Everything You Need to Know About US Military Jump Pay

Parachute pay is a type of hazardous pay

U.S. Marine jumps out the back of an aircraft.
••• April 1, 2015 - U.S. Marine jumps out the back of an aircraft during monthly airborne jumps aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Jumping at 12,500 feet above ground level, the Marines free-fall for about a minute before they release their parachutes near 5,000 feet and descend onto the landing zone. Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Military members who are required to jump out of aircraft as part of their duties are entitled to a special kind of pay, known as "Jump Pay," or "Parachute Duty Pay."

This type of pay is categorized as hazardous duty pay. Other military members who receive this type of pay include those who handle explosives and their disposal, those who handle toxic fuels, those on experimental stress duty, and anyone who works on the flight deck.

Any duty considered exceptionally dangerous or life-threatening may qualify for hazard pay. But for parachute jumpers, there are two types, and slightly different criteria to qualify for each.

HALO and Regular Parachute Pay

There are two rates of Jump Pay, regular and HALO (High Altitude, Low Opening).  Only one type of parachute duty payment (regular or HALO) is authorized for a qualifying period. When a member qualifies for both types of parachute duty, the higher rate of pay is authorized.

The amount of pay, as of 2017, is $150 per month for regular jump pay, and $225 per month for HALO pay. 

Parachute Riggers and Parachute Pay

Qualified members (for regular jump pay) are those who have received a designation as a parachutist or parachute rigger or are undergoing training for such designations. It also applies to those who are required to jump from an aircraft while it's in flight, and who meet the minimum jump requirements.

For HALO, the requirements are pretty specific. The military member has to have parachute jumping as an essential part of his or her regular duties, in military free fall operations where a static line is not used for the jump.

Others who qualify for HALO pay include those who:

  • Have graduated from a free fall course either offered by or recognized by the military, 
  • Have earned designation as a HALO parachutist (or are in the process of receiving this certification)
  • Are required by orders to parachute at high altitudes from aircraft at high altitudes without a static line

Jump Requirements

While there are some exceptions (such as for those who are temporarily incapacitated), military members must make at least one qualifying jump during a consecutive three-month period to continue to qualify for jump pay.

There are specific circumstances under which a jump will count toward a military member's jump quota. The jump has to be performed during a period of duty where competent orders require parachute jumping.

Parachute jumps performed under the following circumstances do not qualify a member for entitlement to parachute pay:

  • Parachute jumps performed by any member while on leave or during a permanent change of station move or temporary duty/temporary active duty not requiring parachute jumping as an essential part of his or her duties. In other words, no parachute jumping for fun, only as necessary under the circumstances.
  • Parachute jumps performed by a member of reserves while on active duty training but for someone whose duties do not require parachute jumping.