Stateside housing allowances to rise an average of 2.4 percent
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to a million servicemembers living off base in the United States will climb an average of 2.4 percent, or about $41 a month, on Jan. 1. Actual increases for individual BAH recipients will vary by Military Housing Area, pay grade and dependency status.
For a third straight year, BAH adjustments will not quite keep pace with the average rise in rent and utility costs, as the Department of Defense sticks to a five-year plan to trim the cost of stateside housing allowances gradually. The dampening of rates will continue until 2019 when recipients will be paying 5 percent of their off-base rental expenses out of pocket.
The 3 percent member “cost share” in 2017 will leave rates short of covering average rent and utility costs by a range of $37 to $85 a month, depending on individual circumstance, officials explained.
The impact on individuals will vary depending on housing choices. Those who rent a median-priced property will pay a small amount above their BAH rate, officials explained. “Members who choose to economize in their housing choices may have all their housing expenses covered.”
Many years ago, when BAH was first established for setting stateside housing allowances, rates covered only 80 percent of members’ rental costs. Congress gradually phased out that 20 percent cost-sharing formula. From 2005 until 2014, BAH was sustained high enough to cover full rental costs.
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