The National Guard: What Benefits Can You Earn?

There are many different reasons to become a citizen soldier as a member of the National Guard. Whether you’re looking to serve your country or state, or you want to earn money for college, there are many benefits of National Guard careers. Before you enlist, learn what benefits you can expect by joining the National Guard.

Benefit Of Joining The National Guard: A Supplemental Income

Your pay rate as a National Guard soldier depends on a number of factors. If you’ve never served before, you’ll likely start as an E-1, but this rate could change depending on your education level. National Guard soldiers do not receive a full paycheck since they typically only work two days a month and two weeks a year. However, they do receive full pay and allowances for any time on active duty, including long-term training.

Benefit Of Joining The National Guard: Healthcare

Civilian health insurance can be expensive! National Guard careers do provide soldiers with the opportunity to purchase Tricare Reserve Select health insurance. This insurance plan does have a small yearly deductible, which is dependent on rank, as well as a monthly premium. However, many citizen soldiers find that the deductibles and premiums are well below their civilian equivalents. Monthly family premiums are currently around $200 a month for a family, and deductibles are $100 a year for E-4 families and below and $300 a year for E-5 families and above. Soldiers can also use on-post pharmacies when available and receive prescription medications free of charge.

Benefit Of Joining The National Guard: On-Post Shopping

National Guardsmen can save even more when they take advantage of on-post shopping. The Exchange (commonly called the PX) offers tax-free shopping on brand name products like clothing, cosmetics, furniture and household appliances. Soldiers can find even more savings with the commissary. This grocery store offers savings on nationally known brands of foods, and families who shop at the commissary can save as much as 30% off their monthly grocery bills. The commissary offers groceries at cost, with just a 5% surcharge to help pay for employee salaries and facility maintenance. However, if you do go to the commissary, make sure to bring a few dollars in cash. The baggers there do not receive a salary; they work only for tips, so it’s customary to tip each time you go there.

Benefit Of Joining The National Guard: Life Insurance

One more benefit of National Guard careers is that citizen soldiers are eligible for Service Members’ Group Life Insurance. This is a budget friendly life insurance plan that can insure service members for up to $400,000. Family members are also eligible and, unlike other life insurance plans, FSGLI doesn’t require a health screening or questionnaire.

These are only a few of the benefits of joining the National Guard — there are many, many more. If you’re interested in learning more about serving your country or state on a part-time basis, consider contacting a National Guard recruiter to learn more.

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