DoD May Slash Your Housing Allowance


Think your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is safe from the long arm of sequestration? Think again.

According to this Army Times article the Pentagon is considering cuts to BAH rates as a way to find continued savings within the Defense Department.

Most BAH rates change slightly every year after DoD conducts its survey of housing costs. Using a complicated series of metrics that takes into account things like housing supply and demand and the average cost of a home for a snapshot of family types and sizes, DoD decides whether to lower or raise any given rate. Servicemembers who already live at a location where a rate has been lowered continue to receive the higher rate, while newcomers receive the lower one. If there is an increase everyone benefits.

One of the ways DoD could find BAH savings, the article says, is to lower rates across the board so that troops are paying about 20 percent of their housing costs out of pocket, just like they did prior to 2001. Another way would be to subject everyone to a new, lower rate instead of allowing those who already live at a location to stay under the old, higher rate. Still another option could be “slowing growth” of rate increases.

Read more: Cutting BAH? Let’s Not Loose Our Minds

I don’t know about you, but in this family we pick our house based on our BAH rate so that we have enough money to cover both the house itself and our water, electric, gas and internet (provided I can control myself with the air conditioner). If we had to pay 20 percent of our housing costs out of pocket we would probably be OK, but we would definitely need to reexamine our budget.

But not everyone is so lucky. Large families in lower pay grades or those in very high cost of living areas often have a hard time finding a place where they can cover all of their housing rental expenses with BAH. Some families buy their home because their mortgage is lower than their rental costs. And then there are the folks who want more house than they really need or can afford. I know of one family who is spending $1,000 more than their BAH each month so that they can live on a lake.

When I told my husband about this plan his response was immediate.

“Easy. If the rate goes down we’ll move on base.”

You can bet that his reaction is the same as everyone else. But wait times for housing at some bases are already obscene. Here at Fort Campbell we chose to live off post rather than find a temporary place and wait seven months for an on-post home. Lowering the rates will likely result in a rush on base housing, leaving some families out in the cold to fend for themselves and drain their pocket books.

Some of you are thinking that lowering the BAH rate for everyone is a good thing. After all, everyone else in the world doesn’t get paid an additional tax exempt amount on top of their paycheck for housing expenses. Why should the military be so special?

And while that may be a reasonable point for families who are stationed in normal, low cost of living places like Clarksville, Tenn. or Columbus, Ga., plenty of families have been sent by the military to places like Hawaii or Monterey, Calif. Without additional cash each month military families could never afford even the cost of gas in those places, much less a place to live.

What do you think? Is reducing the amount you are paid for housing a good idea? Will you still be able to pay your bills if you start receiving $800 instead of $1,000 for housing each month or $1,280 instead of $1,600?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

376 Comments on "DoD May Slash Your Housing Allowance"

  1. mongolberry | August 8, 2013 at 8:43 am |

    Also, without BAH a soldier (especially lower enlisted) gets paid an obscenely low amount of money. No one in their right mind would join or stay in the armed forces getting paid $10.00 an hour or so with no extra pay for working over 40 hours a week.

    • armed forces are paid 24/7 they're getting more like .50-2.00 an hour

      • ok so that arguement is horrible. no one military member except maybe special forces operators work 24/7. Even duty posts are hardly work for 24/7. If infantry units have rest peroids or breaks. Gimme a break with the 24/7 deal.

        • Whether they are working or not, our servicemembers must remain within a certain distance of their command unless they are on leave in the event of a call back. Essentially they are subject to recall 24/7 so yes, they are paid 24/7.

        • the first mel | August 14, 2013 at 10:40 pm |

          I'll remember to tell the SDO that the next time he calls my husband at 1AM, and then again at 1:30AM. Better yet, I'll ban all contact from work that doesn't fall into the 9 to 5, 5 days a week time frame. Oh, and I should probably tell those wives who go to my husband's office at the end of the work day and spend a couple hours telling him about issues with their families that they expect the command to help with to step off because after 5 he's mine. I also better tell all the Marines he works with to stay out of trouble, after work hours, so that he doesn't have to deal with their problems during our family time. **Please apply heavy sarcasm throughout the above**
          They gave my husband a work phone for a reason. He is expected to be able and capable of handling whatever issues come up, even during his "off time". So yeah, I consider his job to be a 24/7 type of job.

        • yes they are paid 24/7… Reason so is they are on call 24/7 and have to move at the drop of a hat.

        • I am armed forces. Depending on where I'm stationed and what I'm doing, I may be doing a bunch of work or I may just be doing an average days work. I do not get overtime. There have been times when I was told that I had to deploy tomorrow and I was going to be gone for 7 months. There have been days where I have not slept for 3 days. My BAH is okay, it's not great. If my BAH was cut, I may not be able to support myself. If I had a family, I probably would not be able to support them.

    • Pretty sure this is the whole point.


      A Petition to stop this has been started. Share, sign, spread the word.

    • karen harward | August 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

      The base pay for lower enlisted falls within the US Poverty guidelines. BAH is essential to to keeping soldiers out of poverty!

    • Sully Buttes | August 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

      poor military members, getting free healthcare and free college :(

      • Sully, it’s a pretty good deal. You should give it a try. I espesially enjoy the countless months away from my family and changing our address every couple of years. People actively trying to kill me while I’m on my little vacations is just an added bonus.

        • To add to that watching my brothers in arms die possibly getting captured and tortured in in humane ways and defending the rights of fucking garbage like sully. Hey sully here’s some advice if you wanna talk trash about the service get the fuck out of America

      • you think this is completely free?

      • I am sick of stupid people. After 22 yrs of service combat deployments medical issues and doing what I can to be an example for new enlisted personnel, politicians that have no concept of sacrifice want pay cuts that effect the whole military family that is patriotic and trying to hang in there for the organization. How about changing politicians pay and benefits. The expertise leaves the military because the outside pay better. How do we keep spending money to train and educate troops then send them packing just to hire more and spend more money to train them.

