Cutting BAH? Let’s Not Lose Our Minds

cuts scissors

By now you’ve probably read the articles circulating in our community that mention that congress is looking at cutting BAH benefits to help meet the budget reduction for DoD. Of course, my first reaction was one of alarm and concern.

I immediately read all I could, and even looked to the insight of my fellow spouses for a similar concern and ideas for solutions. I was floored by what I read. Was there a general agreement that BAH needed to stay just the way it is? Was there a collective cry of angst and a sharing of challenges that we have all felt from time to time?

No, what I saw was a cut-throat free-for-all with everyone pointing fingers and lining up to recommend who to fire or which programs to cut.  I may be the only one that feels this way, but I felt a need to address some of the worst of what I read.

1. BAH is benefit…an increasing benefit with time service and career progression. So no, an E-5 should not get the same pay as an O-5. That’s like saying the shift manager at your favorite retail store should be making as much as the Regional VP. How does that make sense? The average E-5 has served for 4 1/2 years…the average O5, a minimum of 11. And that doesn’t even take into account the financial and leadership responsibilities of both positions.

I’ll say it again, BAH is an increasing benefit that comes when you do your duty, serve your country, and advance in your career. Benefits and pay for a new solider are nothing to shake a stick at. But you have to earn what you get. You can’t expect to be treated like you work at the top of the chain your first day on the job.

2. No, BAH should not be configured base on the number of kids you have. I’m sorry that as a family of eight you are having a hard time making ends meet. The thing is, the same thing would be true if you didn’t have the security and benefits of a job in the military.

My guess is that in the civilian world it would be just as hard, if not harder. It sucks. I get that. I remember how hard it was to make my budget work when I had three kids in diapers. But we figured it out. We sacrificed the dinners out and waited to buy the things we wanted but didn’t need. You don’t get to take a bigger piece of the pie just because you can successfully procreate.

3. Firing all of the “lazy” civilians on post will not solve the problem. First of all, not all civilians are lazy. There are good and bad apples in all career fields. Please don’t lump them all together. Second, many of those civilians are veterans or military spouses. Let’s not cut off our noses to spite our faces, folks.

And even if they are not directly related to the military, civilians are still our fellow Americans. Are we really okay with saying that we deserve a job and stability more than they do?

That’s a pretty scary thought. While our country needs us, we need them as well. As much as we like to think we are self-sufficient, there is not a single one of us that doesn’t rely on our non-military community. I am proud of our Armed Services, but I am just as proud of all the other hard-working Americans out there.

4. Cutting all the programs that you personally don’t use also doesn’t solve the problem. What seems like a waste to you might be necessary and vital to someone else. Are there possibly programs that could be looked at for cutting or downsizing? Maybe.

But the truth is, many, many, so many of these programs are already feeling the pinch of budget cuts. Many, if not all of the services, had already begun cutting budgets and downsizing long before the word sequestration made it into our daily vocabulary. And for every person who says the program isn’t needed, I can find another who insists it is.

There is no quick, easy, painless solution to this problem. We are all going to have to give a little…and it’s going to hurt some, no matter what we do. It will take a little creativity, a whole lot of work, and a greater sense of obligation to our community as a whole to find a viable solution.

 Veronica Jorden is an Air Force brat, former soldier, and proud Army spouse of almost 15 years. She volunteers her time with the Military Spouse Business Association, the Red, White & Blue Pages, and has recently started her own editing and design company focused on independently publishing writers. She lives with her husband and three children in the greater Washington D.C. area.

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110 Comments on "Cutting BAH? Let’s Not Lose Our Minds"

  1. Jacey,

    Yes, not all civilians are lazy and we must never lump their work ethic together. My husband has worked with some AMAZING civilians and has respected their experience and expertise. However, when it comes to civilian employment, its not about fairness. Business is business. If there are civilian jobs in the DOD which could be preformed by military, then the better business strategy would be to cut the civilians. Why? Because we do not have to pay military overtime and there is more accountability for performance in military. This means the job will get done! Furthermore, this prevents the massive reduction to our forces. If we gut our forces before civilians, we will be much vulnerable in the time of war. We can always civilian in the time of war, we can't hire a E6.

    • Every civilian the Army reduces means that that job goes undone or a Soldier does it. When I joined in 1976, the Army end strength was 782k+, and we could afford to have Soldiers working in the finance offices, the transportation office and the in processing stations. There were jobs (MOS's) in the Army that supported that. There was even a specialty for Recreation assistant and Club Manager. During the intervening years, the Army, in the throes of budget reductions and personnel RIFs went from that post VN war high to 479k+ in 1999. We are now at 570K (Sept 2011) and reducing to below 500k by the end of 2014. The Army cannot operate without civilian contractors to perform maintenance on the facilities and equipment owned by the military. We just do not have enough Soldiers to do it. Anyone who says different is sugar coating the truth and hoodwinking the American public. We are overtasked and undermanned, and continually under the microscope to do everything better, faster and, oh by the way, at the last minute (thanks to email and smartphones). Not everyone in the military gets BAH. Only those who cannot get or are not eligible for on post housing. If you live in Military Housing your BAH is confiscated to pay "Rent" on the house you are assigned by the military.

      • Well stated…..for possible a person who works as or for a contractor. I grew up on a mite base and have been I intimately involved with the base in the intervening years. While part of what you say is right, the rest is pure crap. Basically you are saying the the military can’t survive without civilian contractors which is basic garbage. Most realized that they were losing their I situational memory learned during Vietnam so they started bringing back some of those as instructors and sqt developers. The rest(housing, gate guards, maintenance personal, base facility engineers, private overseeing of housing and basic base functions all have actually made the military dumber. We now take civilians into war zones doing the function that have always been done by the soldiers themselves. There is no more pride in living on base, housing u its are now supersede by branch of service and MOS. Military police live in one area, airborne in another, engineers in another etc, etc. They don’t .keep their own grass and there is no sense of community. As a dependent if I did something wrong away from home I was corrected on the spot by whoever was there and by the time I got back to my dads quarters, he already knew what had happened and why. That doesn’t happen anymore. Isolated and operated and no pride either in the quarters comma ity or of the post itself. I’ve been around and in the military for 53 years and I’ve seen the changes and they are NOT good. We’re not helped by so called social engineering and it dies no one any good to have all the civilians doing what the military should be doing. My father was a civil service worker for 15 years but he was also career military and retired after 20. We discussed this a lot and his take after getting his degrees was that sooner or later our military would stop functions as an entity and actually become more of a SOF type military where there would be more contractors than soldiers in a war zone. Its coming and there is nothing that will stop it because the military is looked at as a cash cow for retired, civilians and communities.

      • Did you think I was saying get rid of civilians completely? NO WAY! I guess I should have been more specific… But… If you are looking at getting rid of personnel, its a better business strategy to get rid of the civilian and replace the position with a troop (assuming they are in the same field)…. Now, we obviously cannot to that with all civilian jobs… I am no dummy! But, troops can do more than you think! And lets start by getting our MP's back at the gate!

