Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) Rates for 2012
Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a U.S. based allowance prescribed by geographic
duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. It provides uniformed Service
members equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian
housing markets within the United States when government quarters are not provided.
A uniformed service member stationed outside the U.S., including U.S. territories
and possessions, not furnished government housing, is eligible for Overseas
Housing Allowance (OHA).
Note: BAH amounts are determined by location, rank, and whether or not the member has dependents.
Between ranks, amounts differ because the higher the rank, the better the housing a member is authorized. Here are the charts that show what type of dwellings are used to determine BAH amounts for each rank.
There are specific rules which determine whether the military member is paid the housing rate for the location of his/her assignment, or the location of his/her dependents. This chart displays those basic rules.
BAH is an allowance, and is therefore not subject to income taxes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for BAH?
A member assigned to permanent duty within the 50 United States, who is not furnished government housing, is eligible for a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), based on the member's rank, dependency status, and permanent duty station ZIP Code. A member stationed overseas (except in Hawaii and Alaska), including U.S. territories and possessions, who is not furnished government housing, is eligible for an Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) based on the member's dependency status. If a member with dependents (except for a member paying child support) is serving an UNACCOMPANIED overseas tour, the member is eligible for BAH at the "with-dependent" rate, based on the dependent's U.S. residence ZIP Code, plus FSH at the OCONUS PDS, if the member is not provided government housing overseas.
Does family size make a difference?
No. Although BAH distinguishes between with-dependent and without-dependent, the with-dependent compensation is based on comparable civilians using average family size.
I looked up the current year BAH amount for my grade and ZIP Code and
it's less than I was getting last year. Am I going to lose money?
No. BAH rate protection keeps an individual from having a reduction in BAH as long as the individual maintains "uninterrupted eligibility" [see below] for BAH. This means an individual is authorized the 1 January rate for the individual's grade and location or the housing allowance being paid on 31 December of the previous year, whichever is larger.
Will I see big changes in housing allowances on January 1?
Typically changes in housing allowances are modest. Allowances reflect the costs associated with household rental. Generally, rental prices change between 2%-5 percent from year to year, with "hot" markets changing 5%-10%. Housing allowances typically change accordingly.
Will I have some out-of-pocket expenses?
Yes, it is possible. Some members at a location may have out-of-pocket expenses. BAH rates are set at the median for each grade and housing profile. For a given individual, an out-of-pocket expense may be incurred based on the actual housing choice. If a member rents above the median rate for the grade/profile, that member incurs out-of-pocket expenses. For example, if a member lives in a 3-bedroom townhouse with lease and utilities that cost $1,200, and the median cost for that dwelling in the area is $1,100 that member has out-of-pocket expenses of $100. The opposite is true for an individual who chooses to occupy a less expensive residence. Only a member whose housing costs are exactly at or below the median will have no out-of-pocket expenses.
What is the current source of BAH rental data?
Current data is obtained from multiple sources, employing a "checks and balances" approach to ensure reliability and accuracy of data. Current residential vacancies, identified in local newspapers and real estate rental listings, are an important, but not our only, source of data. Vacancies are selected at random, and subjected to a multi-tiered screening process to ensure accuracy and reliability. Telephone interviews establish the availability and exact location of each residential unit sampled. The sample is designed to obtain a statistical confidence level of 95 percent or higher. Yellow page listings of apartments and real estate management companies are employed to identify units for rental pricing. It is also common to consult real estate professionals in a locality to obtain important confirmation and additional sources of data. When available, fort/post/base housing referral offices are contacted to tap local military expertise and gain insights into the local concerns of uniformed members. Finally, DoD and the Services conduct on-site evaluations at various locations to confirm and ensure reliability and accuracy of the cost data. Future enhancements include examining potential Internet uses as well as housing data available from other government agencies.
Does BAH guarantee that my residence matches what I could get if I
lived in government
No. BAH is based on civilian standards, considering the housing choices made by civilians of comparable income. Government quarters are assigned based on grade and family size.
What is BAH-Diff?
BAH-DIFF is the housing allowance amount for a member who is assigned to single-type quarters and who is authorized a BAH solely by reason of the member's payment of child support. A member is not authorized BAH-DIFF if the monthly rate of that child support is less than the BAH-DIFF amount. The BAH-DIFF amounts, originally calculated in 1997, are updated annually based on changes in the Basic Pay tables. For more information contact your servicing finance office or consult JFTR, par. U10008.
I am divorced
with children, what is my BAH allowance?
It depends on whether or not you have legal and physical custody of your children, pay child support, and/or live in single-type government quarters. If you have legal and physical custody of your children, then you are authorized BAH at the with-dependent rate if not assigned adequate family-type government quarters. If your former spouse has custody and you are paying adequate child support (at least in an amount of your BAH-DIFF rate) you are authorized BAH at the with-dependent rate if not in government quarters or BAH-DIFF if assigned single-type government quarters.
I am a Service member who is divorced from another Service member and
shares legal custody of the child/children with the former spouse. May both
members receive BAH with dependents?
No, both members may not receive a housing allowance based on the same dependent. When the former spouses share legal and physical custody of the child, each parent is authorized BAH at the with-dependent rate during the period the child is actually in the parent's physical custody. Both parents may not receive a housing allowance for the child during the same period. The rules governing member to member BAH are are found in the JFTR, Chapter 10 - Part C.
What is Overseas
The Overseas Housing Program enables military members assigned overseas to privately lease housing on the economy. This program encompasses a reimbursement system designed to partially defray housing costs when on-base or government leased housing is not available. OHA is paid to approximately 61,000 members overseas at a yearly cost of $1.9 billion.