        • Juana Scribner | August 12, 2013 at 9:54 am |

          Thank you TJ. well said
          I think that instead of cutting the military they should cut all the Senators and Congres. How about that. But of course they only wants to cutt the middle calss.

        • T.J. I agree 100% this is such a disappointment to hear that the government is trying to hurt everyone in our armed forces. I am so tired of hearing the words pay cut when so many of us are trying to save the little bit that is left over. The sacrifice that the men and women of the armed forces make are so huge compared to our politicians and the policy they bring. More support for our armed forces and the families that have chosen to serve our nation needs to be valued and a better quality of life. It’s not just about money, but about the respect for all of the sacrifices that are made through out the daily lives of each individual and purpose in which our country was founded upon. Love to all of you who have served in the armed forces and who are currently serving.

        • T.J. I agree 100% this is such a disappointment to hear that the government is trying to hurt everyone in our armed forces. I am so tired of hearing the words pay cut when so many of us are trying to save the little bits that is left over. The sacrifice that the men and women of the armed forces make are so huge compared to our politicians and the policy they bring. More support for our armed forces and the families that have chosen to serve our nation needs to be valued and a better quality of life. It’s not just about money, but about the respect for all of the sacrifices that are made.

      • The free college/GI bill start after WW2 due to a lot of vets coming home from the war. A lot were injured. So the military and goverment had to find a way to train them so the have something to do with their lifes after their time with the military is done. As to the free health care. The reason it's free is do to fact that both the goverment and military are going to be sending us in harms way. They need us as healthy as posible. But I doubt you would truly understand what it meens to sacrifice for something greater than yourself.

        • Not truly free! For one they pay for a specific amount per month for it for the 1st year, or least my husband did and he joined in 1997. I realize that is small amount compared to the amount they get out of it, but still NOT FREE! Not to mention we all pay our taxes too, thank you very much so again NOT FREE!

      • Pretty sad that Sully didn’t join the military he would have a better understanding of getting deployed and getting his butt shot at. Ignorant peon

      • Silly Sully, the health care in the Military is not free. We pay monthly premiums and co-pays and satisfy out of pocket annual deductibles just like everyone else.

      • You’re headed down a road you don’t want to travel. If its such a great deal why don’t you give a try on 10 month deployment.

      • Look here Mr. Sully, you are completely ignorant!!! You have no idea what you are saying to people that have been to hell and back!!! Why don’t you get out from behind your little computer and say that to even a spouse!!!
        NONE of it is free except, your little “right” to speak your mind!! And you can only do that because our soldiers (not yours) fight for that freedom! So next time, THINK, before you ever open your mouth again!!!
        Ashamed that you are an American!

      • EXCUSE YOU SULLY, I don’t know where you came from but you are one of the non sense politicians.FYI military personnel don’t get any free education and health benefits. We pay for our education and health benefits in our own sweat and blood. If u don’t know what you’re talking about SHUT YOUR MOUTH. IGNORANT PEOPLE .

      • healthcare isn't free. I am so over how ill informed people are about the actual benefits that military members receive.

      • Gee…small price to pay for the sacrifices they make. Btw, do you carry the same attitude toward inmates in prison? They get free college, free housing, and free healthcare and they broke the law…at least the servicemembers havent broken the law.

      • Free healthcare? No, it comes of their checks before they even see it. Free college? Not unless you've been in for a while. You don't think that the men and women who serve their country should have the opportunity to go to college? If they had to pay out of pocket, theyd never be able to afford it (most lower enlisted live below poverty) and when they get out they would be un employed and living on streets, off the government or, in McDonalds jobs. Why would anyone sign up for the military knowing they will be homeless and jobless when they get out. and they are wanting to cancel this, meanwhile the are paying for illegal immigrants to go to public schools, get free lunches free healthcare and don't forget the amount of money we pay in taxes that goes to those in prison. Ifthe government really wanted to save money, they would stop giving themselves huge bonuses every year for doing (or not) the same job. Those "poor" military members are part of a group of people who fight for your right to say such ignorant garbage

    • And why aren't soldiers getting out because of these thing? Oh that's right because right now we get paid a lot more in the military than we could in the civilian world if you add up all the pay and benefits. It's pretty sad when an E3 with 1 year of service is making more than my wife who is a teacher with a Bachelor's degree and four years experience. Grow up people.

      • As a CWO, I make about half what my friends who got out at the 12 year mark make. I don’t do this for the money and I agree that junior guys get paid very well. My wife’s degree is in education as well, but I don’t remember anyone telling her to pack her bags to go get shot at or blown up. She just puts up with me doing that.

        • Master Chief | August 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

          A CWO makes close to $100,000 a year plus benefits. So you make great money, don't fool yourself. I am military and retire next year.

          • I’m certainly not complaining about my pay. It’s certainly not $100k even with BAH but its not bad. I routinely turn down offers for $150k to $160k. Admittedly, that is as a contractor and directly related to what I do. I plan to retire and go home to teach history for less than half what I make now.

      • I don’t know what you do, but even with “benefits”, my husband makes about half of what he could make in the civilian sector as a civil engineer. Benefits are decent, but they do not cover things like glasses, which we spend about 1200 a year on (one of my sons lenses alone are nearly 400), not to mention things like braces coverage barely scratches the surface. So yeah, the military are over paid…..

      • I'm not really getting the comparison between a service member and a teacher. Does your wife deploy or has she ever been shot at on a regular basis at her teaching job? Or is she just part of that generation that thought having a bachelors degree would make wealthy within her first four years out of college? And if you really want to talk about benefits, how about the opportunity to be home every night, weekend, holiday, and possibly most of the summer? Not likely a benefit extended to most E-3's. If you want her to make more money have her look into a DODEA teaching position. Generally they make more then the surrounding public school districts, unless you live in an area with a very high cost of living.

      • army wife 2007 | August 13, 2013 at 8:46 pm |

        Feel free to tell your wife to pick up a weapon so she can make more if that's the only consideration……

        My husband serves because it is an HONOR to do so. He comes from a long line of servicemembers, and this is all he has ever wanted to do. However, given what he gives up, we should not have to worry about paying our bills.

