special pays

Reminder to Graduating Residents – You are Now Eligible for GMO Incentive Pay

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Congratulations to those who graduated residency. Medical Corps officers who complete initial residency on active duty are eligible for the General Medical Officer (GMO) Incentive Pay (IP) the day after completing residency. For those who complete residency while not on active duty (NADDS), they are eligible on they day they report to their permanent command.

This means you need to go to your Special Pays coordinator, if you haven’t already, and apply for the GMO IP. It increases you from a residency IP of $8,000 per year to the GMO IP of $20,000 per year.

Guest Post – Summary of Changes in Navy Medical Corps Specialty Pay in FY22

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By CDR Dustin Schuett, MC, USN

(The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.)

The FY-22 Navy Active Component Medical Corps Special Pay Guidance was released on February 12, 2022.

Notable changes in the FY-22 Navy Medical Corps Special Pays included $2,000/year increases for Navy Staff Physicians on 2- and 3-year Retention Bonuses for Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Gynecologic Surgery & Obstetrics (GSO), Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, and Urology as well as $3,000/year increases for Physicians on 2- and 3-year Retention Bonuses specialized in Pathology, Pediatrics, and Radiology. The 4-year Retention Bonus for Cardiology increased $10,000/year. This was the largest increase of any existing Retention Bonus from the FY-21 plan.

Additionally, the 4-year Retention Bonus returned for Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, GSO, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Radiology, Urology, Subspecialty Category II (IM Nuclear Medicine), and Subspecialty Category V (Fellowship in Ophthalmology, ENT, GSO, or Urology). The 6-year Retention Bonus returned for Cardiology. All of these 4- and 6-year Retention Bonuses were not in the FY21 plan.

Removed from the FY-21 plan is the increased Incentive Pay for Anesthesiologists, General Surgeons, Neurosurgeons, General Orthopedists, and Subspecialty Category Physicians on a 4- or 6-year Retention Bonus. Accompanying those changes are an increase in the 4- and 6-year Retention Bonuses for those specialties equal to the prior difference between the baseline Incentive Pay and the 4- and 6-year Incentive Pay rates. In short, the total money is the same, but more of it will be paid as an annual lump sum as opposed to pro-rated across the year.

Termination and renegotiation of existing Retention Bonuses is now allowed for Family Medicine Sports Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, and Radiation Oncology physicians under the FY-22 plan provided they are not under an Active Duty Service Obligation for medical education, training, or a Special pays Retention Bonus with additional obligation. Under the FY-21 plan, physicians in these specialties were not allowed to renegotiate Retention Bonuses under any circumstances.

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law on January 2, 2021, authorized an increase in Board Certification pay for Military Physicians from $6,000 per year to $15,000 per year as well as significant increases in the allowances for Incentive Pay (from a max of $100,000 to a max of $200,000 per year) and Retention Bonus (from a prior max of $75,000 to new max of $150,000). However, while NDAA 21 authorized these increases, Congress has not appropriated any additional money. In addition, when NDAA 21 was signed BUMED was already working on the FY-23 budget. In other words, due to the way budgeting works in the DoD and Navy, there is at least a 2 year lag between any pay changes authorized and the budgeting process. In February 2022, the Navy is currently working on the FY-24 budget. (Editor’s Note – The Corps Chief’s message in the last MC magazine explains all of this in detail and can be read here.)

In summary, no specialty received an increase in Incentive pay. The 2- and 3-year Retention Bonuses went up $2-3,000 for several specialties. The 4-year Retention Bonus for Cardiology increased $10,000. 4- and 6-year Retention Bonuses returned for several specialties after not being available under the FY-21 plan.

The 2021 NDAA authorized an increase in Board Certification Pay to $15,000 from $6,000, which was not enacted.

The 2021 NDAA authorized increases in Incentive Pay or Retention Bonuses beyond the previous limits of $100,000 and $150,000 per year, but these were not enacted.

5 Specialties/Subspecialty Categories (Anesthesiology, General Surgery, General Orthopaedics, and Subspecialty Category I) had increases in 4- and 6-year Retention Bonuses, however this was a shifting of money from Incentive Pay to Retention Bonus with no increase in total earnings for Physicians on these Retention Bonus plans.

