Military Compensation:

Comparison With Federal Civil Service Compensation

NSIAD-88-67BR: Published: Nov 19, 1987. Publicly Released: Nov 19, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO compared military and federal civil service compensation to assess: (1) retirement and health benefits by age, gender, and level of education; (2) military personnel payment of state income taxes; and (3) the pay, allowance, and benefits that military service members receive.

GAO found that: (1) total military compensation exceeded total civil service compensation in all comparison groups; (2) the differences between military and civil service compensation were larger for females, college graduates, and older personnel; (3) military compensation was 27 percent greater than civil service compensation; (4) although cash compensation was identical for male high school graduates up to age 24, after that age, it was 6 percent higher; (5) military fringe benefits had greater value, since they were provided free to service members; (6) most military members tended to establish legal residence in states that either had no personal income tax on wages or did not tax military pay; and (7) the comparisons may not be sufficient to draw conclusions about pay levels because of the disadvantages and advantages of military service.

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