2020 BAH rates were released in December 2019. On average, BAH increased 2.8% from 2019 to 2020. BAH Rates are calculated based on average rental prices in over 300 military communities in the United States.
The increase in average BAH rates comes at a time when the formula used for BAH calls for a decrease in the percentage of housing costs to be covered by BAH. The 2015 Defense Authorization Act included changes in BAH calculations, instituting a gradual decrease in the percentage of housing costs BAH covers.
From 2005 to 2015, BAH was designed to cover 100% of housing costs, including the cost of renter’s insurance. Starting in 2015, the BAH calculations removed the cost of rental insurance from the formula ($20/mo on average), and decreased the percentage covered by 1% per year annually from 2015 – 2019.
2020 BAH rates are designed to cover 95% of housing costs.
How Will New BAH Rates Affect Me?
While BAH rates increased on average, they did not increase everywhere.
However, BAH Rate Protection ensures your BAH will not go down if you live in an area where rates decreased. Instead, you will be grandfathered into your previous rate until you PCS, your pay grade changes, or there is a change in your dependency status.
- If you PCS, you will receive the current BAH rates at your new duty station. There are two possibilities if your pay grade changes.
- If you are demoted, you will receive the current BAH rate for your new pay grade, regardless of whether or not it is lower than your current rate.
- If you are promoted, you will receive the BAH for your new pay grade, or your previous pay grade, whichever is higher (BAH rates may be higher for a lower pay grade if you were grandfathered into an old rate and BAH rates have since dropped for your duty location).
- Finally, changing from the With Dependents to Without Dependents or vice-versa will result in a new BAH rate that reflects your current status.
How Are BAH Rates Determined?
Basic Allowance for Housing rates are based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status (With Dependents or Without Dependents). The rates are based on housing costs in the local civilian housing markets and are designed to include rent and utilities. Over 300 Military Housing Areas are included in the calculations.
As mentioned above, BAH rates no longer include the cost of renters insurance. I’m a big believer that servicemembers should buy renter’s insurance, as it is the responsibility of the renter to insure their belongings (insurance is generally not provided by landlords or the government). Servicemembers living in the dorms or barracks should also buy renter’s insurance.
Types of BAH
- Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – This is a housing allowance provided to US military members to offset the cost of housing when government housing is not available. It is broken down into two categories: With Dependents and Without Dependents. The rate for With Dependents is the same regardless of the number of dependents you have. If a Dual-military couple has dependents, the higher-ranking individual will receive the With Dependents rate and the lower-ranking individual will receive the Without Dependents rate.
- Partial BAH – Given to servicemembers without dependents who reside in government quarters.
- BAH Type II – This may also be referred to as BAH Reserve Component or Transit (BAH RC/T). This allowance is provided to Guard or Reserve members who are activated for less than 30 days. This allowance is also given to servicemembers who are in transit from a duty location with no prior BAH rate (such as overseas). BAH II is based on the national average for housing and does not vary by location.
- BAH-DIFF – BAH-Differential is the housing allowance amount for a member who is assigned to single-type quarters and who is authorized a basic allowance for housing solely by reason of the member’s payment of child support. A member is not entitled to BAH-Diff if the monthly rate of that child support is less than the BAH-Diff.
- Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) – similar to BAH, but only available to members stationed overseas or in US protectorates.
Where to find the 2020 BAH Rates
The Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) is the official source for BAH rates. You can visit their site or use the BAH Calculator below to find the current rates for your zip code. We would publish them here, but there are over 300 area codes listed, and rates also vary by pay grade and With or Without Dependents status. Using the official DoD calculator is the easiest way to get this information.
You can use the following BAH calculator to find current or historic BAH rates for your duty location. Simply enter the year, the zip code for your duty location, and your current pay grade.
2020 BAH Type II Rates
Members of the Guard and Reserves who are activated for less than 30 days receive BAH Type II, which is also referred to as non-location BAH. This benefit is less than the normal BAH rate for most locations.
Members who are activated for more than 30 days will receive the same BAH rate as their active duty counterparts, which will be based on their location and whether or not they have dependents.
BAH Type II is also given to military members who are in transit from a location that does not have a BAH rate (such as a PCS from an overseas location).
Here are the 2020 BAH Type II Rates:
|Pay Grade||Without Dependents||With Dependents|
2020 BAH Differential Rates
Servicemembers who live on base but are paying child support may be eligible for BAH Differential, also referred to as BAH-DIFF. This payment is b
According to the Defense Travel Website:
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 DoDFMR, Volume 7A, pars. 260301 and 260504.
You can see the 2020 BAH Differential Rates here:
|Pay Grade||BAH Differential|
Where Can I Learn More About BAH Rates?
Use our BAH Guide. We have some detailed information on how BAH rates are calculated, BAH eligibility, types of BAH (BAH, Partial BAH, BAH Type II, BAH-DIFF, etc.), and other frequently asked questions.