        • So you support our Soldiers having even longer work days to include weekends and devoting more time to non-mission essential activities and taskings? That's how it used to be (in the "good old days").

    • I find it so funny that people are saying that we need to get rid of the contractractors to save money, when just 15 years ago that they were drawing down the military and replacing military bodies with contractors to "Save Money"…. The argument was that you could pay a contractor big bucks, but that in the long run it would be cheaper because you wouldnt have to pay all the medical and eventual retirement pay. Well now here we are and that contractor position is pretty perminant, and those big bucks are getting paid with no end in sight. Honestly, I bet that you could pay a new recruit who stays in for four years and gets out to do most of the same jobs as that contractor and save a lot of money…. But that's just my two cents….

      • I agree with A LOT of the points on this post alone. Most of the times the civilians are retired military (who I respect) but, are double dipping while out of retirement (such as the TSP) or "created" the job so they can have it once they retire. One of the easiest things we can do is to bring the jobs back to the military. We can cut our own grass and secure our own gates. Reduce our force reduction cuts or don't let them happen and bring our jobs back to us. Will I hate cutting grass at Lejeune during August? yes. Will I tell my E6 no? Definitely not. I do agree that some type of Civilian redundancy should exist due to transfers and what not but, most of the jobs can be handled by military personnel with Oversight.

    • Why do our representatives never take a decrease in benefits? They spend less time on the job and get less done always making more money. What's up with that?

    • Thank you Tiffany. And to add to that most of the Civilians are retired Military and it's not like they will be without ANY money to live off of, some of them are doing pretty good and they don't really have to work.

  2. Civ pay is less than 5% of DoD budget. Cutting civilians won’t even begin to deal declining budget flexibility. Cutting infrastructure and better acquisition policies would free up funds to absorb reductions to planned increases.

  3. Awesome post- completely on target. Thank you for explaining to others the facts of the matter that are often overlooked.

  4. Why are my posts immediately deleted? Am I blacklisted?

    • It does that to me all the time. I think sometimes a word will get it held up for moderation and I think they are just having some problems with the system. I know I'm not blacklisted since it does work most the time now, but it's frustrating to try and comment and nothing happens.

    • jacey_eckhart | August 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |

      Anon–you are not at all blacklisted. If you are trying to reply using your cell phone we have had trouble with the system and they are working that out. Our system also pulls a comment for moderation if you link to certain websites or use an expletive (we don't catch 'em all). Also, sometimes it pulls comments randomly for moderation just to see if we are paying attention.

  5. Spot on!

  6. lilredbobcat | August 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |

    Couldn’t have said it better!!!!

  7. As an army brat vet and disabled vet i wholeheartedly agree. Lets take a few positins here and just see what is going on.
    We hired gate guards to man the entrances to military post who are paid a wage and have benefits including retirement-yet we have military police who are trained and BEING trained to do just this function. Growing up on a military base having military police at the gates you KNEW they were their for your protection.
    Grass trying and clean up was done by the soldiers who were being disciplined and facility engineers. The base never looked overgrown and really. Road work was done by the engineers who laid asphalt, cleared snow, and provided maintenance. That was what the military was and still is training them to do. Doctors where military officers who bones their skills and provided the best care available anywhere. Now they are civilian contractors with poor care and little affected for trips and family members. All of this during the height of the Vietnam war! So tell me, how is that now most ofttth jobs we train our troops to do are being done by contractors and we’re saving money? That’s crap! You don’t save money by training troops to do a job yet the job that they should be doing is actually being done by civilians now. Get a grip and see it for what it is, a massive way to get more contractors jobs at the expense of readiness and training.

    • YES ^^^^ Couldn't have said it better.

    • Joe,
      While I have never served in the Army I have been in the Air Force for 10 years. I agree with your post because I remeber having to clean up the grounds after getting in trouble and watching my fellow Airmen do the same because of me. Today you can't have someone doing anything as a punishment. The miliatry has become soft to a point. I was talking with my parents who both served and they were telling me they remember a time that the gates could close and function completely because it was run by military members. Durring my tour in Korea I couldn't use the Commissary, Dining Facility, and service was slow in the BX because the Koreans were all off for the holiday. I think civilian employment is a necessary part of the the military but the base shouldn't shut down if they weren't available for whatever reason.

      • Finally someone who totally gets it. Yes the military has gotten soft and girly. Military bases should be able yo close down completely and still function normally. At this point that cant happen and anyone who thinks otherwise is just fooling themselves the

  8. Eliminating baseline budgeting will alleviate the problem.

  9. As an Army vet, I have seen the government spend lots of unessary money that should not have been spent…BAH on the other hand should not be given to E4 and E5 who are single and have no dependents. When I went in the military we had two wars going on and at the time with all the soldiers coming in, there was not a lot of room in the barracks. Now with cut backs and the wars ending, BAH should ONLY be given to family’s with children not to anyone that doesn’t. The government needs to use common sense not stupidity.

    • Sherry, don’t be an idiot. BAH should definitely be given to single E4s and E5s. Why should they not get it, because they are single? The last I checked, they still have to pay rent and utilities like the married members do. You said to use common sense but you lack it. BAH is for housing, regardless of having dependents or not.

      • But only if the into command authorizes the soldier who is single to live off base. If the agent authorized then no BAQ/BAH . If there space in the barracks the leadership provided by E-4 and above is invaluble.
        I was required to live in the barracks but wanted to live off base. The Commander and the 1st Sgt had to proved yet it was up to them also if BAQ /BAH was authorizes also. Even married senior NCO’s were required to live on base UNLESS busting was not available.

      • Sooooo Sherry, by your logic my O5 husband (with 19.5 years service) and I whom do not have children shouldn’t rate BAH? Families with children are the only ones that should be entitled to BAH? Really….

    • So BAH should ONLY be given to families who have children? Excuse me but my husbands and I decision to wait to have children should have no impact on how much or any BAH we should receive. Also-I know you'll tell me to go live on housing but because we have no children it is more harder for us to receive housing as well as the fact that where we live for me to even have my job-is 30 minutes away from post because it is right in the middle of our commutes.

      • Sarah, being your husband's spouse, qualifies you as a dependent, and therefore Sherry's comment is not in reference to you or your husband. She is only talking about SINGLE soldiers with no spouses or children that could be housed in the barracks.

        • the first mel | August 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm |

          A quote from Sherry's post: "BAH should ONLY be given to family's with children not to anyone that doesn't." So, yes, it is in reference to people like Kat. The military member earns their pay and benefits regardless of a spouse and/or kids being in the picture. Single military members earn what they get and they shouldn't lose any of their benefits because they have chosen to be single.

