The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. The intent of BAH is to provide uniformed service members accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided.
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Each year the BAH tables are released between December 15 and January 1.
Current BAH Rates:
The overall average military Basic Allowance for Housing rates across the country increased over the last year. As noted above, BAH rates are based on the combination of local costs for rent, utilities and renter’s insurance for various housing types. Any fluctuation of one or more of those factors in a given location will affect BAH rates for that location.
Any active duty servicemembers who see a drop in BAH for their locality will have their BAH protected, thanks to "individual rate protection," which was adopted by Congress over a decade ago. On the other hand, those who live in an area that sees a BAH increase will enjoy a bump in the paycheck.
According to the DoD, BAH rates now make it possible for servicemembers to have zero out-of-pocket expense -- for servicemembers living in civilian rented housing. Since 2008 the BAH rates are directly related to the cost increases of the local rental housing markets.
Although BAH rates will generally either remain stable or increase, there may be some areas that decrease due to a decreasing local rental market. However, individual rate protection will still apply. Individual rate protection prevents the decrease of a BAH rate as long as the status of a servicemember remains unchanged. The servicemember who is already attached to his or her unit and receiving BAH will receive any published BAH increase, but no decrease. When the new BAH rates go into effect, rate protection assures that the servicemembers typical out-of-pocket costs may be less, but never more, than upon their reporting date.
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