There has been no change in Board Certification Pay or Incentive Pay for any specialty including Interns, General Medical Officers (GMOs), and Residents since FY2017.

FY22 Special Pay Plans Released

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Here’s the message from the Medical Corps Chief’s Office and plans:

The special pays program manager highlighted changes from last year in yellow.  This year’s pay plan includes several increases in incentive pay, specialty pays, and a return of all the previous four and six-year retention bonuses.

-Requests, with CO endorsements, dated between 11 Feb 22 – 11 Mar 22, and requesting an effective date as far back as 1 Oct 21, will not require to be retroactive; however, any request/CO endorsement dated 12 Mar 22 or later will have to be retroactive.

-BUMED Special Pays webpage https://www.med.navy.mil/Special-Pays/ will be updated as soon as possible.

-Contact your local special pays representative with processing questions

Note:  The pay plan is a continuous evolution.  Each of the services’ pay plans are based on the DoD pay plan, and the pay planning cycles are not aligned with the budgeting process.  For example, the FY21 NDAA that authorized increases in Board Certification Pay was signed after the FY22 DoD Pay Planning and FY23 DoD Budget planning were in progress.  To that end, it can take up to two years after legislation for NDAA changes to be considered, budgeted, and published in our special pay plans.  RDML Hancock has an article that explains this in detail in our MC winter magazine that I’ll send out next week.

Your pay is a top priority, and the Medical Corps Chief’s Office will continue to advocate for maximum pays whenever possible!

FY22 Special Pays NAVADMIN Released!

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I will post the specific pay plans and amounts once the Corps Chief’s Office disseminates them, but here is the NAVADMIN, which means that you can start applying for FY22 special pays:

R 111949Z FEB 22 MID600051511899U






RMKS/1. This NAVADMIN announces the continuation of authority granted in
references (a) through (c).

  1. Submission of requests for fiscal year (FY) 2022 special and incentive
    pays may begin upon release of this NAVADMIN in conformity with reference (c)
    and specific FY-22 medical department special pay guidance.
  2. Specific special pays implementation guidance, administrative procedures
    and Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) special pays point of contact
    information is available at MyNavy Portal athttps://my.navy.mil/ by
    navigating to Quick Links, BUMED, Careers, Special Pays. All personnel
    eligible for medical department officer special pays are strongly encouraged
    to review their corps-specific guidance located at the aforementioned link.
  3. This message will remain in effect until superseded or canceled,
    whichever occurs first.
  4. Released by Vice Admiral John B. Nowell, Jr, N1//

When Will the FY22 Pay Plan Be Out? BLUF – Probably Late JAN or Early FEB

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People have been asking when the FY22 pay plan will be released, and right now the best info we have is that it is tracking toward a late JAN or early FEB release. All special pay requests get back dated to 1 OCT 2021, so you do/will get your back pay.

While we’d love to have it out earlier than this, as I’ve said before, part of the reason it is delayed is because the Medical Corps Chief’s Office fights so hard to make sure we maximize special pays.

Reminder to Graduating Residents – You are Now Eligible for GMO Incentive Pay

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Congratulations to those who graduated residency. Medical Corps officers who complete initial residency on active duty are eligible for the General Medical Officer (GMO) Incentive Pay (IP) the day after completing residency. For those who complete residency while not on active duty (NADDS), they are eligible on they day they report to their permanent command.

This means you need to go to your Special Pays coordinator, if you haven’t already, and apply for the GMO IP. It increases you from a residency IP of $8,000 per year to the GMO IP of $20,000 per year.

Why Board Certification and Other Pays Probably Will Not Increase Until FY22

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I have received a lot of questions about why Board Certification Pay and potentially other pays will probably not increase until FY22. The short answer is below, and I need to point out that all the services are saying the same thing right now, for the reasons spelled out below. The Navy is not unique here.

