Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates for 2019 rose by an average of 2.55 percent, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) announced. The new BAH rates, intended to offset the out-of-pocket housing costs service members must pay when on-base housing is unavailable, took effect Jan. 1. An estimated one million service members are projected to collect roughly $21 billion in BAH this year.
The allowance is calculated so that each eligible service member would absorb five percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. These expenses could range from $66 to $149 per month. The agency calculates BAH by collecting housing-cost data from more than 300 military housing areas in the U.S. each year. Rent and average utility costs factor significantly, as do six different housing profiles that vary depending upon the type of dwelling and number of bedrooms in a given residence. Different rates apply for service members with and without dependents.
Rates are determined so that service members who make long-term lease commitments are not penalized if BAH happens to decline from year to year. A BAH calculator is available online at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.