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Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, regardless of branch or designation, has certain advantages. Just as military members take care of our nation’s safety, our government does its part to take care of them.
One of these advantages is that military members can receive military BAH.
What Does BAH Stand For?
BAH stands for basic allowance for housing. BAH is primarily provided to active personnel assigned on permanent duty.
Military basic allowance for housing is a monthly stipend provided to military service members who are posted in army bases or air force bases but live off-post or in off-base housing and not using base resources.
Soldiers assigned to military posts outside of the U.S. are given a similar stipend called OHA or overseas housing allowance.
Who Determines BAH Rates?
The U.S. Department of Defense carefully considers a wide range of relevant and current factors to determine the BAH rates for each year. The military basic housing allowance is meant to cover around 95% of personnel’s off-post housing costs. Service members then pay the remaining amount out of their own pockets.
Will There Be a BAH Increase in 2023?
This 2023, military personnel received good news in light of rising inflation and increased housing costs. On December 14, 2022, the federal government announced a troops’ housing allowance historic increase. Even 2023 warrant officer rates for base housing allowance have gone up dramatically.
What Are the Military BAH Rates in 2023?
The 2023 BAH increase is reported to be averaging 12.1%. Although the amount may vary — for example, between commander and warrant officer rates — the 2023 officer rates are expected to increase by $82 to $184 per month. In comparison, the BAH only had a 2.5% average increase in 2010 officer rates or around $37 per month.
The new rates have been in full effect since January and current BAH rates affect all housing rates, including warrant officer rates. This marks the largest jump in warrant officer rates as well as overall military BAH rates in over 15 years.
At the NSA Washington base—whose BAH rates rank as the 18th highest among all U.S. Navy bases — warrant officer rates for those with dependents can go up to $3,600 this 2023. In comparison, in 2003 officer rates only reached up to $2,156.
How Is BAH Calculated?
BAH rates are calculated based on current market rates, the average cost of utilities, the type of house, and the number of rooms required. Take note that whether for major or warrant officer rates, the basic allowance will be based on rental data rather than mortgage data.
Does the BAH Vary By Individual?
Yes, not all service members receive the same amount. Individual BAH allotment can vary based on several factors, including:
- Time in service or rank
- Pay grade increases
- Assigned duty station or geographical location
Warrant officer rates will naturally be less than those for commissioned officers, such as lieutenants or captains. Similarly, warrant officer rates may vary if one service member has served longer or has a higher rank.
Do BAH Rates Vary From State to State Each Year?
It’s not just captain and warrant officer rates that may vary. Specific BAH allotment can also vary greatly from state to state. Military BAH rates are based on current average housing market rates and costs per area.
Although the average 2023 officer rates increased by 12.1% for 2023, some areas may see warrant officer rates rise to three times more, while others may decrease.
For instance, service members posted at the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in California will have the biggest rate hike, including warrant officer rates, averaging 38% compared to last year. Meanwhile, military members posted at the base in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, will receive a 32% rate increase in base housing allowance.
According to reports, 291 out of 300 designated military post housing areas in the base directory will experience BAH rate increases while five will see decreases. These five areas are:
- Lake Charles, LA
- Holloman Air Force Base, NM
- Vance Air Force Base, OK
- Long Island, NY
- Buffalo, NY
The Department of Defense has an online tool that allows active troops to look up their current military BAH rates for 2023 using their rank and zip code, regardless of whether they are.
Is Every Veteran Eligible for BAH?
No; only some veterans may be eligible to receive monthly BAH since VA off-post housing doesn’t apply.
Specifically, those using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can also receive BAH. The BAH rates will be calculated based on the school zip code they enroll in. For 2023, VA BAH rates for those who are eligible also go up an average of 12.1%.
How Do You Apply for BAH?
Military members can apply by completing forms and submitting the necessary paperwork to their housing office. This may vary depending on the military branch.
For instance, members of the U.S. Army need to submit a signed memorandum or DA Form 4187, permanent change of station orders for both their old and new stations, and other documents.
Meanwhile, veterans can apply for BAH as part of the process when they apply for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This can be done online with all the necessary documents and information, such as education and military history, Social Security number, bank account details, and basic information about the school.
How Do I Receive My BAH?
Military BAH is included in the members’ salary and split between their two monthly paychecks. Since the BAH counts as a stipend or allowance, it is not considered part of active members’ actual pay. As such, the BAH is non-taxable, and members can receive it in full.
Affordable Housing Outside of the Military
One thing to note about military base housing allowance is that it is generally only provided to active personnel and veterans who meet certain requirements. If you or your spouse have been discharged, the BAH will no longer be provided.
In such cases, this can be a huge blow. Thankfully, there are other affordable housing assistance programs available.
Discharged military members can apply on an official military website for Section 8 rental assistance to supplement their budget. In addition, the Section 8 Florida grant has been a huge help in ensuring low-income households can get safe housing at a discounted rate.
Those with family members who lost their life while serving in the military may also be eligible to receive additional monthly benefits, which may help supplement housing costs under the proposed Caring for Survivors Act 2023.
If you are a military veteran, you may still be able to receive BAH. However, if you need assistance figuring out your benefits or how to get them, our team is here to help.
Trajector can help you understand what government benefits you may be eligible for, how you can receive them, and other relevant local information, such as housing rates.