The pay plan is essentially a continuous evolution. As soon as the FY21 plan is signed (which just happened), the planning for the FY22 plan begins. The services’ play plans are based on the DoD pay plan. For example, in FY21 the DoD plan was worked on for months and then signed on 27 AUG 2020. Then months of planning began on the Navy pay plan. Each service has the latitude to pay “up to” the maximum pays that the DoD plan sets. In other words, just because NDAA 21 raised maximum pays, this doesn’t mean that the services are going to automatically pay them. In other words, now that NDAA 21 was just passed, it will take time for DoD and then the services to adjust the pay plans. This will likely happen with the FY22 plan. Could it happen sooner than FY22? I supposed anything is possible, but the pay planning and budgeting processes are not quick.

In the MC Chief’s Office, we advocate extensively for maximum pays whenever possible, and that is part of the reason why the pay plan has taken so long to come out the last 2 years. We will continue to advocate the best we can for maximal pays.

FY21 Special Pays Plan and NDAA 21 Pay Increases

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The FY21 special pays NAVADMIN is out. You can read it at this link.

That said, what you really want is the Corps specific plans. I sent them to the Specialty Leaders and other senior MC leadership earlier today via e-mail, and they will be posted on the BUMED Special Pays site as soon as possible. It is a fine line I have to walk sometimes deciding what I can or cannot post on the blog, and I just don’t think I can post them here until they are on the BUMED site. Sorry, but that’s the way I feel.

Many have also noticed that NDAA 21 increased some maximum special pays. Because the FY21 DoD and Navy plans were already signed before the NDAA veto override and neither included any of these pay increases, the new maximum amounts will be considered for the FY22 pay plan. In other words, as of now your Board Certified Pay is not going to increase from $6K per year to $15K per year. That could change at some point in the future, but that is the answer I’m getting at BUMED as of now.

How Much Do You Get Paid as a Navy Doctor?

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I received a few e-mails asking for help figuring out physician pay in the Navy, and this is a long overdue blog post. In the spreadsheet below is the pay info for the various stages as you move throughout your Navy Medical Corps Career. I’m making a few assumptions:

  • These are FY20 pay numbers (since the FY21 pay plan is not out yet).
  • You promote at the normal times (O4 at 6 years, O5 at 12 years, and O6 at 18 years).
  • Basic Allowance for Housing is with dependents in San Diego. You can personalize this here.
  • The specialty is Emergency Medicine. You can look at the different amounts for other specialties here.
  • You pass your boards and become board-certified after residency.

For those who don’t want to look at the spreadsheet, here are the bottom line annual salaries:

  • New O3 intern – $95,976
  • O3 GMO – $121,803
  • Mid-grade O3 EM Resident – $120,348
  • New O4 EM Attending – $180,249
  • O5 EM Attending on a 6-Year Retention Bonus – $264,665
  • O6 EM Attending on a 6-Year Retention Bonus – $287,878

Here’s the spreadsheet with hyperlinks:

Special Pays Update – Senate Proposal to Increase Pays and BUMED Pays Update

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FY21 NDAA – SASC Bill Released

Please note the good news below, including a PROPOSED increase in special pays, in the legislative summary from the BUMED Legislative Liaison. While it is just a proposal at this point, at least it is a sign that they read the GAO report that concluded that military physicians are grossly underpaid and that they appreciate the extra efforts everyone has been giving due to COVID:

The SASC has released their version of the FY21 NDAA. Please note the bill still needs to be voted on by the Senate, which will include amendments being proposed. I have attached two modified documents: One includes sections 602 and 612 (described below), the other includes all of Title VII – Health Care Provisions. The full bill can be found here.

Below is a brief summary of notable legislative provisions included in the Bill:

Sec. 602. Hazardous duty pay for members of the Armed Forces performing duty in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019.

Sec. 612. Increase in special and incentive pays for officers in health professions. This provision increases the amounts of the accession bonus, retention bonus, incentive pay, and board certification pay.

Sec. 703. Waiver of fees charged to certain civilians for emergency medical treatment provided at military medical treatment facilities. A military MTF may waive a fee charged to a civilian who in not a covered beneficiary under certain conditions. Please note there is related report language (to be conducted by GAO) in Sec. 751 entitled Assessment of receipt by civilians of emergency medical treatment at military medical treatment facilities.

