What is Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

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The military loves its acronyms.  It’s no wonder why.  Many times the titles of facilities, benefits, and programs are incredibly wordy and sometimes don’t make sense.  If you ask many newer or younger military personnel or their family members what many acronyms stand for, they wouldn’t be able to tell you.  BAH is no different.  The basic allowance for housing is something that every military member receives.  It’s something that every military member depends on.

What’s Basic Allowance for Housing?

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a stipend that’s paid out in active duty members’ paycheck.  Every service member gets it.  Period.  Most people consider it to be part of their salary since, without it, it would be seriously difficult to make ends meet.

Who Gets Basic Allowance for Housing?

So we’ve already established that everyone gets it.  However, there are circumstances where it’s reduced or completely held.  How could that be?  Easy.  First, it’s completely held in lower enlisted ranks where the service member is required to live in the barracks.  Since the government provides them a place to live, why would they also allot them funding for housing?

Another instance is when a military member and their family choose to live in on-post housing.  On post housing traditionally costs as much as BAH, so you can kind of think of it as paying the government for the house.  Now that some on post housing is privatized and more and more people choose to live off post, lots of on post housing is offered at a discount.  This means they only take a portion of your BAH.

So How Much is Basic Allowance for Housing?

BAH is awarded on a scale depending on the service member’s rank, time in service, and whether or not they have a family.  So a married private who’s been in for 1 year earns a different BAH than a single captain that’s been on active duty for 5 years.  Basic Allowance for Housing also changes depending on where you’re located.  The cost of living is always taken into consideration.  And thank goodness for that.  We all know a home in rural Kansas costs less than one in a suburb of Seattle. You can look up what your BAH would be in your area at this website.

What is Basic Allowance for Housing


18 thoughts on “What is Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

  1. Yesss thank you for the info! I feel like it’s so important to be able to find this before joining so you can be educated! And also to stay up-to-date on info as the career progresses.

  2. I don’t know much about the workings of the military, but I’m enjoying learning more. I hope that the BAH is as helpful as it is meant to be.

  3. Yes, without BAH we would really be struggling here in San Diego. It is very important and allows for our son to be in a great school and great community.

  4. Thanks for providing us a window into your world. House ownership is important is a basic need which every one must have access to. It is important that our military members are afforded access given the yeoman service they provide for the nation.

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