        By the way, my husband and I BOTH have degrees, so please spare up your arrogance (and ignorance).

    • I totally agree. I enlisted in the US Navy in 2001 and was stationed in San Diego, CA as my first duty station as an E-3. In 2004, I re-enlisted and was transferred to Washington, DC which is just as expensive. Although, at that time I had grown in rank to the E-5 status, it was still an expensive cost of living in this area. If I were thinking about returning to the Armed Forces on a full-time basis, This would be enough to change my mind to not make this decision as it would not be in my best interest. Our members of the US Armed Forces should not have this added stress while serving our country. That is ridiculous.

    • Bright eyes | August 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm |

      It is ridiculous! We are at Fort Wainwright in Alaska and we are expected to cover 30% out of our pocket up here already. That is $600/mo! And due to that reason… We already live on post. This post is one people can't afford to live off pst at decently without struggling if you have the average 3 kids and parent staying home. Alaska is the only place I've seen in 18 yrs that already makes you pay 30% out of your pocket for housing. It is difficult and there will be a rush and long lines of housing… If you think it's bad now… It will get worse! (Housing here is barely existent for E-7 and above and the there isn't enough rental properties in fairbanks area to accommodate the military, that people are forced to buy homes because they have no other options here.

      • Wait, so three kids is an average? STOP HAVING KIDS!!! problem solved. PS in CO we paid 20 percent out of pocket, not including utilities.

        • Bright eyes | August 14, 2013 at 4:13 am |

          Wow.. A very childish response! So if you had any idea what the army's opinion and stance was even 12 yrs ago. When I wanted to not have more than two.Children….. You would keep your ignorant mouth shut! You paid 20% more in Colorado by choice; not because of what the military has calculated and authorized. You should really research what the Army considers adequate housing! You'd be surprised. I have researched and I've called bullshit and found appropriate channels in different states we have lived and have been instrumental in getting them to re-evaluate bah in areas and was successful in helping get 1 county in Oregon BAH changed. We too paid 20% or more before 2001…. back when my husband in 1998 was an E-5, brought in $1,600 a month… This included Bah, bas and base…. And we barely made it with just 1 kid. Back when our food bill in WA was only $200 a month. "I'm sure you voted for "change" too". How's that working out for ya?!

    • In my opinion, mil to mil BAH should go. Leave the single bah alone. Why should 2 married mil members make double housing?

      • army wife 2000 | August 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm |

        Because it is a military benefit available to ALL servicemembers. Why should they give up any of their entitlements because of who they choose to marry?

    • In my opinion, mil to mil BAH should go. Leave the single bah alone. Why should 2 married military members make double housing?

  2. If they want to dispense with BAH, they would have to seriously consider raising wages. Most other businesses in the country actually take the cost of living into account when setting their wage structure. For most lower enlisted with family, that would mean living below the poverty line. Without family, they would be hovering near the line. I think this will happen when hell freezes over.

    • When you raise minimum wage, the cost of living and food goes up so your not really making anymore money than before.

    • the military doesnt deserve any more than they get paid. Especially enlisted.

      • Nick , you clearly haven't served. Take the pay of any military member and divide it by 365 days 24hrs a day and see what you come up with…… Waitresses in this country make more than that…..

        • Barbara you math need to be adjusted a little, like monthly base pay divided by 160 hours to start with! You math is a pipe dream!
          Might consider bringing back when an E5 and below need the CO's permission to marry also.

  3. Primal Smoke | August 8, 2013 at 10:04 am |

    We are at Ft Myer, and I can tell you for a fact that without a high BAH we would not be able to afford to live in the Arlington/DC suburb area. We live in a small 2 bedroom duplex with 2 dogs, a cat, and a baby and can barely cover all of our housing expenses as it is so I really don't know how we would manage if we had to move to a smaller place. We certainly are not living in the "lap of luxury"

  4. In the area we're at, we would live in some scary neighborhoods with horrible schools if we wanted BAH to cover utilities also. It was hard enough to find a place that the BAH even covers rent!

    • You are soo right! We're AGR and everywhere we have been stationed, finding housing that is barely acceptable(once, the only place we could find to rent was a 500 square foot duplex for three people)can be impossible, if you want the BAH to cover rent and utilities. Everywhere we have been, we pay out of pocket for utilities(electric, gas, water, sewer) This simply so hubby could go away without worrying about drug dealers having shoot outs on the front steps. We don't have on base housing to consider. Not an option for those stationed remotely.

    • I agree completely. We already sacrifice in many areas, but I refuse to sacrifice on my children's education!

  5. It might be a blow to our finances but some luxuries might have to go to cover it. We do not have debt in our house and save every month don't just blow it and rack up our credit cards. People want to have what they can not afford and don't care about the repercussions. Everyone has to have it now….so if the bah went down it would stink and we would have to adjust where it all will go. People who go over on purpose just so they can have the luxuries that they can't afford are going to have to find a way to deal with their overspending in the first place. If everyone would get what they can afford the whole housing crash would not have happened. I know that the businesses were partially to blame but also the people too….nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions anymore. I know that we can not afford to live in a million dollar house but some do not care and do it anyway and then cry because they had to sell it or can not really afford it and are getting deeper into money issues every month.

    • :::blink blink::: Rent is a luxury?
      Here's your gold star and your cookie. Congratulations your debt free life and your ability to live in an area where you don't have to make a choice to come out of pocket for non extravagant, basic standard of living rentals. In the meantime we'd love an invite to any Million Dollar Military house warming party you hear of.

      • Yes, it is a luxury. So is eating and staying warm or cool enough to survive. lol

        • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm |

          Amen. But proper clothing is NOT a luxury. So let me get this straight…we should spend our money at the PX on overpriced designer clothes and proper shoes and then go buy a tent to live in so we are living within our means…maybe I can find a tent that fits in a Coach bag. The idiocy of these comments is hysterical.