    • That is nothing but a load of bull. Why should be using children as an "award", here…have a kid…get an extra grand or two a month! This might be the most ridiculous comment I have ever read

    • your a idot that needs to stop talking the smarest thing u can do is keep you mouth shut

  10. Chris Urias | August 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm |

    I think that more people need to take a look at how BAH is calculated again. It is not calculated by how many dependants you have. Or how many years in service you have. Smeone who has only their spouse versus someone who has a family if 5 gets the same amount. From a Navy Vet it is based on your pay grade and geographical area. Maybe if spouses wouldn't create drama where it doesn't exist there wouldn't be such a frenzy about this. Does the BAH need to be looked at and re analyzed again… Yes

    • If you're living on base then number of children is sort of factored in to "how much BAH" you get in a weird round-about way. An E-2 with four children is going to get a bigger house than an E-4 with no children, and that bigger house would typically "cost" more and yet the E-4 is paying their whole BAH for the smaller house. That's what I've gathered spouses really mean when they talk about how having more kids gets you more BAH.

      • Maybe I should pop out more children so I can have a nicer home on post. Oh wait I can afford to live off post and own my house with my BAH because I only have 1 child and married. I can afford to pay the mortgage with the BAH and maybe pay the internet bill and come out of pocket for bills, groceries, entertainment and childcare because I am not having a baby every 9 months. Its a messed up situation for a couple who have no children and is of higher rank and is put into a house for lower enlistment due to letting lower enlisted have a bigger and newly built house due to having 5 kids. The situation happened to me and my spouse back whenever he was a drill. Due to the long hours and location it was convienient to live on base at the time but we were assigned an older duplex for lower enlisted while because lower enlisted were living in brand new actual houses on base because of having so many kids.

    • I agree also saying that a family of 5 should get the same as a married soldier with only a spouse should be the same. Its not the Army's fault that people keep popping out kids and it's financially harder to take care of them. Birth Control is free on post. I really saddens me that people bring babies in to this world who can not financially take care of them and decide to get on government services as We who pay tax dollars that provide WIC and Food Stamps for people who are irresponsible and don't think about their financial future.

    • Why do 2 E-1s who get married get more BAH than an O7

  11. But it needs to be looked at for an increase because of the increases in Cost of Living. I feel that COLA needs to be instituted because of the rising price of fuel and the housing market.

    • But only if the into command authorizes the soldier who is single to live off base. If the agent authorized then no BAQ/BAH . If there space in the barracks the leadership provided by E-4 and above is invaluble.
      I was required to live in the barracks but wanted to live off base. The Commander and the 1st Sgt had to proved yet it was up to them also if BAQ /BAH was authorizes also. Even married senior NCO’s were required to live on base UNLESS busting was not available.

    • What does the price of fuel have to do with BAH? BAH = Basic Allowance for HOUSING, not Basic Allowance for Housing and Transportation.

  12. Funny how the only responses to this post are from people who are not active military. My assumption is that writer is the spouse of an officer as well. I have a child with extensive medical needs and my spouse cannot work due to amount of appointments our son require. You telling us to use common sense but you haven't walked in anyone else shoes. BAH is a benefit that we rely on and some of us have made a decision to join military for the benefits. For example, my son is uninsurable (life or health) in the civilian world due to his condition. Anyway… I "love" the comment about procreation – its easy to sit on your fence and judge others but try walk a mile…

    • Well that will change 2014 thanks to healthcare reform your child cannot be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, and writer is right the military OR the entire free world shouldn't have to pay because a couple can successfully over populate their people to money ratios, especially when we are no longer in the ice age and know how babies get here and access to birth control is almost easier than blinking even after you have a child your doctor asks what's your plan for birth control? Lastly if I were you I'd never tell anyone that you were in the military for the benefits it makes your comment no more valid than those married to someone that serves or is not active duty.

      • mongolberry | August 12, 2013 at 4:51 am |

        Why is joining the military for benefits a bad thing? Does it make his sacrifice, hard work or dedication any less? I know A Lot of soldiers join for benefits ( to help pay for college for example)

        • Because institutions are filled with people like them for example, a teacher no matter how bad he/she may be doesn't seek to get better because they will still get paid. Same as a stagnant doctor or soldier. Those people that just joined for the benefits are usually the first to first to be cut according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, are content with being the bottom which I call the gimmie's they generally have no desire to improve their skills, and will do the minimum as long as they have a benefit package to look forward to it cuts morale, and piles work for the accompanying parties . Also, there are many civilian jobs (not readily available) that offer education packages. It's not wrong to want those benefits, but I would not aloud ever tell any one that was the motivation behind my choice to join. I would hate to have to rely on that person to save my life or be with my spouse in a life or death situation.

      • I have been in the military for 10 years; I have met more people than I can count. Just because someone joins for benefits that doesn't make them any different than the person that joined for school, to travel, or to serve their nation. There are people in the military that ARE NOT military material regardless of the reasons they joined. I happen to be one of those that joined after 9-11 and my reasoning for joining is my own. You should NEVER disparage someone that wants to take care of their family. There are too many people in the world that don't. Let’s congratulate those that do.

    • I'm the spouse of an officer, and we joined to serve our country. We are staying in because my son, like yours has considerable medical needs that are not covered by civilian medical insurance and even Obama-care will not change the fact that they will not be covered.

      I have no issues with your statement, other than the assumption that just because a statement is selfish and stupid that it has to have been made by an officer's spouse.

  13. I was thinking about something. Now, this may not be a popular idea, but how about requiring certain ranks, w/dependents, live in on post housing if it is available. Say E-1 through E-6 and 0-1 through 0-3 being required to live on post. And instead of that 0-3 paying twice as much as that E-1 for a house that isn't much different on post , make it a set price for 2, 3, 4 bedroom places etc. I realize there are instillation's where a privates housing is a far cry from a Captains housing, but where we are now for instance, the only thing our housing (field grade) has going for it is they are single family homes, but much of the lower enlisted housing is brand new with granite countertops and built in microwaves and is about the same sq footage as our house. I am not complaining, I love my house, but it's not always greener on the other side. And we pay a bit more for our house too. I don't think there is one perfect solution.

  14. sabrinacking | August 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm |

    1) People are confused as to why if they live on post an E2 with dependents gets the same quarters as an E7 with dependents, one is not any nicer than the other. So why does one rank warrant more BAH than the other if they have to live off post? More than once we have lived on post in housing areas where we our entire BAH is given for the same quarters an E2 pays a fraction of. So if you live on post: equal housing applies, but the second you move off post some sort of classism kicks in. Here is why I hate this. It means almost everywhere you go E7-E9 have a shortage in on post housing so they give you x amount to live on the economy, and all that it does is cause the local landlords to jack the rentals sky high to meet the BAH. The result is, we live in a worse house than we would have on post, and the DoD is spending all that extra BAH for it.
    2) I agree with you on #2. The government isn't responsible for the rabbit factory.
    3) I'd like to see them do away with anything there is already an MOS for, or anything soldiers on extra duty could be utilized to do.
    4) There are way too many programs, period. They need to do some consolidation.

    • Except I have never lived on post in housing where an E2 and E7 had they same housing. E7-E9 housing was always nicer. E4P -E6 good and E4 and below doable… Same structure for the officer side. Grant E4P and E6 get different BAH but not enough to make a difference! The problem starts when the O6 or E9 are getting triple what an e6 is getting… There has to be limitations.

