is likely a very stupid question - but I was not able to find a really clear answer despite googling this. Basically it is just to estimate the severity of the 'financial hit' that comes with a prolonged (3-month +) deployment as a reserve physician. If people who have had the experience could correct/comment/clarify the following assumptions (mostly related to the non-taxable Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).

1. Not activated as a reserve physician - "only" drill pay according to rank (+ whatever incentives agreed upon when signing?) - NO basic allowance for housing

2. Deployed for less than 30 days - pay according to rank PLUS 'BAH Reserve Component / BAH type II' (i.e. fixed rate according to rank NOT taking into account any location)

3. Deployed for more than 30 days - pay according to rank PLUS 'regular BAH' which is 'location/ZIP code' specific. What location is used for a reserve component physician to determine the 'regular BAH' rate? Your actual residence? The location of the base you are assigned to? The ZIP code / country you are deployed to? There seems to be quite a large range in the 'regular BAH' (like from US$ 2000 - 4000 monthly) depending on ZIP code so this and the fact that it is tax free money could actually make the difference if one's mortgage is covered by this or not...with the mortgage likely the largest 'fixed' expense people have and which needs to be covered deployed or not...

4. What about the other 'special pays' during deployment as a reserve physician (the ones which are prorated monthly e.g. board certification pay / incentive pay - I assume non-deployed reserve physicians do not get these) does one become 'eligible' for these during deployment or not? What happens to the 'reserve incentives' (e.g. retention bonus) during deployments?

Thanks so much!

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You keep and are qualified for, any reserve incentives while deployed. Any active duty deployment greater than 30 days gets you active duty incentives. The zip code of which you are entitled to BAH etc is your permanent address.
IP is between 43-59 k. Board cert pay is 6 k. You have to recalculate based on how many drills you do. You get it when you work as long as you are signed up for the incentives.
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In the process of joining the army reserve and trying to figure out this exact thing.


Lets say one joins the reserve as an O-4 and is deployed for 90 days, the compensation would essentially be 8300/month for 3 months? If so, that is a pretty big financial hit.
Your specialty pay and board cert pay is prorated during that time as well.

You know that 50-60k accession /retention bonus? Think of it as deployment insurance instead of free money.
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Glad I'm not the only one totally confused by this ... guess (at least for me) a huge factor is checking if the tax free BAH would cover one's mortgage ... CCM-MD looks like you really live in the 'wrong' ZIP code ... as it looks like yours is really at the bottom end of the range ... [I'm living in a large metropolitan area in the NE ... - so mine is at the high end ...] - I assume that the BAH does not change too drastically over time (i.e. downwards) as it is somehow calculated taking the actual rental costs in that ZIP code in account?
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