      • Food and rent cone out first then luxuries…it is manageable. We are lower enlisted we don’t have every fancy thing there is and we also don’t blow our money on crap that we can not afford the basic necessities come first. If the house is to expensive for us then we either cut bavk n cable and do not get that new pair of shoea and a purse that I “need” right now. People don’t manage the money they get because they have to have everything now to keep up with everyone else. I don’t need the new iphone if it does not work with how much I can afford that month. I see it everyday with the people who cant handle their money and after a week they are struggling to pay their bills and to find food for their babies.

        • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

          My husband is senor enlisted…we don't even have cell phones…you know why? We are trying to cover our housing costs up here in Siberia. Once upon a time, I would have responded just like you. You don't know, until you know. There are duty stations where $1200 rent will get you 800 sq ft with the ceilings caved in, no potable water, and no toilets. True story. So…count your lucky stars you haven't been stationed there yet.

          • Amen!

          • We've been stationed almost in Siberia. The Finger Lakes can be very expensive to rent. Try to heat! A 500 SQUARE foot duplex, no insulation, MOLD in the walls and drug dealers shooting it out two houses over. BAH covered everything but our copays for medicines for illnesses from the mold. The floor was falling in. Bugs and mice were rampant. We finally found a little better place, no insulation and only a little mold, no mice but there were bees in the walls.

          • You seriously arent comparing the Finger Lakes region of NY to Alaska. I really hope youre not. I KNOW the cost of living in the Finger Lakes region of NY and its not nearly as bad as what youre trying to make it out to be. And if you rented a place in NY without insulation, thats your issue…not the cost of living. I grew up in Rochester, so Im extremely familiar with the area and Im sorry but you're seriously exaggerating normal conditions. We have a 100yr old 2.5 story, 1400sq foot house that we heat with natural gas in the winter for less than 200/month in Rochester. We currently are stationed in Norfolk and our electric bill is 200/month for a 60 yr old 1400sq foot house.

    • Your mate must be a senior officer or something and you wouldn't care about the struggles of lower enlisted. We're struggling just to get by. If you cut BAH it would be the next step to putting us out on the street and having the people who defend this country and put our lives on the line for an ungrateful nation, to not just fight for freedom but to fight just for our families to eat.

    • My husband and I live in a dual income house. We purchased our home, but if we don't get bah we couldn't afford our home on my salary alone. With gas at 4.29 in our area and my husband driving 1 hour to base and student loans many "regular" people who are like us cannot afford even a small house. JES you obviously have no idea how the real world works. We couldn't afford to live near base because prices on homes there are triple from where I live. Most regular people do know the repercussions of racking up credit cards but have no choice. I'm sorry but if I had a choice to pay for my gas and food with a credit card I would if it was my last option. You are very ignorant to the monetary problems in the us which began Ilona ago.

  6. We would absolutely not be able to afford where we live if our BAH was lowered. We live in Fredericksburg, VA and our rent is above our BAH. We just PCS'd here and I have yet to find a job. This is unacceptable.

  7. We just bought a home in Colorado Springs because BAH for this area couldn't get us a safe place for what we needed and all on base housing in completely full. We bought our house taking into account our BAH. If it was cut we MIGHT be able to make it depending on how much it was cut but we'd sure be scrimping. I say that's ridiculous for the family of a man who risks his life for this country. We already have paid off one of our cars to have less monthly debt, cut out cable and no longer have AT&T for cells phones. Were careful with our money so we can own our home comfortably.

    • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |

      We did this in WA for the same reason…then we got PCS'd…and now at 40 years old I am not sure we ever make up the financial damage it did to us. We lost our behinds. And we didn't buy a fancy house or even an expensive house…and trying to off load that house in this economy next to ruined us financially.

      • We have a house in WA that we cannot get rid of either after PCS’ing to Fort Bragg. It has been difficult trying to make sure we have good renters and a good property manager. If they cut our BAH we will be in trouble. We just refinanced that house because we were paying $200 more a month in the mortgage than what we got for rent and we have to cover the Home Owner’s association fees because you can’t really find housing out there where there is not a homeowners association. It is a disservice to our troops for all they sacrifice. Maybe Congress should consider cutting their pay to make up for the losses. Just saying.

      • Colorado Springs is BOOMING for rentals, we bought a house when we were stationed there on a cul de sac walking distance to one of the best D20 schools and it's never sat empty for more than a week and the rent we get pays our entire 15 year mortgage. I will say Denise if you can swing the 15 year payments, if you have to sell or rent when you PCS you will be in a MUCH better place financially then if you are on a 30 year.

    • I know the feeling!!!! We are in Colorado springs to and to be in a nice area 2 bedroom 1 bath house is running us a grand!!!!

      • dang, look into houses, we get 1800/month for our 5 bed, 4 bath fully renovated house on a D20 cul de sac walking distance to the school with a large fenced yard. It seems that houses rent cheaper than apartments there.

    • My husband and I just got stationed at Ft Carson, CO from Ft Rucker, AL. We had to find a place 30mins from base just to be able to afford having a roof over our heads and that is with part of rent and utilities coming out of our pockets. If they cut BAH, we are completely screwed. The apartments out here are just as much as our house, if not more!

      • Rents out there have actually jumped in recent months because of the fires in Black Forest, it should go down in the winter

  8. sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |

    I love the nonchalant "Easy. If the rates go down we will move on base"…Really? You can just do that? Everywhere we have been there is a lengthy wait time…here the wait time for SNCO or Field Grade officers for housing is 2+ years….so, uh…how do we just "EASY move on post!!!!!"

    • For us AGR families, that isn't even an option. It isn't doesn't exist for us.

    • Amy_Bushatz | August 8, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

      We definitely CANNOT do that, as I noted ;-). There's a reason we didnt move on there to start with!

    • A challenge for me, which is not with the article but with the overall concept, is that, as a single officer, I don't get the option to live on base, period. DoD Civilians and retirees still get priority over me on bases that allow them to live on-base.

      So if you chop my BAH down to 80%, I'm either taking a pay hit until I qualify to live on base or I have to accept living in a place that is only 80% of what I'm supposed ot merit based on my rank.