      On another note extra duty soldiers can't be counted on to be staffing… How can we expect there to always be a soldier in trouble to clean the headquarters toilets. Not to mention it is the new military… You can't look sideways at a service member let alone make them clean a toilet… It's harassment and bullying! You can't even make them do push-ups anymore!

      • JustASpouse | August 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

        I wouldn't want to make them do anything, as I am a civilian and have no rank to pull :)

  15. sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 8:36 am |

    Ya see, our experience varies. As an E6 we shared a wall with an E3 in a duplex. An E3 who promptly nearly burnt both our houses down when they left macaroni to catch fire on the stove….I think that makes an interesting observation. The housing from post to post varies dramatically.

  16. Your post makes some good points …. however the issues about officer and enlisted pay are not correct. In the old Army (as in 1800's, early 1900's maybe up til the 50's) that was true, but nowadays enlisted men and women work every bit as hard as their officer counterparts and are increasingly just as well educated. Yes there has to be a rank system for the military to work but please do not look down upon others simply because of it, they are not lesser people and without their skills the Army (and other branches) would cease to function. BAH, House sizes, Weight Allowances, etc should NOT all be based on rank.

    • No, a Private is no less as valuable of a person as a COL, but that private (typically) just graduated from high school or has no education beyond hs. That COL on the other hand has probably over 20 years time in service and has earned that position. Lets not forget some officer's do in fact start out as enlisted soldiers! You wouldn't find the mail clerk at a large corporation living next door to the CEO of that company.

  17. Only about 13% of active component soldiers are assigned to combat arms/infantry MOS jobs. The rest is support either direct or indirect. If we restructure the force or its infrastructure, there is 87% pool to trim.

    • the first mel | August 12, 2013 at 9:07 am |

      You are forgetting that all that support serves a purpose to accomplish the mission as a whole. I wonder how well infantry would fare without the support of the other MOSs.

      • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 10:22 am |

        It occurs to me, perspective is everything. I am not even sure if his numbers are correct, but perhaps that 13% number is why I come to SpouseBuzz and think…these people are either delusional or out of their dang minds. Years ago my husband was an 11 series, his knees went bad and so he reclassed to commo. But ever since he is attached to infantry. Military life, in war, for an infantry units families is vastly different from what you may think you know about military life. I have been on both sides. We've been through deployments where everyone is a fobbit. We have been through deployments where everyone was in danger a good deal of the time. The difference between the two is night and day on its relational stress and sacrifice of families. I try to articulate that on SpouseBuzz day in and out having worked with these families for two decades now, but I fail miserably. I don't think these families should be silent, simply because they are the minority. I don't think their very real sacrifice should be diminished by the majority.

      • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 10:27 am |

        And I don't think saying any of that…diminishes all support MOSs or their families. I think what he says is vastly true, 13% of the military bares the brunt of the war so 87% of the military can come on SpouseBuzz and B about the entitlement of todays generation. It's all weird to me, and fascinating as an Organizational Behaviorist. And he is right, those 13% have more than earned their place in the military, cuts should be made in support services. We'll volunteer to go first!

        • My husband has been both infantry and signal in his 16 years as well as being selected to a very unique unit along the way. There is NO DIFFERENCE to our family or my husband between the two. We too have done the fobbit and insanely dangerous deployments, they are equally as stressful to us. His infantry days were more frustrating to him simply because he got sick and tired of having to treat people like children because they were constantly getting into or causing trouble, something he didn't have to deal with when he got picked up for selection.

          The idea that the "other 87%" somehow live a different military life is in my opinion, completely delusional.

          • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm |

            My mileage absolutely differs from yours…in all but one way. You are correct, infantry soldiers are a rough and tumble bunch and they do get in all sorts of mishaps…perhaps, because they actually fight in wars and that has more than a teeny tiny affect on them. Which is my entire point on SpouseBuzz.

          • My husband did two tours as infantry, including the initial push into Iraq, it is no different to him then doing signal for this unit. So yea, he's "actually fought in wars". Your post is extremely condescending to the bulk of military. Did you ever stop to think the reason your "message" that you claim to be promoting here on Spousebuzz isn't doing anything because maybe, people on here have some more realistic expectations and we don't think we are "special" simply because we've served in the military, particularly the infantry?

          • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 6:41 pm |

            Ugh. Ok, whatever. I am not saying anyone is more special than anyone else. For you to take what I say and make it into that…is tragic. What I say on SpouseBuzz is, war is a reality. And for some of us even a compounded reality. My husband too was in the first push to Iraq. He also has been assigned to two SBCTS and now a light infantry unit. Our perspective on how those deployments affect or don't affect people are going to be broad. They are going to have to do with things like rank, MOS, how much you as a spouse are actually exposed to what is going on down range et all.

          • I was active duty for 8 years, I know EXACTLY what goes on down range…unlike you I've been "exposed" to the actual realities, not just what my spouse chooses to tell me or not. You have your reality, and that is one of just being a spouse, which inherently means you are somewhat sheltered

          • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 8:21 pm |

            I have actually worked as a defense contractor for more years than you were on active duty…and also volunteered ad nauseum. So don't discount my perspective as just some spouse who only knows what her husband tells her.

          • Seriously? you are trying to compare active duty time in service to being a CONTRACTOR….really?

    • My husband is a support position. Without him, all those combat arms and infantry soldiers wouldn't be able to communicate. And they sure wouldn't be able to Skype home. So don't dismiss those jobs so easily. He'd be paid 3 times his salary in the civilian world so it is much cheaper for the Army to keep him.

  18. James Hinman | August 12, 2013 at 8:58 am |

    My nephew is a recently retired US Marine. He is still at Cherry Point doing the same MOS as a civilian. The company that services the Prowlers are glad to have him. I have no idea what the civilian budget cost are verses the same position military budget costs are. I would assume there is a difference and if it is less expensive to fill in with qualified civilian help, then budget concerns are being met whether we like it or not.

  19. Hah, oh wow. She sounds so condescending it makes me absolutely sick. I cannot believe you posted this, Jacey.

    You don't really earn that much BAH because of climbing the ladder. It is not that much different on the ENLISTED side of things, Officers on the other hand seem to double every rank. If you were to look at the rates here at Fort Carson, an E9(which would be in much longer than your O5) w/ dependents gets $1701 and an E3 gets 1227$. Not a huge change. But really, what does that have to do with anything?

    The BAH debate has to do with cutting a chunk out, and making our service members pay out of pocket. Tell me, since it seems like you're an Officer's wife, are you and your family going to struggle or is a lowly private(which seems you detest lower enlisted service members) who makes a fraction of your spouses pay and less for BAH? I think the person making 6,880$ a month, who gets 2220$ in BAH won't be hard up as the private making 1,516$ with 1227$ BAH. Who makes up the military more, Officers or Enlisted? We all know that answer, so please be less condescending.

    No, the whole debate is to NOT cut BAH to make those in the lower ranks struggle more than they already are. It has nothing to do with 'earning' a subtle change in BAH or TOS, and everything to do with what is in place now. The cost of living has risen, the cost of hosing has too. Not everyone can live on post. Paying more out of pocket means those Soldiers may have to rely on government help like Food Stamps. So, is that better or worse?

