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Understanding BAH: Rates, Eligibility, and Assistance Programs

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is recalculated every year to account for changes in the housing market, utility costs, and other factors that influence the cost of housing in the United States. This ensures that service members receive an accurate and fair allowance that expands to meet market conditions. Additionally, BAH eligibility is based on personal factors such as rank, dependency status, and location, as well as economic factors like current market rates, average utility costs, type of house, and required number of rooms.

What Are the Military BAH Rates in 2024?

The 2024 BAH increase is 3.9%. In comparison, the BAH only had a 2.5% average increase in 2010 officer rates (~$37 per month). These new rates will take effect January 1st, 2024.

At the NSA Washington base—whose BAH rates rank among the highest of all U.S. Navy bases—warrant officer rates for those with dependents can go up to $3,740 this 2024. In comparison, in 2003 officer rates only reached up to $2,156.

Individual Variations in BAH

Not all service members receive the same BAH amount. Individual allotments can vary based on factors such as time in service or rank, pay grade increases, assigned duty station or geographical location, and dependents. Warrant officer rates are generally lower than those for commissioned officers, and variations can occur based on service duration and rank.

Regional Variation in BAH Rates

Service members in different states or regions may receive different BAH amounts, even if they have similar ranks or dependency statuses. Not only do captain and warrant officer rates differ, but BAH allotment can also vary significantly from state to state. Military BAH rates are based on average housing market rates and costs specific to each area. While the average 2023 officer rates increased by 12.1%, some areas may experience threefold increases in warrant officer rates, while others may see decreases.

**Some cities within a state may have different rates.
**Rental data, rather than mortgage data, is used to calculate the basic allowance for both major and warrant officer rates, allowing a more accurate assessment of the current housing market conditions and ensures that service members are provided with a fair and appropriate housing allowance.

Applying for BAH

Applying for BAH typically involves the following steps:

  1. Gather any required documentation, such as lease agreements or utility bills, proof of dependency status (such as marriage certificates or birth certificates for dependents), proof of rank and pay grade (military ID or pay stubs), and proof of duty station with orders or a letter from the commanding officer.
  2. Submit the application through the appropriate channels, such as your unit’s administrative office or online with the VA.
  3. Be prepared for potential wait times, as processing times can vary.
  4. Follow up with the relevant personnel if there are any delays or issues with your application.
  5. Once approved, ensure that the BAH is reflected correctly in your pay and review it for accuracy.
  6. Keep track of any changes in your personal or financial circumstances that may affect your BAH eligibility.
  7. Once approved, review BAH for accuracy and ensure it’s reflected correctly in your pay.

Veterans can apply for BAH while applying for the Post-9/11 GI Bill online, providing required documents and information about education, military history, Social Security number, bank account details, and school information.

Not all veterans are eligible for monthly BAH, since VA off-post housing doesn’t apply, but veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill can receive BAH based on the zip code of the school they enroll in. In 2023, VA BAH rates for eligible veterans increased by an average of 12.1%.

How Do I Receive My BAH?

Military BAH is included in the members’ salary and split between their two monthly paychecks. And since the BAH is a stipend, it is not considered part of active members’ actual pay. As such, the BAH is non-taxable, and members can receive it in full (though you should still include it in your tax filings as an income source). If there are any inaccuracies with how much you’re receiving, or any changes in your circumstances, let the VA know immediately so they can account for them.

Other Housing Assistance for Discharged Military Members

Once discharged, military members and their spouses no longer receive base housing allowance. However, there are other affordable housing assistance programs available. Discharged veterans can apply for Section 8 rental assistance and additional support through the Section 8 Florida grant. The proposed Caring for Survivors Act 2023 may offer monthly benefits to family members who lost their lives while serving in the military, helping with housing costs.

Other Assistance programs are available to help service members who may need additional support with their housing expenses. Some of these include:

  • Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS): offers financial counseling and support to service members who may need help managing housing costs.
  • Army Emergency Relief (AER): provides emergency financial assistance to service members who find themselves in unexpected financial situations related to their housing expenses.
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS): offers interest-free loans and grants to service members needing additional support with their housing expenses.
  • Air Force Aid Society (AFAS): provides various forms of assistance to service members, including emergency financial support, to help with their housing expenses.
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA): offers assistance programs to service members who may need additional support with their housing expenses, including emergency financial assistance and interest-free loans.
  • Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH): provides housing assistance to eligible veterans, including financial support, to help them secure stable and affordable housing options.

If you need assistance understanding your benefits or how to access them, our team is here to help. We’ve helped hundreds of thousands of veterans unlock greater government benefits by helping them understand application and eligibility requirements.