BAH Guide – Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Frequently Asked Questions

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BAH Guide - Frequently Asked Questions
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is one of the most valuable military benefits. The purpose of BAH is to provide a housing allowance for service members when military housing is not available or is otherwise not provided. BAH Rates are based on several factors including geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. The rates…

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is one of the most valuable military benefits. The purpose of BAH is to provide a housing allowance for service members when military housing is not available or is otherwise not provided. BAH Rates are based on several factors including geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. The rates are subject to change, and updated rates are usually released each December, and are effective on January 1 of the following year.

BAH Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

BAH Frequently Asked Questions

Like many benefits, BAH is simple on the surface. But it can get a little complicated, depending on your circumstances. This guide covers a variety of frequently asked questions, including types of BAH, BAH eligibility, BAH Rates, how BAH is calculated, what happens when BAH rates change, and other frequently asked questions.

How Many Kinds of BAH Are There?

There are several types of housing allowances:

  • Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) – Allowance for US military members to offset the cost of housing when government housing is not available.
  • BAH With and Without Dependents Rates – BAH is also broken into with and without dependents rates. The Dependent Rate is the same regardless of how many dependents you have. Dual-military couples without additional dependents each receive the Without Dependents rate. If the dual-military couple has dependents, one will receive the With Dependents rate and the other will receive the Without Dependents rate.
  • Partial BAH – Given to servicemembers without dependents who reside in government quarters.
  • BAH Reserve Component/Transit (BAH RC/T) / BAH Type II – This is given to members of the Guard or Reserves who are activated for less than 30 days. It also applies for members who are in transit from a duty location with no prior BAH rate (such as overseas). BAH II is a fixed rate based on the national average for housing and does not vary by location.
  • BAH-DIFF – BAH-DIFF 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.

Who is Eligible for BAH?

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)The military has a limited amount of housing available for service members. This can include dormitories, barracks, and on- and off-base housing.

BAH is usually offered to service members when housing is either not available or the member is authorized to live in non-military housing.

New military members who are attending basic training or tech school are only authorized BAH if they have dependents. If they have dependents, their BAH is set at the rate for the location where their dependents live. Those who are in training and do not have dependents are not eligible for full BAH.

Members joining the military should speak to their recruiters for more information about their benefits so they have a full understanding of how their pay and benefits work.

Do I Have to Live in Military Housing if it is Available?

Sometimes, but not always. There are some cases when service members will be required to live in military housing if it is available. Other times you may have a choice. For example, single junior enlisted members may be required to live in base dormitories or barracks until they have dependents or reach a certain rank (depending on availability and other factors).

Some military members may also be required to live in base housing in overseas locations, particularly for remote assignments or in locations where off-base housing is extremely limited or restricted to members of a certain rank or status.

How Are BAH Rates Determined?

The Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) is the office that handles BAH. According to DTMO, Basic 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). (see more).

The DoD uses actual market data from approximately 300 Military Housing Areas (MHAs) in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Rental costs are collected for apartments, townhouses/duplexes, and single-family rental units of varying bedroom sizes.  The different types of units are referred to as “profiles” or “anchor points.” DoD uses housing profiles to link rental costs with particular pay grades. The six standard housing profiles used as anchor points for BAH are:

BAH Rate Profile

To calculate BAH rates, the DTMO does the following:

  1. Determines the total housing costs (median rent + average utilities) for each MHA for all the anchor points.
  2. Calculates (using the Housing Standards table above) a separate BAH rate for each of twenty-seven distinct pay grades that correspond to military ranks for members with and without dependents.

Because these rates fluctuate, they are reassessed annually.

Note: Much, much more goes into the calculations than we can cover in this article. The DTMO publishes a BAH Primer which covers the BAH formulas in much more detail. The process is very detailed and is designed to attain a 95% statistical confidence that the estimated median rent is within 10% of the true median rent. There are additional checks and balances in place to ensure quality control.

Does BAH Cover 100% of Housing Expenses?

That depends on how much of your BAH you spend. I know, not the answer you’re looking for, right?

Contrary to popular belief, BAH was not originally intended to cover 100% of off-base living expenses. At one point it was only calculated to cover 80% of off-base living expenses, leaving service members to foot the remaining 20% of the cost themselves. It wasn’t until 2000 that the Secretary of Defense authorized an increase in BAH. The gap was gradually closed, and by 2005 BAH was increased to cover 100% of off-base living expenses. BAH rates remained set to cover 100% of median housing expenses as recently as 2015.