    Also, I really don't know where you get your facts about average TOS to make E5, maybe you're pulling it out of the sky, but not everyone in the military gets to E5 that quickly. I know of 4 E5's who've been in for quite longer than your statistic(shortest time is 6 years to E5). They are not terrible people, in fact they are probably the best people my husband has met. Great Soldiers, great leaders.

    • We started out as the lowly private (and I personally did 8 years enlisted), my husband did OCS, became an officer we never once in our life struggled with bills even as an E-1, E-2. Why? because we lived within our means, didn't have kids until we could afford them (apparently a novel idea according to this comments section).

      Those 4 e5s you know may be great guys, but they are probably average soldiers, the good soldiers easily get promoted within 4-5 years.

      • That's super fantastic that you lived within your means! We do as well even when my husband was an E1.I have my own business, we save, and have no issues. We are an exception to the rule. That said, there are people who live within their means, have no children that will be greatly affected by a cut in BAH.It's not just frivolous spending, but necessary things like student loans that can eat up a huge chunk of income. There are too many variables to this, and you cannot assume that everyone in the military will be like you.

        Average Soldiers, no. If I were to give out names you could see that just by what they've been awarded they are far from average. There are issues with promotions in the military you know. The impending freeze is just one little testament to that.

        Your PERSONAL opinion, however, is not a fact. If you want to spout 'statistical' information you need to actually provide evidentiary support.

        My husband plans to go Green to Gold. Even when he does I won't say the cut in his BAH, should that happen) is comparable to an E1. Apples and oranges.

        • Student loans, so I am assuming those are the spouses since those that served have GI Bill or tuition repayment for the bulk. If a spouse has student loans, they should have a job, and pay them off. It should not be up to the service member to pay off their spouses student loans by themselves. I had 94k in student loans when I graduated, I personally paid back every red cent out of MY salary and side jobs. If you have a huge chunk of student loans it's time to boost your income to pay them off, a SOLDIERS BAH should not be used to pay off a spouses student loans, that's not what BAH is there for.

          • I'm not suggesting that student loans be paid out of BAH. I am suggesting that there are too many variances to each and every single family that you cannot just lump them into either 'living out of their means' or 'having too many kids'. I had 85k in student loans I paid off on my own. That's not the point though.

    • I don't believe the article is condescending. I think it is insightful and has produced a gread debate. Unfortunately, I thinkyour response was rude and inflammatory. Consider thinking before typing. And using one base as an example only addresses one base; you have to extrapolate out for the entire system and look at the big picture because life is very different from base-to-base and from the U.S.-to-overseas locations. Also unfortunately, I think some of our own worst enemies in this debate are fellow spouses and military members. And yes, it often takes longer to make E5 since it depends on the military branch and your career field. And FYI…lower ranking enlisted with a family have been relying on Food Stamps for decades but it still doesn't mean you base BAH and other entitlements/incentives on the number of family members.

      • The ONLY reasons lower enlisted qualify for food stamps/welfare is 1. irresponsibility in having too many kids too fast and 2. most states do NOT take BAH benefits into account as part of salary (which is insane), if they did, most of these families wouldn't qualify for food stamps/welfare

        • I beg to differ on this statement. BAH is considered income in childcare, WIC, EFM services, Youth Centers and YC Programs, lunch subsidies, etc., etc. My family has been lucky that we were never forced to use any of the food stamp/welfare services that have been utilized by past and current members. Let us not forget that BAH, while a spouse is attending college and using their GI Bill, is not paid when the spouse is not in school, i.e. for spring break, winter break, etc. At those times youth centers or daycare still need to be paid in order to secure a dependents "space" in the center or daycare. The full-time student, who is obviously an Honorably Discharged Spouse, cannot easily find a job every few months for six weeks at a time. Just because a spouse is available to care for the children does not make the expense of childcare disappear for said number of weeks. The daycare also needs to be paid during the six-week breaks when the children are not in school in order to secure the dependent's space. BAH does not count toward income because if the member is in housing it is a simple matter of bookkeeping with the military paying the military. In the housing situations I am aware of all enlisted are housed in the same community. That community offers paid services that are not available to personnel who decide not to live in housing. That is sometimes the individual service member and his family's choice. Are they perks? I can assure you they are not. My service member would like to own property, mow their own lawn, receive the tax benefit from owning a home, but let me stop there for just a moment. Their BAH is not considered income if they take out a conventional mortgage, however, it is considered a liability when applying for the loan. BAH is not considered income when financing a car or a credit card for that matter. One more, most important note, they absolutely cannot claim bankruptcy or be involved in a foreclosure or repossession, as an unprecedented number of other people have done in this country over the past few years, because They Are Held to a Higher Standard than "regular" citizens. It is what our Country expects of them and they work very, very hard to earn it and our respect every single day.

      • Yes, and generalization of lower enlisted as having too many children or financially irresponsible is not bad thing, right? Sorry but there , again, are too many variables to take into account why someone who is lower enlisted would be struggling.

        Where in my argument did I suggest basing BAH or benefits on the number of children someone has? I never suggested that. MY opinion on the matter has nothing to do with the number of children someone has, or increasing BAH/benefits based on said children. MY opinion on the matter has to do with cutting BAH down to a point where lower enlisted may struggle.

    • Found this as a reference. This chart shows the average time to promotion to E5. Average for Air Force and Army is less than 4.5 years. The average across all services is 4.5 – 5 years.

      And while the minimum time to O-5 is 11 years, the average is actually 16.

      • Statistics from 2006… Things have changed in 6 years.

        • At least in the Air Force, the officer statistics are accurate, except the 11 years (your butt is lit on fire if you are promoted to O5 in 11 years!). My husband was on the faster end of the scale, but this is when he was promoted:

          O2: 2 years
          O3: 4 years
          O4: 9 years
          O5: 15 years

          The first look for O6 is in at 18 years, but he wouldn't pin on until 19/20 years in. O4/O5 you are selected in X number of years, but often don't pin on 12-24 months after you get selected, depending on your line number.

  20. Perhaps look into something to make living on post more enticing? It's the cheaper option for DoD. The old housing is already all paid for, and the private companies are paying to build the new housing. People don't want to live in it for a variety of reasons (they think there is drama/think they'll make money by living off post/don't want to be around the military all day/etc), and it ends up costing way more for DoD. Maybe allow $100 extra if you live on post, and increasing that with rank? $100 may not sound like a lot, but for an E3 it can do wonders, and it would be a tiny fraction of BAH and a lot cheaper to pay out. A lot of people just hear the "they take all the BAH!" part and turn stupid, and don't even think about the fact that they'll have to spend money out of pocket on utilities come a hot summer or extra-cold winter. They need to market it differently, cause right now "Live on post and forfet your BAH or live off post and receive your BAH!" sounds, on the surface, like a no-brainer. Change it up: "Live on post and have no bills–no utilities changing monthly! Spend less on gas! Be close to resources and fun activities! Get paid an extra $100 a month!" That sounds way more appealing, and costs less in the long run.

