Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a vital portion of a service members pay. BAH reflects the housing market the service member is currently stationed, ensuring they can find an affordable place to live. Many factors account for changes to BAH including market rents, utility costs, and renter’s insurance rates. On Jan. 1, 2014 BAH rates will increase by an average of five percent. Read below for more information about how this year’s rates have changed and why.
- Each year BAH rates are reviewed and adjusted to account for fluctuations in rent, utilities and renter’s insurance in a given location. This routine rate adjustment happens each year.
- BAH is designed to assist service members assigned to permanent duty stations within the U.S. with acquiring housing comparable to civilians in the same income range, at that location.
- This year, BAH rates will increase an average of 5 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2014. An estimated $20 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service Members in 2014.
- On average, BAH rates for members with dependents will increase approximately $79 per month and $76 for members without dependents. A typical mid-grade enlisted member with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $79 per month higher than last year, while a typical junior officer without dependents will find his/her BAH about $76 higher than last year.
- BAH rates at about 20% of the Military Housing Areas (approximately 60 areas) will decrease in 2014 from 2013 rates.
- No matter what happens to housing costs, an individual member will not see his/her BAH rate decrease as long as they do not have a reduction in pay grade, change in dependency status, or permanent change of station. This is called rate protection, and is designed to ensure that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area’s housing costs decrease.
- Because BAH is computed from median rent and local averages, it is not intended to cover every member’s total housing cost, and some members at a location may incur out-of-pocket expenses based on their actual housing choices.
- The Department remains committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living.