The Department of
Defense released the 2019 Basic Allowance for Housing rates today. BAH
rates will increase an average of 2.55 percent when the new rates take effect
on January 1, 2019. An estimated $21 billion will be paid to
approximately one million service members.
The 2019 BAH program expands the member cost-sharing element (out-of-pocket
expense) while continuing to balance the growth in compensation costs.
Based on the authority provided in the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization
Act, the cost-sharing element was increased to five percent. For 2019,
a typical member will need to absorb five percent of the national average
housing cost by pay grade. The out-of-pocket amounts incorporated in the 2019
BAH rates vary by grade and dependency status and range from $66 to $149
monthly. This rate computation change balances the growth of certain
military pay and benefits in a fair, responsible, and sustainable way. Even
with these nominal changes, the overall military pay and benefits package
remains robust and healthy.
Housing cost data are collected annually for more than 300 military housing
areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Cooperation
from the services and local military housing offices is an important part of
the BAH process. Input from local commands is used to determine in
which neighborhoods data is collected and to direct the data collection
effort toward adequate apartment complexes and individual housing units.
Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity,
heat, and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military
housing area and are included in the BAH computation. Total housing costs are
developed for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of
bedrooms) in each military housing area. Basic Allowance for Housing rates
are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.
Individual rate protection is an important part of the BAH process. No
matter what happens to measured housing costs - including the out-of-pocket
adjustment, an individual member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility
in a given location will not see his or her BAH rate decrease. This
ensures members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or
contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease.
The Department is committed to preserving a compensation and benefit
structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living
to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and in the future.
For more information on Basic Allowance for Housing, including the 2019 Basic
Allowance for Housing rates and 2019 Basic Allowance for Housing rate
component breakdown, visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm.
Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the Basic Allowance
for Housing calculator at: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.