However, the 2015 & 2016 Defense Authorization Acts passed by Congress included provisions to decrease the percentage of expected housing costs BAH was supposed to cover. These budget authorizations made two major changes. The first was to eliminate the cost of renter’s insurance from the computation. That second was to introduce a cost-sharing element designed to shift some of the expense to the member.

This cost-sharing element was set at 1% for 2015 and set to increase 1% per year until it reaches a 5% cost-sharing (or covers 95% of median housing costs for the Military Housing Area).

Out-of-pocket expenses will be 1% in 2015, 2% in 2016, 3% in 2017, 4% in 2018 and 5% in 2019.

Read more about BAH rate cuts.

Why Doesn’t My BAH Rates Cover My Housing Expenses? (Or, I’m Spending Less Than My BAH).

BAH Rates are set on median housing prices for your duty location. Buying or renting housing outside of the median price range for your rank and dependent status will affect whether or not your BAH will cover your total expenses or leave you with a surplus. Choosing to live in a larger or smaller residence than the median will affect how far your BAH goes. Additionally, choosing to live closer or further from your base may affect the rental prices. As with all real estate, it often comes down to location, location, location.

Can I Use My BAH To Buy a House? Will BAH Cover My Mortgage?

Yes, you can buy a house with your BAH. Whether or not BAH will cover your mortgage depends. There is no rule that says you can’t use your BAH payment to buy a home. Just be aware that by design, BAH does not consider mortgage costs, it only considers the median cost of renting. BAH may or may not cover your entire mortgage payment depending on many factors including the cost of the home, the size and location of the home, your downpayment, taxes, homeowner’s insurance costs, and other factors.

Buying a home is a major decision and not one we can cover in this article. Just be aware there are many factors to consider outside of just your BAH for your market, including the cost of homeownership, closing costs, downpayment, homeowner’s insurance, taxes, maintenance, and the viability of renting out your home if you PCS. Positive factors to consider include potential market gains.

Where Can I Find Current BAH Rates?

Basic Allowance for Housing rates vary by location. The higher the cost of living, the higher the BAH rates. Some locations with a high cost of living may also be eligible for an additional Cost of Living Adjustment on top of the BAH benefit.

Current BAH rates can be found on the DTMO website.

To use the BAH Calculator, enter the year, your duty zip code, and pay grade. The calculator will return the BAH rate for your location for both the single and with dependents rates. You can also find more background information on current BAH rates on our site, including the amount of the most recent BAH rate increases or decreases, and other supporting information.

What Happens When My BAH Rates Change?

Simply put, you are protected—BAH Rate Protection has you covered. If BAH rates increase, your benefit increases and you will begin receiving increased BAH payments in your paycheck. On the other hand, you will be grandfathered into the old rates if BAH rates for your area decrease.

Individual rate protection prevents decreases in housing allowances as long as the status of a service member remains unchanged.

Service members are entitled to the BAH rates published 1 January or the amount of housing allowance they received on 31 December, whichever is larger.  Rate protection continues unless the status of a service member changes due to:

  • Permanent Change of Station (PCS)
  • Reduction in pay grade
  • Change in dependent status (only a change in with or without dependents, not the total number of dependents)

Individual rate protection is important because changing BAH rates are common. For example, in the last few years, several important changes have happened that decreased BAH in multiple locations. See the above section under the heading “Does BAH Cover 100% of Expenses?” for a more in-depth explanation.

I’ve Read Dual Military Couples Will Soon Lose Dual BAH. Is This True?

Cutting BAH for dual military couples was proposed as legislation, but there was massive push back from multiple sources. The DoD is looking for ways to save money and will continue to look for places to make cuts. Slashing dual BAH was proposed as a way to save money since dual-military couples don’t typically have larger housing expenses than a family with only one military member.

However, it’s easy to argue that BAH is an integral part of military compensation, and taking away BAH from one member of a dual military household amounts to a significant pay cut. Doing so could also put many families in financial jeopardy if they have based their current housing arrangements based on their current BAH.

As of publication, this proposal has been scrapped and will not happen. However, that does not mean Congress or the DoD will not revisit this in the future. For now, rest easy, your BAH has not changed.

The Cost of Renter’s Insurance Was Removed from Calculations in 2015. Should I Still Buy Renter’s Insurance?

Absolutely. Renter’s insurance is generally inexpensive (around $20 a month or less in many locations). It covers your belongings in the event of loss, damage, theft, and natural disasters. Covering your belongings is your responsibility, not your landlord’s responsibility. You can learn more about renters insurance in this article.

You should also buy renters insurance if you live in the barracks. Protecting your belongings is your responsibility, not the military’s.

Where Can I Find More Information About BAH, BAH Rates, and similar topics?