    And yes, get rid of a lot of the civilians. My father is retired Army, and has been working for a contractor doing the same job he had in the military. He hates it and it's a giant mess with no accountability. Barely anyone has their CDL license (huge liability), or a lot of the certifications necessary for the job, and there is no "boss." There is a "boss" for each civilian contractor (there are three companies all doing the same thing where he works), a greensuiter "boss", a government civilian "boss, and a liason between all of them who is sort of a "boss." None of them talk to each other, and there's not much point in doing so because none of them have authority over the employees of the other and no one party has any accountability to the other. The guys in charge of the contracted employees have no desire to handle most things, because by reporting bad employees and unqualified employees, the companies risk losing their contracts. It's all just swept under the rug in the interest of keeping their contracts. The government employees hate the contractors because they don't get furloughed, and the greensuiters hate the other two because they're watching military downsizing cost them their jobs while the contractors and government civilians are still there.

    • You might be a little behind the times regarding on-base housing. I don't know of a base anywhere in the world that doesn't have a waiting list to live on base. It is not an issue of folks not wanting to live on base, it is an issue of not enough base housing and the BAH not getting you a decent house off base, or not getting you in a decent school district.

      It is no longer "free" utilities, all US base housing is, or soon will be, metered. If you use more than the average for your house type, you have to pay, if you use less than the avarage for your house type, you get a credit. So the privatized housing contractor gets your BAH, but if you use too much electricity, you pay out of pocket.

      The way the DoD sees it, they are paying EVERY active person BAH, but if you live on base, it goes to the privatized housing contractor. Nothing more goes to these companies, they have to provide the base housing by utilizing the BAH of all the residents and the housing I have personnally seen is MUCH better since it was privatized than when the govt. ran it.

      • Overtime cutting BAH will hurt military families living on base. When the privatize housing contractor has less BAH then they will seek to defer or delay maintenance. The contractor seeks a profit which is only right as they took the capital finance risk.

        The beneficiaries of declining BAH is the retirees who live on fixed incomes and rent in military communities. Apartment leases are in part based on increases in military pay and benefits. Any reduction would reduce the increases or may reduce rent over time.

  21. Funny thing about that is you never hear about politicians, being considered for pay cuts and their suppose to be there as a represenitive for the people. This is really sad because the people that determine our (The Soldiers) fate, don't have to deploy don't get shot at or IED's blown up on their conoys, or rockets shot at their living quarters or foot patrols, and they don't miss holidays with family because they are defending the intrest of our great nation we sacrafice on a regular what do they sacrafice?

  22. Before you go and cut those civilian jobs, remember THEY provide the continuity when the military relocates you and your family to a new base. They keep the base running when the military is called on to go into battle/deploy. And do you really want your spouse working overtime so that you never get to see him/her when he/she actually is home and deployed to another location? And Perry, don't get rid of the civilians just do a better job managing the contractors…your dad's company in particular. Civilian employees and contractors are different entities. And if your'dad is unhappy, get another job…Walmart is hiring.

    • He's looking for another one, he doesn't need to take one at Wal-mart. He's not desperate, he just likes to work. He and my mom have always had their ducks in a row regarding finances. He's able to wait it out, with or without a job. And his problem isn't with his company, it's with the whole set up at the school he teaches at. If an employee of another contractor is doing things they shouldn't, his company can't do anything about it, for instance.

      I never said cut all the civilian workers. The fact of the matter, though, is that they and contractors have become bloated and overstaffed, and it's hard to fire any of them (regardless of how poor their performance is). Shrink the amount government civilian workers and make it easier to fire those who don't perform and then good workers won't need to be furloughed and productivity will be high and costs will be down. Contractors live in a bubble, as far is hiring/firing practices go. They aren't subject to any kind of cost-cutting measures, as their contracts have already been paid for. The only way to "get rid" of a poorly performing company/contracted employee is to ride out the contract and not renew it. Personal interests and "friends" can influence contract renewal, however.

      • They could cut every civilian and still get nowhere near the $500 billion over 10 years in offset spending under sequestration.

      • With 13% being assigned in a direct, war fighting MOS, we are taking the position that you need 7 support personnel (not including DACs and contractors) to support them. There is no one suggesting full elimination. Butone can see this requires as much evaluation as acquiring a weapons system consisting of components from a hundred separate contractors. Again, civ pay is about 4% of DoD budget and can’t begin to offset $500 billion over 10 years.

  23. Great post, but I have to disagree with BAH should not be based on number of dependents. For example: A family of 2 living off post can live smaller square footage than a family of 5. The larger homes cost more off post, that is just a fact. Yes, there is an option to move on post, if you can get a house. If you have kids in school it is not just as simple as living somewhere temporary until your 1 yr-18 month wait for a home is available. With that being said, I think BAH should flatten out after 5 dependents. It does not make since to say that a family of 2 needs the same BAH as a family of 5. As a family of 2, many times they pocket the extra BAH. If the issue is finding ways to tighten the belt, it could start here.

    Yes, in the civilian world there might be a struggle, but we are not in the civilian world and it is an allowance offered by the military as an incentive. An inventive that the way it stands now, should be reformed if we are pinching pennies. DOD should work something out with the privatized housing partners for on post housing. Families that live on post, should not get any BAH back, but DOD should. A great deal of the homes are substandard and as part of the quality of life campaign many of the new homes are for E1-E5 and not officers who receive a higher BAH. DOD should evaluate that and get money back from the privatized partners, who by the way are living large from this 50 year contract.

    "You don’t get to take a bigger piece of the pie just because you can successfully procreate." This is a crazy statement, especially since you don't know everyone's situation. Trust me families don't procreate for a bigger piece of the BAH pie. That would be absurd, knowing all of the additional expenses that come with having a child.

    The simple fact is by reforming BAH and evaluating if 2 people need a much money as 5, would be a good start to pinching the BAH budget. There are not enough large homes on post to accommodate 5 or more dependents, causing a huge backlog and extensive wait period forcing the families to find off post accommodations.

    • So what you’re saying is, regardless of rank, time served, etc., you should get BAH/housing size determined by the number of children you have? So those of us who can’t have children should receive less money and be 20 years into a career living in the same accommodations as someone who has a year in and is married? No one forced you to have four dependents but as soon as that policy is instituted there WILL be people having babies for the extra BAH.

    • And we should be paying for you to have children why? What company on this PLANET, pays you more for being married and having kids…none. I as a tax payer do not want to pay you to breed

    • You are D@#m right any extra BAH is pocketed whenever living off post because you know what being in the army for 16 years I have earned it.

      "You don’t get to take a bigger piece of the pie just because you can successfully procreate." This is a crazy statement, especially since you don't know everyone's situation. Trust me families don't procreate for a bigger piece of the BAH pie. That would be absurd,"

      "It's called being responsible" which many lower enlisted are not and I am not willing to give up my BAH just because I don't procreate. Birth control is covered by Tricare and they even offer condoms for back up.