      Some people say "well, you're single, so get a housemate", but eventually the concept loses its appeal. (Besides, there's no saying a married couple couldn't have housemates to defray their costs, as well, but I don't see that happening much.)

      • You're not taking any kind of hit. You retain the higher rate because you had it when the rate was lowered.

  9. My husband is a 1st Lt and we live off base in a small 2br, 1ba house. It’s not fancy, but we live in SoCal so everything is expensive. We just moved off base so we could have a smaller house and be closer to the beach. As it stands our BAH barely covers our rent and utilities. We don’t have cable and are on a share plan for our cells to save money. We are in track to be debt free in a couple years (student loans), but if bah went down, somehow we would have to tighten even more. I work a few PT jobs and am trying to start a few small businesses.

  10. I'm an E-4 stationed on a base with max occupancy so all E-4 and above must live in town. We make $1979 a month in base pay which equates to $23,748 a year. If we assumed a 40 hour work week (and I think we all know that we may well work many more hours a week than that, especially with watches, etc.) we would be earning aproximately $11.40 an hour. Given that we are all away from homes and families, have those watches, overnights, deployments etc, and because the expectation is that the military is 24/7, if we assume a 24 hour pay period we are paid $2.71 an hour. The money should not come out of a servicemember's pocket. The savings should come from cuts in weapons spending, reducing waste and inefficiency in all forces, eliminating all unnecessary deployments, and in reducing the amound of travel and thereby reducing travel costs. There are a million ways to find money. Why it has to come from those sacrificing some of the best years of their lives in the name of their nation is beyong me.

    • Anon,

      Very well said. So, here is the deal. The gov. does not care about you or anybody else. It is much eaiser to cut benefits and troops, then actually look at the waste of billions every year. I worked for the gov for 39 years, and I am thankful for the employment. I gave my all every day, and got the shaft many times over but I still worked hard. Because my God, Jesus takes care of me and my family. If you are unhappy with your situation or future situations, then start planning to go in another direction. This my best advice—To be positve you have some very good ideas about cutting expenses, but our leaders Do Not Think that Way—They Only Think About Themselves…..Sad to Say

      • __The government should change their policy of "Use it or Lose it." If agencies were rewarded for cost savings, maybe at the end of the fiscal year there would not be so many frivolous purchases to just use up the money. Prime example, do you really need a brand new printer when you have a 2 year old one that works perfectly fine? Or do you need contractors supporting Government employees that really do not add value, but you have always had the support?
        There are many ways that the Government could save money across the board. Taking money away from the people that train and work to protect us is not the way to go. Men and women will leave the military and more will decide not to go in because they can make a better living in the private sector.

    • Well said. Another place the government and military could reduce costs is on unecessary expenses. The amount of money the government wastes is ridiculous. I don't work for DoD, but I'm sure it is the same as other government agencies. I see millions of dollars wasted on IT databases, equipment, and other services that go no where. Does a federal employee really need an iPhone, iPAD, and laptop to do their job? I see so many federal employees use iPhones and iPADs for their personal use becasue the agency can not make it very viable to use in the workplace. And that equals 2 software licenses being purchased for one person so that they can connect to their government accounts.

      • Tobe, are you sure about that?

        I am a retiree and also a DOD federal employee. It is illegal for government issued phones and laptops to be used for personal business.

    • Housing rental cost in Cheyenne, WY is rediculous in comparison for low quality homes that have no upgrades to efficiency or safety (Asbestos, lead paint, old funaces, old rusting pipes, insect infestations,etc.). Landlords and apartment managements do not take care of the apartments and do not have a good upkeep. Rent keeps raising and raising around here because of the greed of owners who owned these foundations for ten to thirty years or more. The rent should have dropped for how small the apartments and some houses are, but have not. Taking away BAH can make more military financial situations arise and may cause families and single military members to go into difficulty and more other government entities to cover. It is the military purposes and values in ourselves is why we serve, so being in places away from where we entered the service that are not where we want to settle for retirement, we need the BAH to survive in that area to cover what is needed to support ourselves, our families and the utilities to keep the round-the-clock operations that we came in and still serve to do.

  11. russellsvocation | August 8, 2013 at 11:31 am |

    Wow, once again making the military folks choose between housing and food or gas and food, diapers and gas, electricity and baby food…
    Make the folks who make the rules, live by the same rules.

  12. Instead of attacking the military and our family, why doesn't those who sit in congress take a 30% pay cut and lose 50% of their expense accounts? They should not be getting paid federal salaries as they are state representatives and those states should be 100% paying for their representatives wages and benefits! They drop our BAH anymore and we won't be able to afford our rental ( which is the cheapest on the block) and our utilities.. Leave us alone!

    • Except section 6 of the Constitution mandates that senators and representatives be paid from the United States Treasury.

      And if the BAH is reduced in your area, it does not affect you. Because you already receive the higher rate, you will retain that higher rate, and those moving in to that area will pay the lower rate.

      • Sure, but you do realize that at some point, we are all moving again and will have to deal with the lower rates, right? We have moved 10 times in 16 years. We are currently in the DC area and the BAH doesn't even begin to cover our costs.

  13. Sadly, when BAH is raised rent goes up in that area. Just gecause the government is looking to save money on the backs of our soldiers doesn't mean that rents will go back down. Already there are families who are at the poverty line! If BAH was lowered, then more families would fall at or below the poverty line! We would be sqeezed tight if BAH went down! We have a modest house in a modest neighborhood. And it's not all about just the rent or mortgage amount, certain areas have high utilities!

    • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

      I think you make two excellent points. We are stationed at Drum…the BAH rates are very high…because there is next to no housing available on post and its a captive rental market. Renting out to the military is how the locals make a living. There is nothing else here. Your second point on utilities is also spot on. If you live in any extreme weather climate, like up here at Drum where the winters are basically Siberia or say White Sands where you live with your air conditioning on not to have heat stroke, your utility bills on the economy are quite high.