Here are some official sources for BAH regulations, rates, and additional information:

For issues regarding your BAH, contact your Service Compensation Representative through your chain of command. See below:

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) - Service Representatives

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of The Military Wallet. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the IL Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

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  1. Claudia Gonzalez says

    Hi!
    I’m in the reserves, but my husband will soon join the Navy as an active duty member. Will I qualify as a dependent for BAH?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Claudia, Yes, you will qualify as a dependent while you are in an inactive status. When you are activated, you will both receive the single BAH rate, unless you have other dependents. If that is the case, then the higher ranking individual will receive the BAH with dependents rate and the lower ranking individual will receive the single BAH rate. Best wishes!

  2. chuc says

    A future soldier will be attending active duty Basic training in 3 weeks and have a mortgage, he is single and have no dependents, will he be authorized BAH or partial

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chuc,

      Servicemembers who are attending basic training and tech school only receive full BAH if they have dependents. If they have dependents, then they will receive BAH based on their home of residence or where their dependents are living.

      Otherwise, they will receive Partial BAH. However, Partial BAH is very small and will not be enough to cover a mortgage payment.

      The recruit should speak with his recruiter prior to joining the military for more information about his benefits. It would also be a good idea to consider selling our renting out his home to ensure the payments are eliminated or taken care of while he is in the military.

      Best wishes!

  3. teresa carringtin says

    When my son deploys to Turkey, and his wife and child move in with her parents, will she get Bah?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Teresa, I don’t have enough information to answer this question. This is something your son should ask his finance office for clarification on, or alternatively, his wife can also ask the question. She should have access to the base finance office. Best wishes.

  4. Allison Virginia Hobaugh says

    We have been told that Lincoln military housing will take our BAH from 1 May to 15 May. We only lived in that house until 7 May. They told us we would be prorated back. I am just trying to figure out if that is the normal way and how long to recieve a refund check.

  5. Mark says

    I am a reservist starting ADOS orders. The orders have not been cut yet and I have the option to have orders for more than 30 days but less than 6 months, or orders for longer than 6 months but less than a year. I’ve been told that if I choose orders over 179 days (6 months) then I have the option to PCS, and thus will be paid BAH at the duty location rate with no other lodging allowance. Since I am not planning to move my family for a tour of less than a year, I will need BAH for my family, but also need lodging for myself at the duty location (military accommodations are not available). My question is, if the orders are less than 6 months but longer than 30 days, will I be paid BAH and lodging?

    Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mark,

      This is a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer – I recommend sitting down with your finance office to look at your options and find the situation that will help you out the most. I can say that when I have attended tech schools on TDY orders of less than 6 months, I was given BAH and provided lodging at my TDY location. But I’m not sure if this would qualify as a TDY, or if this would qualify as your primary duty station. So I recommend speaking with your finance office so they can help you understand the specifics of how this will impact you.

      Best wishes!

  6. Chris says

    I am active duty Army. My wife and I separated and she moved to another state with the kids while I deployed. We are receiving BAH for my Duty Station, if we are separated are we authorized to get BAH for where the spouse and kids are living permanently?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chris,

      BAH is provided for the member and the family members that are living with him or her. Because of this, BAH is provided at the member’s location. I recommend speaking with your finance office for more information regarding how your BAH will change if your spouse and kids move away permanently. I wish you and your family the best.

  7. Alex rodriguez says

    I am deploying soon and want to know if my bah for my spouse and I will change if she moves to California where housing is much more expensive than where I am now. Will it still be the bah rate for my duty when I am not here or in California for my wife to pay for expenses

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bob,

      A military member with dependents is usually authorized BAH unless they are on an unaccompanied assignment or they are living in government-provided housing, such as the barracks or dorms. However, they would only be authorized BAH for their duty station, not for where their dependents live. There can also be some quirky rules regarding BAH.

      I recommend the servicemember ensure their dependents are properly added to the DEERS system. Then the member can speak with his or her finance office to see about being authorized for BAH.

      The finance office should be the member’s main point of contact.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  8. Marinea says

    Hello- will the BAH be paid directly to the landlord or will it go to the service member to be paid to the landlord? We have an applicant who is applying for one of our properties and does not qualify based solely on income, however, she has disclosed that her BAH will cover the rent, which we would accept. I’m just curious as to whether or not it is paid directly to landlord? Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Marinea,

      BAH is paid directly to the service member. BAH can and should also be used as part of a service member’s income when applying for housing, as BAH is a housing allowance intended for rent or mortgage payments.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Pao, You should speak to your finance office. But in general, you will continue to receive the BAH from your duty station. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  9. Tim S says

    My girlfriend is currently in a training status in the army. She lives in my house, which I own and pay a mortgage on and we have an agreement that she pays for half of the expenses. Can she get BAH to help me cover her costs while she is gone? Her command is trying to tell her no, but won’t provide the instruction where it states that. Can you provide me with the article that outlines this, or where to look?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tim, The military provides service members with quarters or a housing allowance in lieu of quarters (called a Basic Housing Allowance, or BAH). When military members enter training and do not have dependents, such as a spouse or children, they are often put into military quarters, such as the barracks or dorms. If that is the case, then that counts as their housing benefit. They would not be eligible for BAH if they are residing in the barracks or dormitories.

