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Financial Considerations Plus

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse NY -- The pre-deployment briefing for AEF has been expanded and the information in it is valuable to all. 'Financial Considerations Plus' includes the following topics; perhaps eye-opening to some and old-hat for others....

Consider adjusting your car insurance from "work" to "pleasure" usage since you will not be driving while deployed. Decrease the number of drivers and perhaps the annual mileage rate.

If single, consider the impact of terminating your apartment lease, but also consider the impact on your BAH entitlement...proof of housing is required for singles to receive BAH while deployed for contingency.

Consider shutting off your cell phone service.

Understand the new law with respect to NYS income tax. Combat zone tax exclusion has always excluded Title 10 contingency duty from state taxes. State law has been expanded to exclude all Title 10 duty. So think about the taxes you pay on MPA days just prior to and following CZTE months. Officers can take this one step further and exclude their income above the monthly CZTE cap.

Understand the difference between tax-deferred and tax-exempt income in relation to the civilian and/or military TSP programs. Maximum tax-deferred contributions are $15,500 in 2008. The maximum tax-exempt contributions are $46,000.

Understand in each CZTE month, SGLI premiums will be covered by the government. If on a long-tour, not in a CZTE month, you can apply for reimbursement this fall by New York State.

Understand your enrollment in Tricare as a primary or secondary health insurer, perhaps saving you and your family some co-pays and/or premiums before, during, and post-deployment.

Claim your property tax exemption with your assessor prior to 1 March of next year. If you only have a 15% exemption now (or none), you may be able to use your DD214, deployment orders, or medals to justify the 25% combat veterans exemption.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, take the time you and your family deserves, to educate yourself on all of these very important financial considerations. Use the information and education tools available to you in order to take full advantage of the benefits afforded to you.