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The Salvation Army is a charitable organization committed to disaster relief and helping the poor around the world. The organization has extensive religious roots and requires a religious background for all officers. The salary and benefits of officers in the Salvation Army is in part reflective of this religious life of service juxtaposed with the large organization's ability to provide otherwise unattainable benefits.
Officer Ordination Requirements
All officers in the Salvation Army serve on a full-time basis as ordained ministers. These religious servants may only marry within the ranks of other officers in the Salvation Army or may choose to remain single. Officers who marry outside the organization must resign commissions with the Salvation Army and lose all benefits. The lifestyle of ordained ministers carries certain expectations, including living a modest and moral life. Salvation Army officers' pay reflects those expectations.
Salvation Army Salary
The pay for an officer in the Salvation Army is modest. According to the "Los Angeles Times," in 2010 a husband and wife serving as career officers in the Salvation Army earned an annual salary of $25,000 combined. If the salaries divide evenly, each spouse earns just $12,500 a year. This salary hovers just above the national poverty level for the 48 contiguous states -- $10,890 as of 2011 according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' website.
Officer Housing Benefits
The Salvation Army offsets the low pay of its officers with rent-free housing. Some of these homes are in high-priced communities throughout the United States. Officers wouldn't be able to afford living in such lavish environments on their salaries otherwise. The Salvation Army owns homes across the United States. According to the "Los Angeles Times'" website, as of 2008 the revenue from the Salvation Army's domestic real estate holdings stood at $4 billion.
Health and Retirement Benefits
Officers and other career members of the Salvation Army are able to participate in a Preferred Provider Organization medical plan for health care, including emergency medical attention, prescription drug coverage and trips to the doctor's office. The Salvation Army offers tuition assistance programs for career employees seeking to increase educational foundations in approved coursework. Officers also receive paid time off for holidays, vacation pay and sick leave. Officers retiring from the Salvation Army receive a pension.