Until 2002, BAS was paid only when individuals were officially allowed (for various reasons) to eat their meals outside of the military dining facilities (chow halls). Those required to eat meals in the dining facilities (usually, single enlisted, living on-base) received a "partial allowance" of about $25.80 per month. Beginning in Fiscal Year 2002, all enlisted and officers receive full-rate BAS, after initial entry training (boot camp and follow-on schooling). However, for those required to consume meals in the dining facilities, most of the BAS will be automatically deducted from their paychecks, resulting in those members still only receiving about $26.00 each month. There are plans (for the future) to only deduct the cost of meals actually consumed in the dining facilities, but that is likely several years in the future (for the present time, DOD depends on the fact that members required to consume meals in the dining facilities only eat an average of 70 percent of their meals there, and purchase 30 percent of the meals elsewhere. The services rely upon the difference to help balance their food budgets).
Enlisted members with less than 4 months of service used to be paid BAS at a lower rate. That difference was eliminated in 2002.
BAS used to be calculated on a daily basis. That means that a person who received BAS got just a little bit more during months that had 31 days in them, and a little bit less during the month of February (which has less than 30 days). In 2002, Congress changed the law so that BAS is a set monthly rate.
Enlisted members, with or without dependents, used to lose BAS if they were deployed (or "in the field"). In 1998, Congress changed this. Now, enlisted members temporarily assigned to duty away from their permanent duty station or to duty under field conditions at their permanent duty station are entitled to BAS at a rate not less than that which they had at their permanent duty station.
The category of "When rations-in-kind are not available" is being phased out. As such, this specific category amount does not increase each year. When the normal "Enlisted" amount meets or exceeds the "When Rations-in-Kind are not Available" amount, the category will be completely eliminated.
By law, BAS is increased automatically each year, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index, which is prepared by the Department of Agriculture each December.
The new BAS rates are effective on January 1st.
For more information about Basic Allowance for Subsistence, see the Department of Defense (DOD) Pay Regulation, Volume 7A (Active Duty & Reserve Pay), Chapter 25, Basic Allowance For Subsistence (BAS).
BAS as of Jan. 1:
(including commissioned officers, warrant officers and aviation cadets)
(almost everyone who has completed basic training)