It used to be that after you graduated residency you were immediately eligible to apply for the Additional Special Pay, which was paid in a lump sum of $15,000 and was commonly referred to as the “GMO bonus.” The ASP no longer exists and that $15K is now lumped into the new Incentive Pay (IP). Here is how that works for a new residency graduate straight from BUMED Special Pays, and I can only assume the same thing applies to interns who just became Flight Surgeons, UMOs, or GMOs:
“According to the FY17 Pay Guidance the earliest an individual is eligible for an IP rate is 3 months after they complete the qualifying training. For those that completed their residency 30 June 2017, the earliest they are eligible is 1 Oct 17, and since 1 Oct 17 is FY18 they will have to wait for the FY18 NAVADMIN to be released before they can submit to BUMED, provided they are privileged and practicing as well.”
While this may sound like you are losing out on 3 months of a $15K pay, BUMED pointed out that the old ASP used to require a 1 year commitment to receive it. Frequently officers looking to resign/retire would have a dilemma in their last year where they might have to stick around a little longer in order to receive their ASP or decide to forgo it so they could get out when they wanted.
The new IP no longer has this problem as it is paid monthly once started, so you won’t have to deal with this dilemma anymore. In other words, you’ll be able to resign/retire without having to make sure it meets the 1 year obligation of your last $15K bonus. You give up short-term pay for long-term flexibility.