      The DoD website has an FAQ page that states the following (emphasis mine):

      1. Who is eligible for BAH?

      A member assigned to permanent duty within the 50 United States, who is not furnished Gov’t housing, is eligible for 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 Gov’t 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 Gov’t housing overseas. (Source).

      Servicemembers who enter the military and have a rental or lease agreement are afforded the opportunity to opt-out of that lease agreement through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA. So if she has a legally binding rental agreement with you, she may be legally allowed to opt-out of the agreement through the SCRA.

      I hope this is helpful information in understanding her benefits.

      Best wishes to you both.

  10. Jonathan says

    Good Afternoon,
    my girlfriend and I are not married and have decided not to get married yet, but we are having a baby. She is at 24 weeks now. At what point will I be eligible for BAH and do I really need to have a custody agreement in order to receive BAH even if we are gonna be living together?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Michael, Congratulations on your wedding! I’m not sure of the exact process. But if they are telling you to get a lease, then they are probably trying to verify you are moving out of the barracks. It would be a good idea to speak with your supervisor or First Sergeant to verify how the process works so you can ensure you get BAH as soon as possible. Best wishes, and thank you for your service!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Taleshia, Thank you for contacting me. BAH is only for active duty service members. Veterans who are taking college courses with the Post-9/11 GI Bill are also eligible for a housing stipend based on the BAH rates. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  11. Juan says

    My girlfriend and I will be getting married after basic training and she will be attending MOS school. Will we be able to live together once we are married on or off base while at MOS school? Will she receive BAH?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Juan, Each situation is unique and I’m not familiar with the Army regulations or the specifics of her training course. I recommend your girlfriend speak with her base human resources office or finance office to find out what her options are. Best wishes to you and your fiance.

  12. Haley Jeter says

    My friend is pregnant by her boyfriend who is a marine. She just hit 20 weeks. Now that she is 20 weeks pregnant, isn’t he entitled to BAH?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Haley, I don’t know Marine policies regarding this – but generally, the member must be approved to live off base to be eligible for BAH. The Marine would need to work with his supervision and/or base finance office for approval to move off base if he doesn’t already have it.

      Best wishes.

  13. SM says

    Hello, I am active duty and my wife is National Guard not on orders. We just got a house and are moving in this month. Will our BAH still be my BAH with dependents and hers without dependents?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello SM,

      Your BAH will be your BAH rate with dependents. Your wife will not receive BAH while she is not on orders. When she is on orders she will either receive BAH Type II (for short orders), or her regular BAH rate while on longer orders. The member with the higher BAH rate will usually get the BAH with dependents rate and the person with the lower BAH will get the BAH rate without dependents.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  14. Bill Brush says

    Question: My son is an E3 at Fort Irwin. He should be promoted to E4 before year’s end. His mama (my wife) is a Philippine citizen and essentially incapable of caring for herself. I’ve had a number of surgeries recently, and at age 74, it seems my time is short. Will son’s mama be entitled to live with him either on-post in family housing, or considering the circumstances, become eligible for BAH? Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bill, thank you for your comment and I wish you the best of health.

      To answer your questions, in general, yes, adult parents would be allowed to live with their children in an on-base military housing if they are considered dependents of the servicemember. So, yes, it may be possible for her to live with them. But I’m not sure the exact process. Your son would need to contact his finance office for further information.

      I wish you and your family the best.

  15. stephanie says

    Hi Ryan, I moved to my husbands current duty station (CA) from our last duty station and am now having to move back to Oregon for my job. Is it possible to get BAH in Oregon since I will live there or does it stay at the rate where my husband is stationed? Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Stephanie, I believe your husband would receive BAH for his duty station. However, I recommend contacting his unit’s finance office for full details and to see if there are any options. Best wishes.

  16. Caleb Lassiter says

    Hello! I will be leaving for the Airforce in September. My girlfriend and I are planning on marrying at some point. Say we get married and I’m active duty, and she’s living out of state as a full-time student for college, will I still be able to get BAH and live off base, or at least get on-base housing, or will I still be in the dorms? How exactly would that work?

