The LES is a powerful financial tool for Veterans and active-duty service members. From qualifying for a mortgage to managing your payments, your Leave and Earnings Statement can play a vital role in applying for a VA home loan.
We’ll cover what the Leave and Earnings Statement is, who receives it, how to obtain it and, most importantly, how it is used in the context of VA loans.
The Leave and Earnings Statement, or LES, is a financial document that provides detailed information about a service member’s compensation. You can think of your LES as a military pay stub, covering information relating to your current pay and leave.
Your LES offers a comprehensive overview of your financial status as a military service member. But what exactly does it include?
You can find the following elements inside your LES:
Accessing your LES typically involves creating a myPay account through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). While the process is generally similar for all service members, there may be slight variations based on your status and military branch.
Nearly all military service members will regularly receive a Leave and Earnings Statement. To learn more about obtaining your LES for each military branch, use the links below:
If you’re an active Army service member, you can retrieve your LES for the previous 13 months through myPay. For older Army LES documents, you'll have to reach out to your servicing finance office.
Separated Army service members can also request their LES through the Military Pay Historical Records Branch, but this process requires additional documentation. You may be asked to provide a copy of your government ID along with your social security number, mailing address and the reason for your request.
As an active-duty Navy service member, you can access your LES for the previous 13 months through myPay. For older documents or for separated Navy service members, contact the DFAS customer service department at 888-332-7411 to submit an LES request.
Active Air Force members can access their LES for the previous 13 months through myPay. For older USAF LES documents, get in touch with your servicing finance office.
Separated Air Force members can request their LES through the Military Pay Historical Records Branch. This process typically requires additional documentation, including a copy of your government ID, social security number, mailing address and the reason for your request.
All members of the Marine Corps, regardless of their current status, can access their USMC LES for the previous 36 months through myPay. For older Marine Corps LES documents, contact the DFAS customer service department at 888-332-7411.
Members of the Coast Guard are unique from the other branches in how they receive pay information. Instead of a traditional LES, the U.S. Coast Guard provides its own pay stub, known as a “Payslip.” Your Payslip generally serves the same functions as a typical Leave and Earnings Statement.
You can access your military Payslip through the U.S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center.
To maximize the value of your LES as a financial tool for VA loans, it's important to understand the information it contains and how to interpret it.
Your LES contains 75 fields of information, divided into the following categories:
Your LES plays a pivotal role in the VA loan process and in managing your finances as a homeowner. There are two primary ways to use your Leave and Earnings Statement with a VA home loan:
Active-duty service members are typically required to provide their Leave and Earnings Statement as part of the VA loan application process. Your LES demonstrates your current income and financial state to help lenders assess your eligibility.
If you’re nearing the end of your military service and planning to transition to civilian life, you may face additional requirements to qualify for a VA loan. Your lender may request further information to evaluate if you can comfortably manage a VA mortgage payment after your separation.
It’s helpful to familiarize yourself with these prerequisites and learn more about VA loan requirements for active duty military members.
Beyond its role in qualification, your Leave and Earnings Statement is a valuable tool for managing your finances when taking on a new mortgage payment.
By leveraging the information in your LES, you can create monthly budgets, track your income and deductions and monitor other aspects like Social Security contributions. This financial insight can help you establish healthy and consistent financial habits, ensuring that you not only qualify for a VA home loan, but can also manage it effectively over time.