A Detailed Guide To Army Reserve Drill Pay In 2023

Earning extra income while serving your country is an enticing opportunity for many. If you’re considering joining the Army Reserve, one of the key questions you probably have is: how much does the Army Reserve pay for drill weekends?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about Army Reserve drill pay, allowances, entitlements and bonuses in 2023.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: most Army Reserve soldiers make between $300 to $500 for each drill weekend, plus additional allowances, entitlements and bonuses based on your rank, years of service, and drill attendance.

Army Reserve Drill Pay Overview

Drill pay is the compensation that Army Reserve soldiers receive for their training and service. It is a crucial component of their overall income and serves as a way to reward and incentivize their commitment to the military.

Understanding how drill pay works is important for both current and prospective Army Reserve members.

What is drill pay?

Drill pay is the amount of money that Army Reserve soldiers earn based on the time they spend participating in training drills. These drills typically occur one weekend per month, along with a two-week training period each year.

The pay is earned for the time spent in training and does not include any additional compensation for deployments or other active duty assignments.

The amount of drill pay is determined by a soldier’s rank and length of service. As a soldier progresses in rank or accumulates more years of service, their drill pay increases accordingly.

Drill pay rates by rank

The Army Reserve has a specific pay scale that determines the drill pay rates for soldiers based on their rank. The pay scale is updated annually to reflect changes in the cost of living and other factors. As of 2023, the drill pay rates for Army Reserve soldiers are as follows:

Rank Years of Service Drill Pay
Private (E-1) Less than 2 years $225.00
Private First Class (E-2) Less than 2 years $249.60
Specialist/Corporal (E-4) Less than 2 years $294.60
Sergeant (E-5) Less than 2 years $340.20
Staff Sergeant (E-6) Less than 2 years $377.10

It’s important to note that these rates are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to consult the most recent pay scale to ensure accurate information.

Drill pay calculations

Calculating drill pay involves multiplying the number of drill periods by the appropriate rate for the soldier’s rank and years of service. For example, if a Specialist with less than 2 years of service completes four drill periods in a month, their drill pay would be $294.60 x 4 = $1,178.40 for that month.

Additionally, soldiers may be eligible for additional pay based on factors such as duty location, special skills, or qualifications. These additional pays can further increase a soldier’s overall compensation.

It’s worth noting that drill pay is subject to federal income tax, but some states may exempt it from state income tax. Soldiers should consult with a tax professional or the relevant state tax authority to determine their tax obligations.

For more detailed information on Army Reserve drill pay, you can visit the official website of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service at https://www.dfas.mil/militarymembers/payentitlements/Pay-Tables/Reserve-Drill-Pay.html.

Allowances and Entitlements

When serving in the Army Reserve, there are several allowances and entitlements that soldiers are eligible for. These benefits help to ensure that reservists are adequately compensated for their service and help to offset various expenses that may arise during their time in the military.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)

The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is a monthly allowance provided to Army Reserve soldiers to assist with their food expenses. It is intended to cover the cost of meals and is adjusted annually based on the average cost of food. The current BAS rate for 2023 is $386.50 per month.

This allowance is not subject to federal income tax and is provided to all soldiers, regardless of whether they are on active duty or in a drilling status.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a monthly allowance that helps to offset the cost of housing for Army Reserve soldiers. The amount of BAH a soldier receives is based on their rank, location, and whether they have dependents.

The BAH rates are determined by the Department of Defense and are adjusted annually to reflect changes in the housing market. Soldiers who live in government-provided housing will receive a reduced BAH rate.

It is important to note that BAH is only provided to soldiers who are on active duty or in a drilling status for more than 30 days.

Travel reimbursements

Army Reserve soldiers are entitled to travel reimbursements for certain expenses incurred while on official duty. This includes reimbursement for transportation costs, such as mileage, airfare, or train tickets.

Soldiers may also be eligible for per diem allowances to cover the cost of meals and lodging while traveling for duty. The rates for travel reimbursements are set by the General Services Administration and vary depending on the location and duration of the travel.

Healthcare and insurance

Army Reserve soldiers and their families are eligible for comprehensive healthcare coverage through TRICARE, the military’s healthcare program. TRICARE offers a range of healthcare options, including medical, dental, and vision coverage.

