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.
Advertising Disclosure.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

The Military Wallet has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Military Wallet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on The Military Wallet are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear, but does not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations. The Military Wallet does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

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. 

About Post Author

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Reader Interactions

Leave A Comment:


About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

The Military Wallet is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither The Military Wallet nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on The Military Wallet is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on The Military Wallet should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at The content offered on The Military Wallet is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.

Advertising Notice: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet; For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked and this compensation may affect how, where and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on The Military Wallet may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of  The Military Wallet.