  24. For people who are enlisted and of lower rank only making so much and having 2,3,4,5,6+ kids how in the world are you going to take care of them without living on government assistance as well. Just think if you were not part of the military how hard it would be to make ends meet without living on base or having healthcare. Stop having babies and get on birth control. "The simple fact is by reforming BAH and evaluating if 2 people need a much money as 5". That's B's and just because people keep having kids and can't afford them does not mean that my husband who has been in for 16 years should make less in BAH because he's hasn't impregnating me 5 or more times. If you can't afford to take care of children then don't keep popping them out.

    • I wish I could like this post 1000 times over….birth control is there for a reason, if you can't afford kids don't have them, if you want more kids, how about becoming dual income

  25. I don’t have time to read all responses but, those which I did:
    1) I personally only think BAH should be available to people who are Unable to live on base (due to not being available or full) were stationed at NMCSD and the wait list for housing is crazy out here! I also don’t think, regardless of rank, that married couples without children , should be allowed to have 3-4 bedroom homes…..they should be allotted the same amount of “space” as everyone else.

    2) does the thought of losing BAH scare me yes of course, my husband just rejoined to military and we took a $100k + pay cut for him to do so….yes our decision, but Housing was one thing which we justified our decision – nothing in military is a guarantee I know that

    3) I do not think that BAH should only be available to people with kids (as someone with kids) -perhaps everyone should be allotted the same amount regardless of rank/time in service? Yeah I’m an officers wife, who my spouse was enlisted for 7 years – it’s an individual decision to have kids and I don’t particularly think you should be rewarded or punished for doing so! Like BAS it is for the soldier, airman, marine, sailor – why is BAH any different?! Again perhaps if they made base housing a requirement and If you choose not to take it you are free to do so but you don’t get BAH, perhaps it would solve some issues, I also don’t agree w married dual military getting Dual BAH it’s not a wise use of$ I get it if you join because of benefits but this to me isn’t logical –

    4) I get sick of people saying “probably a spouse of an officer” many of the arguments made which this reply is made, have nothing to do with this rather sheer ignorance or arrogance- I could care less if you’re an officer or enlisted what I care about is consideration of people-

    What we all have to remember, these are all “benefits” which can always be taken away- don’t get me wrong, my husbands promotion date is April 24, as would his grade in service pay increase – it will make a HUGE difference if the promotions an increases don’t take place

    I think the haulting of military moves is OK and PCS moves slowing down would be advantageous in my husbands career field at least.

    Just my two cents

    • If there were no benefits for joining then why would anyone want to join. BAH is a great benefit that provides families a place to call home.

      • Simple, it's a steady paycheck in a tough economy and there is free healthcare (saving large families tens of thousands a year)

  26. This "BAH cut" info came from the Army Times. Since when does anyone take that rag seriously? It's already been cleared up that they sensationalized the story and at no time was any benefit or program listed as being cut or lowered. Yes, budget cuts will be made, but none have been specified. Would help out the anxiety of the military members and their families if those who are writing articles and blogs would do research first.

  27. I posted this to FB earlier, but thought I would share it here as well.

    I want to thank everyone for their comments and even if you hate what I have to say, it nice to see people talking. In writing this post, I didn't mean to sound condescending, and I apologize, as I can see how it might be taken that way. As you might imagine, I was just as ruffled by this topic as everyone else and the tone of my post reflects that.

    Everyone seems to think I must be an officer's wife, living high up on a well-paid pedestal with no concept of what it must be like for the junior enlisted. First, I want folks to know I'm an enlisted wife…my husband came up through the ranks. He was an E3 when we got married…and had just made E5 by the time we had our 3rd child. I was an enlisted brat to two enlisted parents, who started at the bottom and worked their way up over a 20 year career. I know first hand how junior enlisted families struggle, I really do, I've been there.

    Second, I have also worked as a GS employee, in an environment with commanding officers and their families. Officers who understood fully well the struggles their troops facde and then had to make the decision to cut programs or continue them, at the loss or benefit to some or all of those under their command. I promise you those decisions are not made lightly. Life in command is not as easy as some might think. It was only after I had a chance to see first-hand what they have to do, the weight of making decisions, the hardship of commanding and sending troops into battle, did I come to appreciate that their sacrifices, and those of their families, while sometimes different, are in many ways the same and no less worthy of recognition and the compensation they receive.

    My point in writing this post was not to belittle the struggles of any of our military families, but instead, to put out a different perspective…and to get people talking about this potential cut in pay…which will affect ALL of us. The solution is not going to be to throw each other under the bus and demand that others receive less so we can have more.

    When I wrote this, I felt like a single voice for the opposition, thank you to those folks who have show some support for a differing opinion. Perhaps the suggestions I have rallied against will be the very ones put into place. Who knows? I pray they make no cuts to BAH at all! My hope is that when folks read this it will make them think, get them fired up and talking about this issue. But I hope they also realize there are always two sides, and just because we happen to find ourselves on one side it doesn't mean the other side doesn't have value. And decisions made, while they may be beneficial for some, will have a negative impact on others.

    • Honestly, I fully support what you said, all I've heard on SpouseBuzz is a "HOW DARE THEY!!!" mentality whenever there is talking of cutting or changing anything, so it's refreshing to know I'm not the only one that thinks people need to stop being so "entitled"

      The fact of the matter is, yes I hope they don't cut BAH, but would I be enraged if they did? Nope.

      A general theme I've seen is that we as military spouses are becoming totally disconnected to the rest of the country and the struggles they are facing. Our spouses jobs aren't easy but the fact that the government pays our housing (tax free none the less), healthcare (no matter how many kids you have), prescriptions, marriage retreats, subsidized daycare,$30k/year autism treatments, college educations, grants for college for spouses, discounted camp for children and on post activities for them, along with a massive pension (and I don't care if you are enlisted or officer that pension is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars) bonuses, and a 401k that has the lowest fees on the planet is stunning.

      Stop and look at private industry, they really AREN'T making 50-100k more then your soldier is for doing the same job (a popular thing I hear from spouses), especially when you take into account the dollar amount all those benefits are worth. And getting one of these high paid civilian jobs is NOT easy, especially if said veteran doesn't have a degree. I think many of these spouses haven't spent much time working in private, non GS industry to see first hand how difficult the last 7 years have been on this country. Cuts ARE going to happen and I for one don't think active duty should be exempt from them and this is coming from a former active duty soldier now married to a current active soldier of 16 years

      • Be carefully what you wish for. You are comparing the military from civilian pay? Are you crazy? Civilians go home to their familiy every night, military don’t. We get to risk our ass getting shot at, civilians don’t. What would you do if military will remove bah and you can’t pay your bill? Are you gonna figure out a way? Or just find a way to get hour spouse’s sgli for 400k?

      • Be carefully what you wish for. You are comparing the military from civilian pay? Are you crazy? Civilians go home to their family every night, military don’t. We get to risk getting shot at, civilians don’t. What would you do if military will remove bah and you can’t pay your bill? Are you gonna figure out a way? Or just find a way to get hour spouse’s sgli for 400k?