      • We are also at Drum and you are spot on. Impressive that they keep building more and more apartment buildings but claim there is a “housing shortage” in Watertown and on post so that rent can continue to be higher than in any of the similar small towns south of here.

  14. Another avenue might be reducing or doing away with dual-military couples both receiving BAH. I realize if they have dependents one of the allowances is at the “single” rate, but that’s still a lot of money that goes into their pockets versus offsetting their actual housing costs the way it is intended.

    • Thats ridiculous….Especially when there is no guarantee that the "dual members" even live in the same area.

      • Not really, because the miltary knows where they're assigned. If they're assigned to the same base or bases close enough to each other (such as the 5 separate military installations in Colorado Springs area), you can expect they're living together. If they're able to live together, there's NO reason to be paying them separate allowances that would provide two separate dwellings.

        But if they are separated, such as one commander I had who was stationed in Florida while his wife was in Colorado, then yes, they need 2 housing allowances because they can't live in the same house.

        If they're married and living in the same house, give the "with dependent" rate to the senior raanking spouse and then don't give an allowance to the other spouse because his / her housing is already provided for via the senior ranking spouse. No rates need to go down, you just don't needlessly double-dip.

    • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 10:04 am |

      I see that as punishing dual military. BAH is part of a "total compensation package". So what you are saying is dual military should be paid less than nondual military. That's not fair. That is no answer. These posts really frustrate me. This is not the time to be turning on one another: guard vs. active duty, single soldiers vs. married, dual military vs. single military. NONE of these need to be on the table. You know what does? Idiot contracts for the R & D, acquisitioning and fielding of three uniform changes in a handful of years. Paying contractors to do jobs which already exist as MOSs. Et al. Stop attacking one another…you are only less than 1% of the population. I think YOU ALL have earned every friggin penny you get. Infighting is ridiculous you are fighting the WRONG people.

      • I think the issue is that people can see 2 different things as the "entitlement".

        Some see your housing allowance, itself, as an individual entitlement. They are going to be among those who say both members deserve their own BAH.

        From my perspective (and possibly Drew's), QUARTERS are what you're entitled to, not your BAH. Your BAH is additional money given to you because the government cannot or does not provide you appropriate on-base housing. So they take a look first at your rank, then at your dependent status to determine the type of housing you merit (2 bedroom apartment, 3 bedroom townhome, single-family home, etc). Then, they see what it costs to rent such a place on the local market. Only after all that is done is a monetary value attached to your housing allowance.

        • In my case, they seen an O-3 with no dependents. They decided a 2 bedroom townhome is the kind of housing commensurate with my status. Then, they looked at the local market and found I need $1707 a month to rent appropriate housing. Only after that do they give me $1707 in BAH. I’m not entitled to the money, but to a certain level of housing. $1707 simply happens to be the amount of money the government needs to give me so that I can rent it.

          • That’s why I say “hey, if one BAH provides appropriate quarters for both members, then you don’t need to pay two allowances”. If you give a “with dependents” BAH to the senior member, then he / she can afford housing the government says is commensurate with his / her rank AND with the fact they are not living alone. If the other member is equal in rank, then the housing is still appropriate for his / her rank and family status. If the other member is junior in rank, then the housing is actually ABOVE what is appropriate for his / her rank and status.

            Neither are being punished. Both of them still enjoy the QUARTERS they are entitled to, but the government isn’t paying that unnecessary second BAH.

          • the first mel | August 9, 2013 at 11:52 am |

            I understand the reasoning you put forth, but the dual military couple is being penalized for marriage. In a marriage with a service member and a civilian and both are employed, they are not penalized by a reduction in pay because they are a 2 income household. Let's say the civilian makes enough money to house them in something that is above what is required for the service member's rank. So with your reasoning, the service member doesn't need BAH because he is able to live in a home that is better than what he rates. You can't unfairly compensate a service member who lives in a 2 income household regardless of the military status of the service member's spouse.

          • Civilians don't get BAH.

          • Dual Army SPC | November 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

            Civilians in a normal salaried job make MORE than we do with Basic pay, BAH and BAS. So just because my wife is a SOLDIER we should not be punished and have part of her pay that she goes to work everyday and earns taken away.

            She works for the Army and earns her pay check and I do the same. Neither should lose part of our pay just because we are married. That is ridiculous. We earned it.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 11:54 am |

            For me this:
            "commensurate with his / her rank"
            Orchestrates every last thing wrong in the military in my professional opinion with my MA in Org Leadership from Gonzaga.
            And I'll just reiterate one more time BAH Is part of a "total compensation package". Its not some separate extra entitlement just floating around from nowhere.
            That's all I have left to say.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

            commensurate with his / her rank
            Is what I think is the root of every thing that is wrong in the military in my professional opinion with my MA in Org Leadership from Gonzaga. *snicker*
            And just to reiterate for the last time. BAH is not an "entitlement" as some extra just floating around out there item. It is part of a "total compensation package".
            And that's the last I have to say on this.
            PS: I am having issues posting, so if this goes twice…sorry.

    • Both of those military members in a dual-mililtary couple earn their compensation. To use this logic, why should military compensation provide different amounts for with dependents and without dependents. First, I don't think the couple is pocketing great sums of money; second – the intention of housing goes to a WWI concept to "house the troops."It took a great deal of effort to get this benefit. I'm a retire senior enlisted person, never married to another military member, I can recall when the time this entitlement did not exist, and military families were treated very poorly.

      • The military member and their families barely make ends meet. Surviving pay day to pay day is not way for our great American fighting force to treated. Entitlement like TSP and other benefits are meaningless unless the members can take care of their family.
        Entitlements need to be reformed, out dated and obsolete benefits are harmful and expense. The Military Departments need to be stripped of their authority to medal with the administration of the entitlements, Services have to eliminate the obstacles to military members getting their entitlements and Services Members need to take responsiblity for their actions, life within their means and be good roll models for the nation, their families and the world

        • So you're saying that servicemembers should be expected to live on $674/month base pay, with additional pay determined by rank, etc? Because those are the entitlements that other Americans get. If you can't work, the government will give you $674/month for food, housing, and utilities.
          As others have said, servicemembers are given a certain standard of living. If you want to make BAH pay, then it should be the same across the board for everyone in a rank, which would not be satisfactory. The military wants to make sure you have a place to live. If you live on post, you don't get BAH. If 2 married servicemembers live on post, they don't get 2 houses.