  17. Dmoney says

    If commanded Sponsored to Germany and live in Government leased housing and now spouse wants to move to the Philippines. What will happen to her OHA?
    Will I still receive OHA/BAH?
    Will OHA be for me or her because no on-post quarters are available?
    Will i no longer qualify for current government quarters?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dmoney, this is outside my scope of knowledge. I recommend taking this question to your finance or personnel office. They will be best able to assist you. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  18. Lee says

    Hello,

    I have a question about BAH. My spouse and I are station overseas in Germany (she is command sponsored) I have received orders to go to Fort Carson and she wants to stay her because of a a promotion.

    I understand she has to self sponsor with her job in order to live and work on Germany under SOFA. But she will not receive LQA or any other living allowances other the COLA. I plan on living in the barracks at Carson. Is she not authorized BAH because I’d live in the barracks?

    Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lee, this is a question for your finance department. They can assist you based on your specific situation. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  19. Marshall w. says

    I am active duty and getting single bah with dependent and I’m wondering should i be Getting bah where
    My dependent lives or
    Where i live

  20. Phillip says

    I’m currently Active Duty and want to go Reserve. Will my BAH change or will it be the same as if I was AD once I go into Reserves?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Phillip, If you go to a Reserve unit, your BAH will change to the BAH at your new location. If you are Active Reserves, you would receive full BAH. If you are a Traditional Reservist (one weekend a month, two weeks a year), you would receive BAH only when activated.

      You can use the BAH calculator to get a better idea of what your BAH will be if you change status. Your finance office can also help you with this.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  21. Aaron says

    hello sir,

    I got married in September 2017, and I haven’t been living with my wife since then because of her school, she has a really strict PhD program and the closest one that’s available is in Gainesville, FL. (I was stationed in GA btw). It never occurred to me to ask anyone till now if I should be getting some kind of partial bah for her or hardship pay since we don’t live together? My coworkers said I should be getting some kind of extra pay, but I went to finance to ask and they just shut me down right away. Just wondering if you have any resource I can use to look up my situation.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Aaron, I’m not sure. This is something that will need to be run through your finance office. You can contact your First Sergeant or someone else in your chain of command to assist you if the finance office isn’t helpful.

      You can also contact DFAS and ask them how the rules work in this instance. They may be able to point you to the correct reg and how to interpret it. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

      • Ed Svatos says

        You should be able to take your marriage license into the local finance office and start your Housing allowance (BAH). You and your wife do not have to be living together to draw this allowance.

  22. unknown says

    i just want to ask, since my husband and me got married last 2018 why his bah doesnt give to him? its been a year.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello, I recommend speaking with your husband’s finance or personnel/human resources office. They can help you with this matter. It is also required that the family members are added to his DEERS account (this is the system in which military dependents are added to a member’s military benefits).

      I wish you and your family the best.

  23. Catherine says

    My boyfriend (USCG) and I (civilian) do not currently live in the same state. We would like to get married before he goes to Bahrain. I obviously won’t go with him. Will he receive BAH for my zip code once he leaves?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Catherine, he should receive BAH for his duty station or his home of record if he does not live near his duty station (this typically applies to members of the Reserve component). He would only receive BAH for your zip code if that was his registered address. He can contact his finance department for more specific information about his BAH rates and what he will need to do to add you as a dependent in the DEERS system.

      Best wishes to you both on your upcoming marriage!

      • Ed Svatos says

        If you are stationed at a place where dependents are not authorized to go with you your BAH rate is based on where your dependents are living.

  24. Gee says

    Hello. I am in the process of enlisting into the national guard. Me, my wife and my son are living in a family house with her parents. We jointly contribute every month towards expenses and pay rent but technically we don’t have our names on the lease. Do we still qualify for BAH?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gee,

      You will qualify for BAH when you are on active duty. It won’t matter whether you live with someone else or if you have your own residence. You should still receive BAH while activated. You will not receive BAH when you are inactive. You can speak with your recruiter for more information on this topic, including what you need to do to register your family members in the DEERS system so you will be eligible for BAH.

      Best wishes on your coming enlistment!

  25. Gabby says

    My husband is in the army and we just got married a couple days ago. We didn’t get a chance to enroll me in DEERS and I am on my way back home to a different state. Will he still be able to collect BAH without me being enrolled to DEERS. Also, how would I be able to enroll on DEERS on a base near me without an escort?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gabby, I believe you will need to be enrolled in DEERS for your husband to be able to collect BAH with dependents rate.

      Contact your local base ID card issuing station for more information regarding whether or not you will need to have a sponsor to gain base access and be added to DEERS. I believe your husband will need to sign a form in advance. However, I am not certain of the specific process. They can help you.