  28. Well I am a current active duty member. I currently reside in "on post" housing and have also resided in the barracks as an E4 and below. With the issue of cutting BAH. I will admit that I will struggle financially if for any reason I would have to pay out of pocket for my post housing. I am the only source of income for my family of 4. My bring home pay is $300.00 after taxes and bills (house phone, 2 cell phones, auto insurance, and car payments, as well as my grocery bill. If the government made BAH EQUAL across the ranks E-1 through O-10 as based on zip code the way it is already. The surplus from the higher ranks should level out the difference the lower ranks don't get. Also if post housing is ran/by enlisted personell rather than civilians the government would not have to cut the force or the BAH that they have proposed to do, Because the Bah being paid to the contracted civilians would then become a surplus. Thereby reducing the debt.

  29. You need to redo your calculations on the E5 and 05 . I don’t know if you graduated high school that you can’t get your math right. Thanks for making it look like your a military hater. I deserve my pay and everybody staying late and working like slaves with me everyday.

  30. I don’t know if this was mentioned in the comments, I tried to read them all but some of them just made no sense to me on the points being made. My only real gripe with the current BAH is that two married soldiers receive double the BAH I don’t if this happens in every branch or to everyone, but every dual navy family I have met this is true and they all openly brag about it. This to me is an opportunity to save some money, while it may not be enough it is a start. I’m sorry but there is no reason why a double housing allowance should be awarded. The housing is calculated in order to house a family in your respective area. Giving double that amount because they happened to marry another service member is just not needed. Anyone receiving housing knows that if they got double that amount they would be living quite a different lifestyle. I for one, in san Diego know that an extra 2k a month would leave me with a substantial amount of play money. If housing is meant for that, housing, it should be paid once per family.

    • If they are going to cut BAH for dual military families then they better start taking into account the paycheck of the civilian spouse when they decide to pay a married military member BAH.

      • The intent of BAH is to provide military families with adequate housing. It has been misused by some as an income source for other needs or desires. I know a DOD Civilian couple OCONUS that had to give up one of their LQA sources when they got married and moved in together. They were unhappy but their employing Agency did the right thing.

    • How is that fair? I was dual military for a time, we both got without dependent rate BAH, and sometimes that was about the same as dependent rate BAH. Especially, when for the first half of my career I did not get a join-spouse assignment.

    • Each military member serves in their own right. Each one can be called away as an individual and has their own duties they have to abide by. Why should a couple take a pay cut because they got married? My husband and I each recieved our own BAH before we were married, so one of us should lose it now that we are married? Bull. You can't dictate how many allowances go to one household. What about room mates? If you get a room mate, then one of you has to forfeit your BAH. Sounds fair, right?

      And it is not something to brag about. I EARN my BAH just like my husband does. Just like we both EARNED the GI Bills we passed to our kids. Should only one of us be allowed to have our benefits for that as well?

  31. I always lived off post, and my BAH over paid any rent I ever had to assume, on post housing is no longer preferred as you can do better off post, always. The other thing here is this, everyone is going to pay for our leaders not realizing that a huge budget crises was coming until it was to late. I would be more concerned about your health care benefits were I you, they have begun what I think will be the demise of TRICARE for retirees and Veterans alike. As a Retired 1SG, my best advice to young Soldiers today with families is, get out when your time is up, have a plan to use your college benefits, i.e. what do you want to do in life, and set about making it happen. The time we have given up, of 21 years, I lost about 8 years of my families lives, is no longer appreciated. When cuts come, we are the first in line, when you are suffering from being wounded somewhere, you will be set aside, like the171k Veterans and retirees that are losing TRICARE Prime, most of which will not be able to afford Standard cost sharing. If yo love it as I did, by all means stay in, just know that your spouse should work to make ends meet, and yo are not in charge, simply because yo are not there, cheers.

  32. There is a slight difference in BAH. If a single service member is receiving it, then it’s BAH own right, if they are married its BAH w/Deps. There is a slight increase if you are getting it at the dependents rate. On most bases there is a housing shortage. You are lucky to get on sometimes. Sometimes I see lower enlisted with what appears to be a bigger a house than senior enlisted, but it’s all in the layout. Unless the house is brand new and you have seen the floor plan, chances are they are same size if you are in the same housing area. Even if you aren’t. Housing tends to be about equal across the board. I’ve lived in mostly older homes, with only one or two having been renovated.

  33. We did a study on BAH after our BAH was cut at Minot when I was active duty. The way it was explained to us, the calculation is based on average rent that someone pays at your "station" in life + 90% of your utilities. In Minot, they took what each rank was living in on base, went downtown, calculated the rent + 90% of utilities. For example, single CGOs were placed in 1-2 bedroom apartments and the BAH was an average rent of a efficiency apartment plus 90% of utilities. CGOs with dependents they took a 3 bedroom apartment and calculated the average rent. O3s and O4s with dependents were expected to live in 2-3 bedroom town homes, and BAH was calculated as such. O5s were expected to live in single family homes, and so BAH was based on the average cost to rent a 3-4 bedroom single family home. I cannot speak as to calculating the cost of BAH for enlisted personnel, because the briefing was only geared to officers (as CGOs were the only group getting a large cut to BAH). I'm fairly certain that the calculation method hasn't changed.

    That being said, I think that BAH should be the same for E1-E3 and O1-O2, E4-E5 and O3, and E6-E9 and O4-O6, to make up for the change in BAH, taxable income should be increased for those that lose money in BAH, but there is no logical reason BAH should be that substantially different for officers/enlisted.

  34. My husband is an E3 and we live in base housing. We don't have kids, but we have 2 dogs who we treat as our children and provide well for. We're both college-educated, so we have students loans, which many other enlisted families don't have. We have to keep to a budget like everyone else and we simply live within our means. We buy almost everything secondhand and we sometimes go cruising around for items on bulk pick up nights. So for those who think BAH should be based on number of dependents, why should we penalized for choosing not to have children? We still have bills like everyone else. If we chose to live off base, we'd have to pay extra for our dogs, one of whom is a big boy, and we would spend a lot more in gas and utilities. Frankly I'm sick and tired of all these really young couples on base complaining about being broke, meanwhile they have a baby and another one on the way. If you can't afford to have kids, then don't have them. It's really that simple. Don't blame the military. And if you're of the mindset that "God will provide," that's fine. Just don't complain if you're still broke.

  35. BAH is not exactly a benefit, if you look at the base pay for military personnel it ROUGH to say the least if you asked them and their families to survive off just that and depending on where you lived (high cost of living). I disagree with the officer comparison however and never really thought about it until now. Officer base pay is much higher than the enlisted, and that is expected due to the rank structure/responsibilities. But that is the only place you should see the difference, not in a housing allowance. Do the officers need bigger houses than their enlisted? have bigger families? no, all this relates to HOUSING. Our housing in theory should be the same!, I am not sure how a Captain in less years than an E-5 earns a large amount more than me in BAH? Base pay yes, but last time I checked we have the requirements and needs for housing. Quick way to cut money is right there, make it proportional to the others rank.

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