In addition, soldiers may also be eligible for life insurance coverage through the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.

Education benefits

The Army Reserve offers a variety of education benefits to help soldiers further their education and career development. Soldiers may be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill, which provides financial assistance for education and training programs.

Additionally, the Army Reserve offers the Tuition Assistance Program, which provides funding for soldiers to pursue higher education while serving in the military.

Retirement plan

Army Reserve soldiers are eligible for retirement benefits through the military’s retirement system. The Reserve Component Retirement System (RCRS) provides a retirement plan that combines a defined benefit pension with a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), similar to a 401(k) plan.

Soldiers who serve a minimum of 20 years in the Army Reserve are eligible for retirement benefits, which provide a source of income in their retirement years.

For more detailed information about Army Reserve allowances and entitlements, you can visit the official Army Reserve website at https://www.usar.army.mil/.

Drill Attendance Bonuses

One of the key benefits of serving in the Army Reserve is the opportunity to earn drill attendance bonuses. These bonuses are designed to reward and incentivize soldiers for their commitment and dedication to attending regularly scheduled drills and training exercises.

Attendance bonus qualifications

To qualify for drill attendance bonuses, soldiers must meet certain criteria set by the Army Reserve. These criteria typically include:

  • Being a member of the Army Reserve in good standing
  • Completing all required training and administrative tasks
  • Attending a certain number of drills and training exercises per year

Meeting these qualifications demonstrates a soldier’s commitment to maintaining their readiness and contributing to the overall mission of the Army Reserve.

Bonus amounts

The amount of the drill attendance bonus can vary depending on several factors, including rank and years of service. Generally, the longer a soldier has been serving in the Army Reserve, the higher their bonus amount.

Additionally, higher-ranking soldiers may receive larger bonuses than lower-ranking soldiers. It’s important to note that these bonus amounts can change from year to year based on various factors, so it’s always a good idea to stay updated on the current rates.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on drill attendance bonus amounts, soldiers can refer to the official Army Reserve website or consult with their unit’s finance office.

Receiving the bonus payment

Once a soldier has met the qualifications and earned their drill attendance bonus, they can expect to receive the payment through their regular military pay channels. This typically involves a direct deposit into the soldier’s designated bank account.

It’s important for soldiers to keep track of their drill attendance and stay in communication with their unit’s finance office to ensure that they receive their bonus payment in a timely manner. If there are any discrepancies or issues with the payment, soldiers should reach out to the appropriate channels for assistance.

Taxes on Drill Pay

When serving in the Army Reserve, it is important to understand the taxes that may apply to your drill pay. Just like with any income, drill pay is subject to federal and state taxes.

Federal taxes

Drill pay is considered taxable income by the federal government. This means that it is subject to federal income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax. The amount of federal tax withheld from your drill pay will depend on your filing status, exemptions, and other factors.

It is important to consult with a tax professional or use online tax calculators to determine the exact amount of federal tax you may owe on your drill pay.

It’s worth noting that there may be deductions and credits available to military members that can help lower their overall tax liability. For example, certain expenses related to travel, uniforms, and education may be deductible.

Additionally, there may be tax benefits for military members serving in combat zones. It’s always a good idea to explore these options to ensure you are maximizing your tax savings.

State taxes

In addition to federal taxes, Army Reserve members may also be subject to state income taxes on their drill pay. The specific rules and rates vary by state, so it’s important to check with your state’s tax authority or consult a tax professional to understand your state tax obligations.

Some states don’t tax military pay at all, while others may offer special tax breaks for military members. For example, some states provide exemptions or credits for military members serving in combat zones.

It’s important to be aware of these state-specific rules to ensure you are accurately reporting and paying your state taxes.

Keep in mind that tax laws can change, so it’s important to stay informed about any updates or changes that may affect your drill pay. The IRS website (www.irs.gov) and your state’s tax authority website are great resources for up-to-date information on tax laws and regulations.


The Army Reserve provides part-time soldiers not just the opportunity to serve, but also competitive pay, allowances and benefits for the time spent training. While drill weekends require time and commitment, Army Reservists can earn $300 to $500 or more per drill, receive healthcare coverage, funds for education, and retirement pensions over the course of their service.

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