Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus (FLPB)

Updated: May 19, 2023
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    The foreign language proficiency bonus (FLPB) is discretionary pay in addition to the base pay of enlisted service members and officers as an incentive for acquiring advanced skills in foreign languages and dialects that improve the ability to accomplish mission goals.

    The FLPB is for active-duty and Reserve service members certified as proficient in one or more foreign languages or dialects identified by the U.S. Department of Defense or the service secretary strategic language list (SLL) in the enduring category. Service members who are certified proficient may also be eligible for FLPB for dialects and languages that are not designated but are necessary for completing DoD component-specific missions.

    The FLPB installment rates vary from $100 to $500 per month for a single language and up to $1,000 per month for two or more dialects or languages. The FLPB amount may not exceed $12,000 per annual certification period for any service member.

    The rate of pay is determined by a combination of:

      • Proficiency in one or more areas of reading, listening and/or speaking modality of the service’s determination
      • Proficiency in a language or dialect on the immediate and emerging DoD SLL
      • Proficiency in enduring languages or dialects as identified by the service
      • Proficiency in languages and dialects not on the DoD SLL.

    The bonus is payable in addition to other pay and allowances.

    Service members must take the certification test annually to be eligible for the FLPB.

    Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus Installment Rates

    (effective March 2021)
    Proficiency in any Combination of Reading, Listening and Speaking Modality of the Service’s Determination (Note 2)Payment Category A (A-Rate) for Immediate and Emerging (Note 3) DoD SLL Languages or Dialects (Note 4)Payment Category B (B-Scale) for Enduring (Note 5) Languages or Dialects (Note 4)Payment Category B (B-Scale for Languages and Dialects not on the DoD SLL (Note 4)
    Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) Skill LevelsMonthly PayMonthly Pay (Note 6)Monthly Pay (Note 6)
    1/1 (Note 5)$100$0-$100$0-$100
    1+/1+ (Note 5)$150$0-$150$0-$150
    2/2 (Note 3)$200$0-$200$0-$200
    2/2+ (Note 3)$250$0-$250$0-$250
    2+/2+ or 2/3 (Note 3)$300$0-$300$0-$300
    2+/3 (Note 3)$350$0-$350$0-$350
    3/3 (Note 3)$400$0-$400$0-$400
    3/3/3 or 4/4 (Note 3)$500$0-$500$0-$500

    Source: Defense Finance and Accounting Service


      1. All possible interagency language roundtable (ILR) skill-level proficiency combinations are not depicted. In the case where a service member’s certified proficiency falls between two skill levels depicted, pay will be at the next lower skill level depicted (if at or above ILR skill level 2/2) where both proficiencies meet or exceed the lowest depicted payment threshold.
      2. The member must be certified as proficient using the proficiency skill levels shown in any combination of two of the three modalities listening (L), reading (R) and speaking (S) of the service’s determination in order to receive FLPB.
        • In the case of languages or dialects where there is only a single modality Office of the Under Secretary of Defense Personnel and Readiness (OUSD P&R)-approved test (L or R score), the secretary concerned may do one of the following:
        • Require the member to also take an OUSD P&R-approved oral proficiency interview (OPI) to achieve the requirement of two modality scores for FLPB eligibility
          • Use a corresponding modality from a different dialect of the same language to serve as the second modality for FLPB eligibility (i.e., combine the modern standard Arabic R DoD language proficiency test (DLPT) modality score with an L score from a different dialect of Arabic).
        • In the case of foreign languages or dialects where a DLPT or another test approved by OUSD P&R does not exist but an OUSD P&R-approved OPI is available, the secretary may pay FLPB for the single S modality only.
    1. The secretary must pay immediate and emerging DoD SLL category languages (at ILR skill level 2/2 and above).
    2. The secretary may pay FLPB at the Category B scale to service members who test proficient in an additional DoD or service-approved dialect of a language for which they receive FLPB at the Category A rate.
    3. The secretary has discretion to pay FLPB at the ILR skill levels 1/1 and 1+/1+.
    4. The secretary has discretion to pay or not pay FLPB on the scale bounded by zero and the category A rate and at any $25 increment between those lower and upper FLPB pay limits.

    Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT)

    The DoD and most federal government agencies rely on the defense language proficiency test (DLPT) and the oral proficiency interview (OPI) for testing language ability. To receive FLPB, service members must be tested annually using the current version of the DLPT or another test designated by the commander of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC).

    Written by Team