Established in 1948, the rating of Disbursing Clerk (DK) was drawn from the service rating Disbursing Storekeeper (SKD). The Storekeeper (SK) rating itself was established in 1916 and featured other self-explanatory service ratings such as SKE (Engineer), SKG (General), and SKT (Technical).

In a series of 2013 articles published by the Naval Historical Foundation describing life aboard a Fletcher-class destroyer in the 1950s, retired U.S. Navy Captain George Stewart used a single sentence to describe the duties of a Disbursing Clerk: “Assisted the Supply Officer in performing his paymaster functions.” While the statement is true, the tasks handled by Disbursing Clerks grew both in number and complexity over the years leading up to its 2005 merger with the Personnelman rating to create the new Personnel Specialist (PS) rating.

In addition to preparing military payrolls, Disbursing Clerks became responsible for maintaining the Personal Financial Records of military, and as Federal tax regulations became more involved so did the job of a Disbursing Clerk. DK Sailors computed both Federal and State income tax withholdings and prepared associated documentation, determined FICA taxes, and handled related customer service requests by Naval personnel and their dependents. DKs calculated transportation entitlements and travel allowances, both of which affected the pay of military personnel.

Disbursing Clerks were also tasked with processing vouchers documenting receipt and expenditures of funds, which meant keeping meticulous records and preparing reports outlining where money came from and where it was spent—and why.
All these duties and more were rolled into the Personnel Specialist (PS) rating in 2005. Sailors serving as active-duty Disbursing Clerks when the new rating was announced in January of that year had to retire their old DK rating badge and begin wearing the new PS badge by October 1. Disbursing Clerks who were scheduled to transfer to the fleet reserve or retired before that time were given the option to keep the old DK rating badge.

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