The American military provides for a number of benefits to those brave men and women who defend our country. Benefits include everything from medical insurance, educational support and housing assistance. Service members are provided government quarters or a cash substitute when quarters are not available to them. In offering housing assistance, a stipend called the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), is used. Nearly one million service men and women stationed in the United States receive BAH. This benefits helps military personnel and their families live in safe and affordable housing. Not everyone is eligible for BAH and depending on a number of factors this part of the military pay package may vary.
Determining Which Housing Stipend
The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is based on pay grade,marital status, number of dependents, and on the geographic of a military member’s duty location. There are different types of housing allowances or stipends. The BAH II covers troops in transit or those who are reservists. The BAH II Differential covers those military members who live on base and pay child support. Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) covers the cost of temporary housing outside of the continental U.S. when a service member is moving from or to an overseas duty station. The Temporary Housing Expense (TLE) covers living expenses while a soldier is in the beginning and end of moves within the continental U.S. Ten days is generally the limit. If a soldier lives overseas, the Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) applies.
Qualifying for the BAH
Since the BAH is based on factors such as grade, dependency status and duty location, a military member will have to be first assigned to a permanent duty location that is within the continental U.S. Once assigned, the military member must be either assigned to governmental housing. If not assigned, the military member is eligible for BAH.
Since military personnel receive a housing allowance when government quarters are not available, the fact that a soldier has family must be taken into consideration. If a duty location cannot provide for housing for the service man or woman and their family, the military is eligible for BAH.
While full time miltiary are allowed to claim BAH, reservists and students may be eligible as well. For reservists, they must be in active status and still have civilian obligations for housing. Veterans, National Guard members, or members of Selected Reserve, who are full time students, are also eligible for BAH under Post 9-11 GI Bill. These military members, regardless of rank, are eligible as long as post 9-11 service is confirmed and they are in not in online only or taking less than a full academic load.
Further, since all service people are entitled to housing, consideration is given to all classes of military personnel; however, if the person is without dependents, single, and assigned to a specific location that can accommodate their housing, then that member is not eligible for a BAH. This military person will be offered housing in base barracks and dorms.
For those personnel living overseas, the BAH equivalent is the OHA. Similar criteria are taken into consideration when a military member is stationed outside of the continental U.S.
The purpose of the BAH program is to provide equitable housing options to service members and /or their families. With this mission of providing fair housing options, the BAH applies in specific circumstances. In cases in which soldiers that can be provided on-base or duty station, these military members are ineligible for this housing stipend.
For more information on BAH and housing policies in the military, check out the following links: