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Marine Corps Benefits | Are The Marines Benefits Worth It?

Joining the Marine Corps is a large commitment and a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When considering whether or not to join the United States Marine Corps you should understand the benefits of joining. In this article, we will discuss the Marines benefits that are offered to active duty service members to help you make a more informed decision!

Becoming a Marine is no easy feat! I know from experience, but I can assure you it will be one of the most rewarding times of your life. “The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. – Arnold Palmer

Simply earning the title in my opinion is worth its weight in gold. Not only are you joining the worlds greatest fighting force, but you’re joining a family of some of the greatest people on the planet! But, if thats not enough to persuade you to join lets discuss some of the Marine Corps Benefits one can expect to receive while serving.

The Marines Benefits

Before receiving any Marine Corps benefits you must first meet the age, education and the various other requirments. You’ll need to meet with a recruiter and discuss your options.

Once you’ve shipped off to Marine Corps Recruit Training you are now eligible to receive your basic monthly pay and benefits.

As a Marine you will receive the following benefits:

  • Military housing or a housing allowance
  • Food allowance
  • Medical care for Marines and their families
  • Education benefits
  • Retirement plans
  • Affordable life insurance

Marine Corps Salary & Promotional Opportunities

Getting paid in the Marine Corps is pretty straightforward. You’ll receive two paychecks each month, one on the 1st and one on the 15th. Your Basic Pay will be determined by your Rank and years of service. According to Veteran.com, “Basic pay is what the name implies. The basic amount of pay the service member can expect without allowances, benefits, reenlistment bonuses, proficiency pay or other special pay.”

One thing to keep in mind is that all branches of the Military follow the same Basic Pay Scale. If you would like to view the 2022 Military Pay Charts, you can do so here.

Additional Marine Corps Benefits

There are many additional benefits to joining the Marine Corps aside from the ones stated above. This includes things like housing, tuition assistance, food, etc. Let’s dive into some of the additional Marine Corps Benefits available to active duty service members down below.

Housing

Active Duty Marines will live in on-base housing. Where you live will be determined by a couple of factors. If you are between the ranks of Private-Sergeant (E-1 to E-5) and unmarried, you will live in the Barracks, free of charge. As a married Marine or a Marine with a rank of Staff Sergeant or above (E-6 to E-9), you will receive a monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) that you can use to either live in on-base housing or off base. As a Marine Corps Officer, you will also receive a monthly BAH stipend regardless of your rank. You can check out the various BAH Rates throughout the country here.

Tuition Assistance

Marine Corps Tuition Assistance (TA) will pay up to 100% of tuition and any required fees for taking college courses while serving on active duty.

Eligibility and Payment Rates

A Marine must have at least 24 months of Active Duty Service to become eligible for Tuition Assistance.

The Marine Corps will pay 100% tuition and fees not to exceed:

  • $250 per semester credit hour, or
  • $166 per quarter credit hour, and
  • $4,500 per fiscal year
Marine Corps Tuition Assistance Eligibility
  • First-time users can only take one course for their first enrollment, all others are limited to a maximum of two courses at a time
  • Must have a minimum GT score of 100 or a minimum TABE score of 10.2
  • Must complete Marine Corps Institute (MCI) Personal Financial Management (Course ID 3420G).
Marine Corps TA Details and Regulations
  1. If you are pending disciplinary action you are unable to use TA.
  2. You are unable to use TA to pay for flight training.
  3. TA can’t pay for the same course more than once.
  4. TA cannot be approved retroactively. Applications must be submitted and command approved before the course starts.
  5. You must earn a grade of D or higher or P for passing all non-graduate level coursework, and a C or higher for graduate-level courses. If not, you have to repay all TA funds for that course.
  6. Fees like equipment, supplies, exams and costs associated with distance learning are not covered by TA
  7. TA is authorized for graduate studies through the master’s degree level; doctoral programs will not be funded
  8. Only schools with an approved DOD Voluntary Education Partnership MOU are eligible to participate in DOD Voluntary Education programs including military tuition assistance.

For a more in-depth look at the rules and regulations regarding TA take a look at the MCO 1560.25.

Food – Chow Halls, Basic Allowance for Subsistance (BAS), & On Base Stores

Food in the Marine Corps is guaranteed. As a single Marine living in the barracks, you will have access to the Chow Halls. Chow Halls are dining facilities that offer a variety of healthy food choices. They provide 3-4 meals a day to service members and some are open 24 hours per day.

Married Marines who do not reside in the Barracks, will receive a Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS). A Marines BAS pays for the cost of meals at the chow hall on their permanent duty station. BAS is meant to offset the cost of a service members meals, but it does not cover the cost of meals for family members. For a further look at current Marine Corps BAS Rates, click here.

Another cool benefit of being a Marine serving on Active Duty is access to the Commisary. Commissaries are groceries stores located on military installations. You might be wondering why this would be an exciting benefit. Well, the great thing about shopping at the Commissarie is that items are sold tax free and priced at cost, plus a 5% surcharge. According to DeCa, the low-cost products sold at the commissary can save military families an average of 30% or more on their purchases when shopping regularly at the commissary.