          • the first mel | August 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

            If you live on base, you do get BAH. It's a paper transaction. In the entitlements section on the LES, you get your BAH amount and then in the deductions section, the BAH amount is deducted for base housing. Just because you don't see it deposited in your bank account doesn't mean you don't get it.

          • Dual Army SPC | November 27, 2013 at 5:53 pm |

            YES YOU DO. If a dual military couple lives on base, the high ranking soldiers pay is taken for the housing and they still get to keep the lower ranking soldiers BAH. Do your research.

    • That theory wouldnt work bc alot of mil get mil roomates. So a married couple would get a pay cut while two roomates would bank.

    • I'm dual military (and the lower rank). I earned my commission just like my husband. I serve my country, I deploy, I leave my family, I have bills and expenses. Why shouldn't I too get BAH? Just becuase we got married and live together? ("Together" being a loose term seeing as in the last year we have been deployed seperately in different locations). Now I have to get up a benefit that everyone else gets because I'm married? No, no that isn't right. That is like punishing us for being married. If BAH does get cut then okay cut our BAH equally don't take mine completely.

    • You good Sir are the first individual I have seen post my similar thoughts. Holy crap. I read a few posts on here about how we would have to make cuts because we live in a house close to the beach and Im an E4 who just bought a house and my personal favorite the military is 24/7 so we get paid 2 dollars an hour. NO NO and heck NO. If you live by the beach you pay the price, your an E4 who bought a house good on you but you shouldve be financially counseled before doing so and exploring any ORM associated with a substantial purchase. Lastly the 24/7 is an analogy for the state of mind and professionalism a military member is held to. Not a testiment of the amount of work put in. Because any at enlisted member would say if they spoke the truth is a lot of time they are just sitting around waiting for word and always get told at the end of the day. Whew. Been holding that in for a while. Over 88,000 families draw dual BAH accross the branches. Think of how much money would be saved if they impelmented what you just stated

      • Think before you type Nick. In some places, no matter where you live, you live near the beach. Our rent equates to 1.00/sq foot of housing…we have a 1400 sq foot 1.5 story house on a 1/4 acre lot that was built in 1946. Dont get me wrong, we love the house, but it was what we could afford and not use all of our BAH on specifically rent. Our electric bill was 250 last month. Thats keeping our house at 77-78 degrees. Some of our utilities come out of pocket. We can afford cable b/c I work. We live near the beach, but then again everyone here lives near the beach. We dont have a car payment or large credit card payments and we dont have the latest and greatest things. We did upgrade to iPhones last year but its because he needed something a little more up to date and I found a need to use my phone as a mobile office during work hours. Our old phones couldnt do that. We dont pay for a landline, so we have a tracphone with a local number for when he goes out to sea so he can call once in a while or if I need him to. That being said, we also put 1/2 his monthly pay away and that pays the mortgage on our house in NY (he had the house before the military). Would we survive a cut in bah, yes, but it would be tough.

  15. There are better ways to fix BAH issues then to just cut them straight across the board. Dual active duty spouses who are residing together collecting two BAH's for the same residence is one that comes to mind. Housing that is privatized charging for only the cost, it costs to maintain housing and cover utilities. Why is the same house for an E-4 and E-8 require max BAH for both in base housing that's privatized. With privatized base housing they are allowed to have retirees, dod civilians and more living in housing on top of active duty. Your all competing for the same housing. While active duty have priority they still have to wait for available units if all are currently rented and leases expire. All remodeled units tend to go to everyone but active duty since privatized housing wants to keep all their units full. The active duty are the only ones at max BAH when dod civilian, retirees and others are getting a huge break in rent living in the same units in base housing units. I had damaged property living in base housing because the privatized company refused to enforce basic rules that military operated housing enforced. While I have enjoyed remodeled units in housing, I'm much more interested in having a unit free of mold, asbestos and other issues then having a new pretty counter top. I'm not saying this happens every where but it's been my experience. The whole base housing thing needs to be either base housing or not. The privatized deal is trying to make it both and I have no idea how that's supposed to be saving money for anyone. Not all areas have housing for bases you get stationed at. Base housing is not always an option to begin with.

    • Once again….DUAL MILITARY DOESNT MEAN SAME DAMN QUARTERS! Both people serve so they both rate the benefits. Cutting their pay checks just because of marriage is a really one sided approach. ESPECIALLY if they have 2 separate homes. Try to sell one???? LMAO. Thats like saying "more women getting off of the couch to contribute to the family's needs is what should happen". The absolute assinine hardship it creates to be dual military with BOTH parents in and out all of the time is something you should also take into account. I take it your probably a dependa. But youd be singing the same tune if you were actually AD,

      • LOL… "more women getting off of the couch to contribute to the family's needs is what should happen"

        As a spouse, and one who kinda feels the same way, that just made my morning. Although I would have said contribute to the families finances, because many of them do contribute to the needs by cleaning and cooking

      • I am horrified that the govt. continues to take away from those that defend our country and decrease the quality of life for then and their families. As a veteran, military spouse and DOD employee that is currently furloughed, this whole thing sucks ass!!! Wives have many roles, weather you work, are raising a family or both and taking cheap shots at one another is counter productive. We are stronger when we stand together.

    • Tiredofcomplaints | August 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

      We work for a base with private housing and we as DoD civilians are not allowed to live in quarters even when relocating our families at our expense. My husband makes the rate of an E6 but our cost of living here is under 4,000 a YEAR. We live and shop in the same places as military. We make far less than military after there tax breaks and insurance so while I understand it sucks the rest of us can do it. Speaking as a family who just lost 20% of our income in furlough.

