Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAH)

BAH is an allowance that is non-taxable to help offset the cost of housing when government-provided housing is not received. Your amount of your BAH will depend on where you are located, your pay grade and whether or not you have dependents. Rates for BAH are based on the geographic location’s rental property costs for that area. Understanding that BAH rates in high-cost areas will obviously be much more than those in lower-cost areas. For awareness, BAH is designed to offset 95% of your housing expenses with the expectation that the other 5% will be paid out of pocket by the member.

For most, you will receive BAH for the assigned duty location, which may not necessarily be where you live. If you reside away from your dependents, there may be additional BAH amounts that you will be entitled to as well. These situations are usually involving times where the member is on an overseas unaccompanied tour, or if the member has a dependent child that lives with a former spouse. There are a lot of rules that are considered within these situations, making them complex many times. Your local Finance Office will be able to assist you through any of these situations.

Here are some of the different types of BAH:

BAH With and Dependents and BAH Without Dependents
A service member that is at a permanent duty within the 50 United States, when government housing is not available, is eligible for BAH, or Basic Allowance for Housing. BAH is based on the member’s dependency status at the permanent duty ZIP Code. A member who is stationed overseas, including U.S. protectorates, who is not provided with government housing, is eligible for OHA or Overseas Housing Allowance based on the dependency status of a member. Now, if a service member is assigned an overseas tour that is UNACCOMPANIED, then, that member will be given the “with dependents” rate. This is calculated on the US residence where the dependent will be AND the member will also receive the “without dependents” rate for OHA, where the member doesn’t get overseas government housing.

Partial BAH
Partial BAH is given as an entitlement to a member without dependents who is living in government quarters.

BAH Reserve Component/Transit (BAH RC/T)
For members in particular circumstances, you can get BAH RC/T.. An example would be any reservists on active duty for 30 or fewer days. It will also apply when a service member is going from selected areas where there was no BAH rate, for example, being overseas. This does not vary by geographic location. BAH RC/T was derived from the old BAQ, or Basic Allowance for Quarters, which was based on the national average for housing. The BAH RC/T is published annually, as it gets calculated from the national average growth of housing costs from the rates of previous years.

BAH-Differential (BAH-Diff)
A special housing allowance is the BAH-Diff. This is for a member who is assigned to single-type quarters AND the member is authorized a basic allowance for housing only for the reason of the member’s child support payment. However, if the monthly rate of that child support is less than the BAH-Diff, then the member is not entitled to the BAH-Diff. SECDEF determines the BAH-diff and it was equal to the difference between the BAQ with dependents rate and the BAQ without dependents rate back in 1997 for the member’s grade. The BAH-Diff is published annually, as it gets calculated from the previous rates of military basic pay. For more information contact your Finance Office.

The basic regulation for BAH is the DODFMR Volume 7A, Chapter 26.

For more information about BAH and rates, visit the Defense Travel Management Office website Basic Housing Allowance.

You can check out how BAH rates are determined and so much more at BAH Primer.

Military Pay & Entitlements Series
1. Introduction
2. Basic Pay
3. Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) – Food Allowance
4. Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAH) – Housing Allowance
5. Common Deductions
6. How to Read Your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES)
7. Uniform and Clothing Allowances
8. Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)
9. Special and Incentive Pays
10. Additional Special and Incentive Pays
11. Overseas or Station Allowance
12. PCS and Travel
13. Special Situations

Military Pay & Entitlements Series – Printable Version of the Whole Series

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