Marine Corps Health Insurance, Dental & Vision

While serving in the US Marine Corps every Marine and their family will receive a number of healthcare benefits to include, world-class medical facilities located on base, free medical insurance and competitively priced dental insurance.

Health Insurance

All Active Duty Marines are automatically enrolled in Tricare Prime health insurance as soon as they show up to boot camp. Tricare Prime is free of charge and available to all Active Duty Service Members and their immediate family members. If for some reason, a medical facility is unavailable on base, Marines and their families will be referred to a civilian medical facility at little to no cost.

Dental Insurance

All Active Duty Marines and their families will receive Tricare Dental Insurance at extremely low costs. If you would like to view the rates, you can do so here!

Vision

Tricare Vision plans are available to Active Duty Marines and their families as well at affordable prices.

Marine Corps Retirement

Marines will participate in what is called the Blended Retirement System. The Blended Retirement System consists of a 20 year cliff vested annuity. The amount of your monthly payment is calculated by determining a monthly average based upon your three highest years of base pay and then multiplying the average monthly pay by 2.0 % for each year of service. Marines would receive 40% of the average of their highest three years of base pay after 20 years of service.

In addition to the Blended Retirement System, Marines are encouraged to utilize and contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). The TSP is a tax deferred 403(a) retirement plan that acts similar to a 401(k). Marines can contribute 1 to 100% of their Basic Pay Although, a Marines annual dollar total can’t exceed the IRS limit. This limit changes each year, but for 2022 it is $20,500. Marines over 50 you can contribute another $6,500 each year.

Marine Corps Life Insurance

Marines are eligible to receive affordable life insurance through the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI).

Additional Marine Corps Incentives and Bonus Payments

  • Flight Pay
  • Sea Pay
  • Hazardous Duty Pay
  • Proficiency Pay
  • Family Separation Allowances
  • Overseas Housing Allowances

Marine Corps Post-Service Benefits

There are many benefits available to Marines once they decide to retire or leave the Marine Corps. These VA Benefits include Disability Compensation, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, Veterans Readiness and Employment services, and burial.

Disability Compensation

Marines that were injured while serving on Active Duty are entitled to VA Disability Compensation once they leave the Marine Corps. This is a tax-free monetary benefit that is paid to veterans on a monthly basis.

Education and Training

Marine Corps Veterans receive free education once they decide to leave active duty. This free educational benefit is called the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is an educational benefit for individuals that served on Active Duty after September 10, 2001. Your Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits can be used at universities, colleges, and trade schools, as well as, on-the-job training, flight schools, and apprenticeships. If you would like to learn more about the Post 9/11 GI Bill, I have a full in-depth article here!

Health Care

As a Marine Corps Veteran, you may be eligible for VA Health Care. Although, the priority for benefits will depend on your disabilities and other factors.

As a Veteran, VA Health Care must be applied for. While this is the case for the majority of Veterans, in some cases health care will be provided without applying if the Marine Corps Veteran:

  • Has a service-connected disability rated 50% or higher
  • Needs care for a disability that VA has decided was linked to their service, but for which the VA hasn’t yet given you a rating (this will apply only during the first year after your discharge), or
  • Is getting care just for a service-connected disability.

If you wish to learn more about the post-service VA Health Care benefits available to Marine Corps Veterans, you can do so here.

VA Home Loans

The VA Home Loan is an amazing benefit for Marine Corps Veterans. According to VeteransUnited.com, “VA Loans are issued by private lenders, such as a mortgage company or bank, and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Some of the main benefits of a VA Home Loan include:

  • No downpayment required 
  • Competitively low-interest rates
  • Limited closing costs
  • No need for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
  • The VA home loan is a lifetime benefit: you can use the guaranty multiple times

Click here if you would like to learn more about the VA Home Loan benefit available to Marine Corps Veterans.

Marine Veteran Readiness and Employment

Another additional post-service benefit available to Marine Corps Veterans is job training, employment accommodations, resume development, and job search skills coaching. There are also services available to Marine Veterans who are interested in starting their own business. Click here for more information!

Burial

As a Marine Corps Veteran you are eligible for burial in a National Veterans Cemetery at little to no cost. If you are buried at a private cemetery there is assistance provided to your family. Click here for more information and the full list of requirements!

Are the benefits worth Joining the Marine Corps?

At the end of the day joining the Marine Corps is your decision to make. As you now know from reading this article, there are many Marine Corps Benefits for Active Duty Marines and Marine Corps Veterans. Joining the Marine Corps is challenging and it definitely is not for everyone. You need to determine whether or not it is the right choice for you. If it is, then I bid you good luck in your endeavor and encourage you to go for it. The Marine Corps is the worlds most elite fighting force and a brotherhood that you’ll be damn proud to be a part of!

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Thanks for stopping by!

Semper Fidelis,

Tony 
Sergeant (Marine Corps Veteran)
For The Corps

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