How the Military’s New Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) Works

Military members and families below certain income thresholds will begin receiving a basic needs allowance (BNA) in 2023. Here's your guide to BNA eligibility, income limits and the application process.
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basic-needs-allowance(U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Thomas Karol)

Some military service members will begin receiving a Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) in 2023, according to a new Sept. 22, 2022 memo from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.   

In the memo, Austin directed the Department of Defense to kick off several new initiatives to improve service members’ financial situation, including BAH increases, lower commissary prices and improved access to childcare. 

Eligible service members will also receive a new basic needs allowance (BNA) on Jan. 1, 2023.

Table of Contents
  1. What Is the Basic Needs Allowance?
    1. Who Gets the Basic Needs Allowance?
  2. How Much Is the Basic Needs Allowance? 
  3. 2022 Basic Needs Allowance Charts
    1. 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines for the Continental United States
    2. 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines for Alaska
    3. 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii
  4. How to Apply for BNA
    1. Check Back for Updates!

What Is the Basic Needs Allowance?

The BNA is a new, taxable allowance that will boost the gross household income of eligible active duty service members to 130% of the federal poverty level, according to a DOD fact sheet on the new program.

Who Gets the Basic Needs Allowance?

DOD will use Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines to determine annual BNA payment thresholds. These federal guidelines vary according to household size and location. Different rates apply to service members living in the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii.

How Much Is the Basic Needs Allowance? 

BNA rates will vary according to service member income. The new allowance is an income supplement to increase service members’ income to 130% of the federal poverty guidelines.

So, if a service member’s income is $500 below 130% of federal poverty guidelines, their BNA would cover that $500 difference.

2022 Basic Needs Allowance Charts

BNA payments don’t begin until January 2023. The federal government’s 2023 poverty guidelines will determine individual allowances. 

Here are the 2022 federal poverty guidelines to give you an idea of how next year’s BNA thresholds might look.

2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines for the Continental United States

Household SizeFederal Poverty Guideline130% Federal Poverty Guideline
One Person$13,590$17,667
Two People$18,310$23,803
Three People$23,030$29,939
Four People$27,750$36,075
Five People$32,470$42,211
Six People$37,190$48,347
Seven People$41,910$54,483
Eight People$46,630$60,619
Each Additional Person (Over Eight People)$4,720$6,136

2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines for Alaska

Household SizeFederal Poverty Guideline130% Federal Poverty Guideline
One Person$16,990$22,087
Two People$22,890$29,757
Three People$28,790$37,427
Four People$34,690$45,097
Five People$40,590$52,767
Six People$46,490$60,437
Seven People$52,390$68,107
Eight People$58,290$75,777
Each Additional Person (Over Eight People)$5,900$7,670

2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines for Hawaii

Household SizeFederal Poverty Guideline130% Federal Poverty Guideline
One Person $15,630 $20,319
Two People $21,060 $27,378
Three People $26,490 $34,437
Four People $31,920 $41,496
Five People $37,350 $48,555
Six People $42,780 $55,614
Seven People $48,210 $62,673
Eight People $53,640 $69,732
Each Additional Person (Over Eight People) $5,900 $7,670

How to Apply for BNA

Like most other allowances, service members must initiate paperwork to apply for the BNA. 

All branches of service will begin accepting applications in December 2022. 

You must provide tax statements and other paperwork to prove your gross household income is below the 130% guideline. Your gross household income includes income from all sources, including your spouse’s paycheck.

Allowance payments begin Jan 1. 2023, but you won’t receive BNA until your branch of service approves your application. If you qualify for the allowance, you should apply as soon as your service opens the application process. You can only receive BNA from the date the application is approved. 

Check Back for Updates!

We’ll publish more details on the BNA application process, income requirements and payment details as they become available. 

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About Teresa Tennyson

Teresa Tennyson is a retired army officer who served in several countries in the Middle East. As an Arabic lingual and cultural specialist, her assignments included combat deployments and a diplomatic tour.

Tennyson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University. She earned her master’s degree in business administration with a finance certificate from UCLA.

Tennyson lives in New Hampshire with her dog and two cats. When she’s not writing about finance, she’s probably hiking or woodworking.

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