Sec. 721. Modifications to transfer of Army Medical Research and Development Command and public health commands to Defense Health Agency. While this section is largely focused on Army and preserving the infrastructure and personnel of MRMC/MRDC, it does include language very similar to the house language with respect to delaying the transition of R&D and PH to DHA. The HASC is delaying until 2025, SASC is 2024.

Sec. 748. Audit of medical conditions of tenants in privatized military housing. GAO audit of the medical conditions of eligible individuals and the association between adverse exposures of such individuals in unsafe or unhealthy housing units and the health of such individuals.

With both the HASC and SASC bills moving to the floor of their respective chambers, we will keep you updated if we find anything of significant interest to Navy Medicine from amendments that are adopted. Once the House and Senate pass their versions of the bill, we will produce a Navy Medicine Leadership Side-by-Side including both versions of the Bill.

One of my Army colleagues sent me this summary of the proposed changes to the maximum pay caps:

  1. HPO Accession Bonus (AB) from $30,000/yr. to $100,000/yr.
  2. Critically Short Wartime Specialty Accession Bonus (CSWSAB) from $100,000/yr. to $200,000/yr.
  3. Retention Bonus (RB) from $75,000/yr. to $150,000/yr.
  4. 4. Incentive Pay (IP) for physicians and dentists from $100,000/yr. to $200,000/yr. and ancillary specialties from $15,000/yr. to $50,000/yr.
  5. Board Certification Pay (BCP) from $6,000/yr. to $15,000/yr.


Special Pays Update from BUMED

Here is a cut/paste of a message e-mailed to the Special Pay POCs that spells out the various Incentive Pays (IPs). As usual, anyone with questions should address them with their command admin/HRD, or to the BUMED Special Pays email address:



Ladies and Gentlemen, please make sure this email is disseminated as much as possible. As you can see by all the names and email addresses, there are a large number of contacts for the special pays office, and this is only the ones we are aware of, and we communicate with on a regular basis. There are even more than this we work with, but do not necessarily have up to date POCs identified, such as Fleet Support Teams etc.

This email is to remind everyone of the dates for submitting for Incentive Pay, which particularly for Medical Corps is vital in the summer months. This information is also in the Pay Guidance for each Corps, and the Special Pays Information Power Point under reference on the BUMED Special Pays webpage.

For those MC completing residency 30 June, the GMO IP should have already been submitted to BUMED Special Pays. If not then get it done ASAP. For all commands when a MC or DC officer completes a residency 30 June, they cannot submit for the specialty IP until 60 days out from the effective date, which means if they completed the residency at another command they cannot submit for the specialty IP until they are at your command. Make sure individuals checking in are advised on when, and how to submit, for the IP at your command. DO NOT assume they know, or someone else in the command will tell them. Send out emails, advisories, or anything that will get out to your command telling them they need to submit. We are continuing to receive too many retroactive requests, and many do not have justification to support why an officer has not been paid for over a year.

Medical Corps –

New interns reporting to AD from Medical school via USUHS or HPSP etc. Eligibility for IP is 3 months after completing medical school, and on AD, so if an officer completes Med School 3 May 2020, is eligible for Internship IP effective 3 August 2020, provided on AD on that date.

Residency IP – If completing Internship eligible for IP 3 months after completing internship, but must be licensed. If not licensed at 3 months, then not eligible for IP until become licensed, and eligibility date is date licensed. If entering residency after GMO/UMO/Flight Surgery tour, then eligibility date is residency start date, and must submit.

GMO IP – If completing internship, same as residency IP, 3 months after completing internship, and licensed. If completing residency, eligible for GMO IP day after completing residency if residency completed while on AD.

Specialty IP – 3 months after completing residency/fellowship.

Dental Corps –

General Dentist IP – 3 months after completing dental school, and must be licensed. If not licensed at 3 months, then eligibility date is date licensed.

Specialty IP – Same as MC specialty IP, 3 months after completing residency.


Specialty IP is same as MC specialty IP 3 months after completing qualifying training program.