By MyBaseGuide Staff Member
With Air Force Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP) being cut for some at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, many up-and-coming military members are asking the questions, “What is SDAP?” and “Do I qualify for it?” SDAP is a specialized bonus for service members in jobs with above-average responsibility or that require an exceptional amount of skill.

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The Basics of SDAP

SDAP, or Special Duty Assignment Pay, isn’t given to all service members, but it can be given to service members in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. Those whose jobs are uniquely high-stress or high-responsibility are eligible for this military incentive pay. Among other types of military bonuses, such as retention bonuses, SDAP is one of the perks of military service that increases pay for many DoD careers. SDAP is paid out monthly as a bonus to your baseline military salary. Recently, the USAF and USSF increased Special Duty Assignment Pay bonuses for military members in cyber fields in order to combat the adverse effects of the recruiting crisis on in-demand positions. But cyber careers aren’t the only military jobs eligible for SDAP.

Who Gets SDAP?

If you’re looking to join the military and get as much bang for your buck as possible, you’re gonna have to work hard for it. This means training in highly-skilled fields and bearing the brunt of a ton of responsibility. Only enlisted personnel are qualified for Special Duty Assignment Pay. If you’re enlisted, you must also meet the following requirements to qualify:
  • Be at a minimum pay grade of E-3.
  • Be on active duty and entitled to basic pay, be a reservist performing IDT, or be entitled to drill pay.
  • Completed special OJT.
  • Be certified as qualified and actually serve in the Special Duty Assignment.
  • Meet any extra requirements outlined by your branch.
High-responsibility and high-skill positions include, but aren’t limited to:
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Canine Explosive Detection Team
  • Career Management
  • CQC Instructors
  • Cybersecurity Ops
  • Defense Couriers
  • Defense Threat Reduction Agency
  • Helicopter Rescue Swimmers
  • National Strike Force
  • Nuclear Work
  • Recruiters
  • Senior Advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Special Ops

How Much Is SDAP?

Depending on the degree of skill you need and the responsibility placed upon you for your position, you could gain upwards of $500 extra on your paycheck each month. Here are the most recent Special Duty Assignment Pay 2022 rates:
  • SD-1: $75
  • SD-2: $150
  • SD-3: $225
  • SD-4: $300
  • SD-5: $375
  • SD-6: $450
  • SD-7: $525

Getting Your SDAP

Once the requirements are met, you'll begin receiving your SDAP in your usual military paycheck. SDAP recipients will also continue to receive their special duty pay while on temporary duty, on leave, and in the hospital. If you want SDAP, you’re going to have to prove that you deserve it. But you’re going into the military, so we’ve got a good feeling you’re well ahead of us on that front.

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