The Air National Guard is one of several units of the United States military. Air National Guardsmen are only called up occasionally, and generally spend their time training and drilling for service. It's a part-time position, so most guardsmen serve in addition to their regular job. They must participate in drill activities at least once a month during the weekend and spend at least two weeks a year training on a military base. Guardsmen are usually eligible for similar benefits as other military personnel, including health insurance and help paying for college.
Pay and Benefit Basics
Pay and benefits in the Air National Guard are dependent on skills, rank, experience and pay grade. General guidelines are that those who have been in the guard longer are paid more; those who receive promotions also receive more. Officers, who generally have college-level education, are paid better and have more extensive benefits than enlisted guardsmen. Pay grades differ even among guardsmen of the same rank, with E-1 being the lowest pay grade and O-7 being the highest.
Air National Guard service members are paid along varying scales. At the lowest pay grade, E-1, service members with less than two years experience receive $204.20 in monthly drill pay as of 2014. They give one weekend of drill service per month, and two weeks of active duty training at some point during the year for at least six years. Their pay grade is higher during the two weeks they're on active duty training. As of 2014, officers' pay starts at $387.37 per month at the lowest pay grade and experience level. Members usually receive promotions with experience, and their pay increases automatically with each year they serve. Service members who are deployed into active duty are paid on the same pay grade as active duty personnel.
The benefits for service in the Air National Guard are pretty competitive. Among other things, service members are eligible for military health insurance and educational benefits. Members of the Air National Guard are eligible for the Tricare Reserve Select health insurance benefit and may purchase insurance through this program for their families as well. As of 2014, the monthly premium for Tricare Reserve Select is $51.68 for an individual service member and $204.29 for both the service member and his family. The annual deductible for the plan at the E-4 pay grade or below is $50 for individuals and $100 for families. After the deductible, service members pay a portion of medical costs, which varies depending on whether or not the provider is in network. The member's expense is subject to a catastrophic cap — a maximum total healthcare cost of $1,000 in a single fiscal year.
Members of the Air National Guard qualify for federal education benefits as a reward for their commitment to serve. Service members who spend at least six years in the Guard are eligible for educational assistance from the Montgomery G.I. Bill, which pays a large portion of the costs of college. Service members may also be able to have their past student loans repaid by the military, though eligibility for this program varies.
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