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Savings Plan Lets Deployed Troops Earn Interest on Funds

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2001 – The U.S. military's Savings Deposit Program allows deployed service members to earn 10 percent interest on money they deposit into a special fund.

Service members deployed to a designated combat zone can deposit up to $10,000 of their pay and allowances during their deployment into the program. They earn 10 percent interest on their money for the length of their deployment, Army Lt. Col. Thomas Emsweiler said.

Emsweiler works for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. He said the Savings Deposit Program was already in effect for service members deployed to the Persian Gulf and to the areas comprising the former Yugoslavia but has now been expanded to include Afghanistan and its surrounding areas.

The new areas covered in the program now include Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the waters of the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, and parts of the Arabian Sea, and the airspace over all these areas. The new eligibility zone was spelled out in a Nov. 26 memorandum from Charles Abell, assistant secretary of defense for force management policy.

The memo explains the program's $10,000 deposit limit can apply to pay and allowances earned in the zone since Nov. 1.

Deposits normally can't be withdrawn except for emergencies. Account balances are usually paid out within 90 days after the member leaves the eligible region, Emsweiler explained.

Deposit programs date back to the Civil War, Emsweiler said, but the program has been in its current form since 1966. It was discontinued due to lack of participation in 1972, but was reinstated during the Gulf War, he said.

Service members wishing to sign up for the savings deposit program or seeking more information should visit their local finance office.

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