      Locate the closest ID card issuing station.

      They can also help you know which information and forms of ID you will need to be added to DEERS. At the minimum, you will need your marriage license, a photo ID, your husband’s information (DOB, SSN, etc.), and possibly another form of ID, such as your social security card, passport, or something similar. Again, they can provide you with this information.

      More about getting a military ID Card.

      I wish you and your husband the best!

      • Crump says

        Hello Sir, i just want to find out if i’m qualified for bah and bas…
        i’m married but my wife and my son they live in another country and they are not US citizen yet. But i am trying to take care of their passport and they might be here in 8months… i was im basic training on nov 2019, since then i never recieve bah and i was station in washington. I was here on march and i recieve my bah on april 530$ then they just give me 30days to stay in the barracks. Or else they will take my bah… they started taking my bah this may. My Question is, how about november to march ? Are they still going to pay me back? My bah and bas… and i am allowed to live on bast housing even my wife and my son are now here yet… thank you so much

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Crump, This is a question you need to take up with your finance office. Are your family members in the DEERS system? This is required to have them listed as dependents. This is likely also required to be eligible for BAH and BAS.

        Some branches of the military may require junior ranking members to live in the dormitories if they do not have their dependents living with them.

        So I don’t have a good answer for you. You should speak with your personnel or finance office to ensure your dependents are listed in the DEERS system and that you are receiving all of the benefits you should be eligible to receive. They can also tell you what you need to do if you do not currently qualify for BAH.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  26. Jason says

    Me and my wife are enlisted. We recently got married and we are both shore duty. I am stationed in Jacksonville and she is stationed in California. We have a child. The child is living with her in CA until our Colo is finalized. I went on deployment in Feb 19. Should I be receiving BAH for my dependent location while deployed?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jason, I believe you should remain eligible for BAH while deployed. You should verify this with your finance office. Best wishes on your deployment, and stay safe!

  27. HH says

    BAH has change for my location last year. I’ve been in the Battalion for three years w/dependent pay. If I cchange it this year to w/o dependents will I get the w/o dependent rate from 2016 or the new one from 2018?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello HH, Thank you for your question. Military members are generally eligible for BAH rate protection, which protects the current BAH rate if future rates fall. However, this is only en effect so long as their status does not change. So if you go from with dependents to without dependents, you are no longer grandfathered into the previous BAH rates and will receive whichever rates are in effect at the time your status changes.

      You can confirm this with your finance office and verify what your new rates would be.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  28. Candice says

    My boyfriend is in the military and we are thinking about getting married soon , His duty station is in Hawaii and the cost of living is crazy . We are planning on getting off base housing , if we do will the military provide the deposit to the house or do we have to come up with that out of pocket ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Candice, the military will provide a monthly BAH allowance, which will start in the month you get married. You will not receive the first payment until the month after you are married (the same as with military pay; you receive payment after you do the work). The military does not specifically provide money for a deposit. You will have to provide the deposit from your paycheck or from the BAH you receive. I recommend having some savings set aside for startup costs, such as your rental deposit and any deposits for utilities, such as gas, electric, and water.

      You can also apply to live on base, which is much less expensive and is very nice housing. Living on base does not have to be a permanent situation – you can live there for a few months while getting settled, which will hopefully allow you to save a little money to be able to move off base.

      I hope this is helpful, and I wish you and your fiance the best!

  29. Zane says

    Me and my wife got married in January while she was finishing up rotc for the Army, I’m in the Marines we got an apartment in -between the time before she commissioned early May. I informed IPAC that my wife entreated the service and they told me I would be losing all BAH money and that I would have to fill out a BAH own right package. Is this correct? Really trying to get this fixed thank you

  30. Melissa says

    What paperwork do we need to submit in order to qualify for BAH? And does the apartment contract have to be under both of our names?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Melissa, In most cases, the member should automatically receive BAH if he or she has dependents listed in DEERS. I recommend visiting the base finance office for more information or to ensure everything is set up properly.

      Servicemembers generally don’t have to submit lease or rental contracts to receive BAH. However, members may have to do so in some overseas locations. Again, check with your base finance office.

      Best wishes.

  31. ryan says

    i will be at BMT next month. i’am single and have 2 children in the philippines. will i qualify for the BAH? thanks in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ryan, You generally need to be their primary caregiver in order to receive BAH. In addition, they would need to be listed as your dependents in the DEERS system. I would work with your recruiter in advance to ensure the paperwork is correct before you leave for BMT. Your recruiter should also be able to provide further information on this.

      Best wishes!

