Military couples stationed together can live off-base and receive a housing allowance, or can give up the housing allowance and live free in on-base family housing, just as members married to a civilian can. If there are no other dependents (children), each member is treated as "single" (for housing allowance purposes), and each will receive the single-rate Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for their rank and assignment location. If there are children, one member receives the with-dependent rate, and the other member receives the single rate. In most cases, the couples choose the senior-ranking member to receive the "with dependent" rate, as it means more money.
If there are no dependents, each member is considered "single" (as far as housing allowance) when not stationed together. For example, if a married couple (with no children) join the military together, neither will receive a housing allowance while undergoing basic training and job training (because each one is living in the barracks at basic and job training locations). If there are dependents (children), one of the member's would receive a with-dependent housing allowance while in basic/job training, in order to provide a household for the dependents (Note: This scenario is unlikley, as it requires a very-hard-to-get waiver for a couple with children to both join the military).
Another example: The Markets (both PFCs in the Army) are assigned together at an Army Post in Texas. They have no children, and are living off-base. Both are receiving single-rate housing allowance. One of the members, Sally gets orders for a 12-month remote (unaccompanied) tour to Korea. While in Korea, Sally loses her housing allowance (because she is living in the barracks there). John, still stationed in Texas and living in their off-base house while she is gone, will continue to receive his single-rate housing allowance.
Family Separation Allowance
Family Separation Allowance (currently $250 per month) is normally paid anytime a military member is separated from his/her dependents for longer than 30 days, due to military orders. For example, members with dependents attending basic training and job training (if the job training is less than 20 weeks and dependents are not authorized to relocate to the training base), receive $250 per month, beginning 30 days after separation.
The same applies to military-married-to-military, except:
- (1) The members must be residing together immediately prior to the departure
(2) Only one member can receive the allowance. Payment shall be made to the member whose orders resulted in the separation. If both members receive orders requiring departure on the same day, then payment will go to the senior member.
Care of Children (Dependents)
Military couples with children must develop a "family care plan" that details exactly what the care arrangements are in the event that both members must deploy. Failure to develop and maintain a workable family care plan can result in discharge. Complete details in our article, What About the Children?