  32. gerald says

    on what form do you make the claim for BAH after a soldier dies? if there is no spouse do it go to the children? equal shares?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Gerald, I’m sorry to hear about this situation.

      This is outside my area of expertise. I recommend contacting the base finance office. They should help the survivors understand their benefits, how the final pay is distributed, and how any survivor benefits will be paid.

      The survivors can often find the base finance office contact information on the base website or directory. If that doesn’t work, I recommend contacting the base operator or base information line. They should be able to provide the information.

      I hope this points you in the right direction.

  33. Eli Field says

    Married with kids. National guard on active duty for training for 123 days. I am living in barracks. Do we get bah or not?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Eli, Confirm this with your finance office. I believe you should be eligible for BAH, since you have dependents. For example, if you were to go TDY, they would pay you BAH, and they would cover the cost of your living expenses, whether that would be a hotel, barracks, etc. I’m not sure how this works if you are at home station and they put you up in housing. But I believe you should still get BAH since you have dependents.

      Yout finance office should be able to explain your benefits and provide which reg is applicable.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  34. Reyna says

    My husband and I are both Navy reservists without any children. He was recently mobilized for a 10 month deployment to a hazardous area. Since I am still drilling as a reservist while he is considered active duty do we count as dual military? He is receiving BAH w/o a dependent even though I count as a dependent for everything else now (like Tricare and in DEERS). We are also receiving FSH. If that is incorrect then who would I talk to? He doesn’t have access to make phone calls so I have to figure out most of it by myself.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Reyna, So far as I am aware, your husband should be receiving BAH with dependents rate because you are a dependent and you are in DEERS. You can visit the finance or personnel office and have them take care of this. They should be able to make the change retroactive to the date he went on active duty orders.

      I don’t know if you would count as dual military as far as BAH is concerned since you are not currently activated. So far as I am aware, this should be classified as Bah with dependent rate.

      Best wishes!

  35. Lexy says

    My boyfriend and I want to get married but I live in Washington state and he is serving in southern California. Could we still get BAH to live in Washington state?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lexy, the military will provide BAH for the member at his or her duty location. If you are a civilian, then your boyfriend would receive BAH for his duty location in southern CA. If you are both in the military, then you may both be eligible for BAH at your respective duty locations. Best wishes!

  36. Dana says

    My spouse is Active Duty Army. My kids and I went to Korea with him and lived on post. My kids and I came back states after an ERD was approved. His command is saying my spouse is only entitled to BAH II. I have read AT 608-99 but it doesn’t completely explain our situation. Side note….we are NOT legally separated and there is no court order. He sent us home and quit financially supporting us all together.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dana, This is outside my area of expertise. If you are still in the DEERS system as a dependent, then you can go to the closest military installation and speak with the finance office or other customer service office. They can look up the situation and help you understand what the benefits currently are and if they should be different. I wish you and your family the best.

  37. Coach says

    hello, i leave to BMT next month, i pay my parents rent to help with the mortgage, do i qualify for BAH ??

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Coach, You generally only qualify for BAH if you have dependents when you join the military, such as a wife or child(ren). Otherwise, you will receive housing in the base dormitories. Your previous or current obligations don’t influence your ability to receive BAH when you join the military. You can discuss this in more detail with your recruiter.

  38. Alan says

    I leave May 28th for BMT with the Airforce and my recruiter told me I would be getting BAH. I am considered single w/ a child(dependent). He said since I was entered into the DEERs system w/ a dependent I would be entitled BAH. I’ve read multiple different answers online on whether or not I would be getting BAH while not being married. Just looking for some confirmation, thanks!

    I am listed as his primary caregiver, if that matters as well.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Alan, Your recruiter should be correct – you should receive BAH if you have a dependent listed in the DEERS system. The dependent does not have to be a spouse, it can be a child.

      Best wishes at BMT!

  39. Chris says

    I’m in the Marines and my wife and I just got married. But she’s not a resident or a U.S citizen. Can she still be allowed to live with me on base? And get BAH?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chris, You will need to speak with your personnel office, or whoever handles the DEERS enrollment process (DEERS is the system that enters dependents into the military system for ID cards and benefits such as TRICARE). They will let you know what steps you need to take to get her enrolled, and how to get her an ID card.

      Here is how to enroll a dependent in DEERS.

      BAH is paid to the military member, no to the spouse. But yes, you would most likely qualify for BAH once you get your wife registered in DEERS.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  40. King says

    What if my name is on a lease for an apartment in another state, will i be able to get BAH even though I do not “technically” live there ? i.e, I own a home in Cali but is stationed at Fort Benning, GA.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello King, Your BAH is based on your permanent duty station. BAH does not take into account previous leases, mortgages, or other housing arrangements. If you have a lease in another location, you should be able to break that lease if you receive PCS orders. There is a provision in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) that provides for this. You should see your JAG for more information. The SCRA does not, however, have similar provisions to break a mortgage. If you PCS when you have a mortgage you should either sell the home or rent it out. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  41. Troy says

    If you PCS in December to a location and its BAH is going down in Jan, what rate will you get? Can you arrive 31 Dec and still get BAH rate protection?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Troy, From what I understand, yes, you get BAH rate protection so long as you were receiving BAH in that area before the rates changed.

      That said, you should confirm this with your finance office. They will be able to provide you with a firm answer.

      There may be other factors that come into play as well. For example, if you are receiving a temporary housing allowance, but not BAH. So definitely verify with your finance office.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  42. Oliver Closeoff says

    How are BAH rates decided? Specifically, if I a coming from an overseas assignment in transit to school (meaning I don’t have housing) ‘What will be the BAH rate location deciding factor’?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Oliver, are you asking how they will decide which BAH rate you will have at your school? If so, I can’t answer that, as it will depend on several factors including the duration of your school, whether you are on or off-base, what your orders state, and possibly other factors. You should direct this question to your personnel/HR office, and/or finance office. One of these offices should be able to help you understand what is written on your orders and what your BAH rate will be.

  43. Jason says

    My son hasn’t received his BAH for this month and his rent is due. He is in the field for training. What can be done?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jason, He needs to work with his First Sergeant or his finance office for pay issues. As for making his rent while he is in field training, I recommend he contact his landlord to explain the situation and explain he is unable to make the payment today, but he will make it as soon as possible.

  44. Tim says

    If a service member is single with a baby and moves out of Navy housing to go on Cruise, do they get to keep BAH while on cruise?

  45. Stella says

    Hi, how does the BAH work if the spouse is deployed to a different state than the one we live and there is no intend to follow?

  46. Khandice Fortenberry says

    How is BAH paid for the month of december and January? I understand they dont pay for the winter break, do they pay before winter break and then start back up mid January?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Khandice, BAH is paid out on a prorated basis while the student is attending college. So if the student is attending college for the first two weeks of the month, they will receive a proportional amount of BAH for that time. (All months are based on 30 days, so you can determine the daily amount of BAH by dividing the monthly amount by 30). BAH is paid out on the same schedule as you would normally receive it for that time period.

  47. Alex Ratledge says

    Can you get some of your bah reduced if your house is constantly falling apart I’ve had 2 toilets break had multiple ac unit issues and the roof fall in from heavy rain I’m literally on the phone with maintenance every week

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Alex, Thank you for your question.

      BAH is set by law. I am not aware of any way to have it reduced. I would look into the terms of your lease or rental contract and see if there is a way to get out of it to find another house or apartment. You can work with your base legal department to see if they can assist you with this.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Renee, No, you should not lose your BAH.

      BAH is based on the military member’s rate, with dependents or without dependents.

      The with dependents rate will be the same whether you have one or more dependents. So the BAH rate will not change if a child goes away to college, provided there is still at least one more dependent living in the home (non-military spouse, another child, or another qualified dependent).

      I hope this is helpful and I wish you and your family the best.

      • Jessica Espana says

        How long does the BAH paperwork take and how long before you recieve the check ?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Jessica,

        BAH paperwork can be processed within a few days if everything is handled correctly the first time. Payments usually begin within one or two pay cycles, depending on when the paperwork has been submitted and accepted by the system.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Bryce says

      I am a retiree currently attending school full time, and taking advantage of my without dependent, E-5 BAH from the Post 9/11 GI Bill. If I marry an active duty member, will my spouse still receive w/ dependent BAH rate even though I am getting BAH through the GI Bill? Or will I no longer qualify for BAH since I am married to a military member receiving BAH? In other words, will I continue to receive w/o dependent E-5 BAH being married to an active duty member receiving w/ dependent BAH? How does that work?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Bryce,

        The VA website states, “Active duty members and spouses of active duty members using transferred entitlement cannot receive the Housing Allowance benefit, but Veterans, their spouses and dependents can receive the benefit.”

        My understanding is that you would continue to be able to receive the housing allowance while attending school, since this is the benefit you earned, as it was not transferred to you.

        I also believe your spouse would be able to receive the BAH with dependents rate if you get married. These are not exclusionary benefits in this instance. They would only cancel out if you were married to a military member who transferred the benefits to you.

        That said, this is my understanding. It wouldn’t hurt to verify with the VA customer service line.

        I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

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