  16. I hope my friends and family just enjoyed my huge write up on this on my FB page! Hoping to help civilians understand that we DON'T GET FREE HOUSING.

  17. No we won't. We always lived on base until we were stationed at our current base. My husband is stationed at a base that is over an hour away from the nearest base housing. Not to mention the base housing is privitized and this company nickles and dimes us. The nearest housing of any type is 30 minutes away from the base he is stationed at. However it is a very desirable area and so the housing prices aren't cheap. We are moving off base into a very modest home 30 minutes from his base to save money. If they cut our BAH we will be in trouble. We have no debt, own our cars, shop thrift shops, etc. We will be able to make it, but we won't have much for savings. That is scary because things come up in life(vet visits, car problems, etc) and we will be walking a tight line. Unfortunately my husband just re enlisted last yr. Even though he loves the military and it has been good to us, we will probably get out. We can't survive on this type of pay. We qualify for food stamps! We have never need to use them, but it is a shame that the pay is so awful. It is such a shame that he does amazing at a job he loves and that the military will have wasted all this money training him. What will the military turn into……

    • I am sorry we could go on and on. But we aren't living a great life. We don't have cable, I cloth diaper, we shop thrift stores, almost everything we have is used, I don't have a cell phone and my husband has a pay as you go phone, and we keep our house at 80 even when it is 115 out.

  18. Something to add… There have been months were my husband has averaged 120+ hours/week. He is an E-5 and receives flight pay. Without housing allowance that averages $5.82/hour. Never mind his training and education. He could make more at a fast food joint! Never mind we have 3 children to take care of. I just don't see how he can continue serving in the military, even though he loves it.

    • You could get a job.

      • sabrinacking | August 22, 2013 at 8:45 am |

        Depending on your duty station of course….I have worked my entire life, but some duty stations have nothing but menial minimum wage labor jobs. True story. At others, the cost of childcare would cancel out anything you could make. I always know one thing when I read posts like yours…you just haven't been al the way around the THINK you know everything…but you just don't.

    • Fast food workers have to pay 50% or more of their income for rent. Also, fast food workers are not guaranteed to get 40 hours a week – employers send them home at will. To even begin to be able to make a living, fast food workers have to work two jobs.
      Your BAH is like having a second income for free.

  19. This is absurd. If they want people to live on base then make more housing available. We already pay out of pocket too for some our bills and it's such crap. I don't understand why they feel the need to throw the military under the bus so they can keep their lifestyles. What about keeping their service members above poverty lines and with food on the tables. We shouldn't have to choose our ability to find safe housing because people with 'power' can't get their stuff together and pass a budget. I'm so over their crap and when I do try to contact my representatives it just falls on deaf ears. Wish they could live like us for a day or two.

  20. Shiloh Thompson | August 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |

    Here's my two cents as a Coast Guard housing petty officer who manages over 60 housing units, 30 barracks rooms, over a dozen duty rooms and several TAD rooms as well as conducting the BAH survey for my geographical area. I apologize, but this is about to get rather long winded.

    First, my disclaimer: I am it the Coast Guard, which is DHS, not DOD. The DOD's policies are different than those in the DHS. This is just to give perspective to you guys on what the inner workings of a housing office and how the BAH survey works, which is the same for the DOD and DHS.

    The Coast Guard recently made housing mandatory across the board for Coast Guard members INCONUS and OCONUS. Therefore, we have to maintain 100% occupancy across the board before any member, officer or enlisted, is released onto the economy. We are nearing the end of transfer season, and at this point in time are not maintaining our required 100% because of late orders getting cut with no replacements slated to move in, either. Multiple families have contacted us who currently live on the economy requesting to move into housing due to rising electrical costs in our area. Members who qualify for housing are any married member in any rate or rank. So, sorry officers, but you're going to be thrown into housing like enlisted people.

    Barracks rooms are there for any single member, E-5 and below. Yes, that's right, even if you're an E-5 you're technically supposed to be living in the barracks if you are single. Barracks, like housing, are supposed to be maintained at a 100%. So, based on that logic, technically the only people who should be living on the economy are single E-6's and above. We all know that's not the case, however, that's what it's 'supposed to be' on paper.

    Now, for the BAH survey. Submissions (properties) are supposed to be deemed what the civilian company who does the figuring considers 'adequate'. That means the property has to be in good, stable condition (structurally sound), in a hospitable environment (low crime areas, not next to highways, airports, etc), with no environmental risks (no asbestos, mold, lead paint, etc), not furnished (furnished rentals go for higher prices), and a reasonable price (sorry to the family paying extra to live by the lake – your place is deemed inadequate because its not reasonably priced). The survey also takes into account the area's utilities costs (gas, water, electrical, garbage and sewer – NOT cable or internet. Cable and internet are not neccesary for living and should be paid out of pocket or covered by COLA if applicable) and renter's insurance rates. Generally, these are priced a little higher than the average rate so that it is covered by your BAH. Primary MHO's, the housing officers for the area, submit the properties they find that meet all of these specifications. The civilian (emphasis on CIVILIAN – these are not military people) company will then call on each and every single submission and verify that it is a viable property or not. These guys sound a lot like telemarketers, so a lot of landlords tend to hang up on them. Unfortunately, that disqualifies the property in question if they can't verify that it is indeed an actual rental.

    I will put this into further perspective for you. My BAH for my rank is currently $1263/mo. I pay $1000/mo for rent, and anywhere from $145-175/mo for utilities. Therefore, my rent and utilities are covered by my BAH. Cable, Internet, and phone services are not coved by BAH nor will ever be covered by BAH. They're considered frivolous expenses, because let's face it, you don't need cable or Internet to survive. (I know a ton of people who don't think they can survive without either, but I promise you, you'll survive if you can't check Facebook every five minutes!)

    So, there you go. The inside scoop on housing and the BAH survey from someone who does this stuff for a living. I'm not sure what DOD policy is right now since I'm not actually in the DOD, but hopefully this might clear up a few questions you guys might have, or at least put things into perspective for you.

    • slroller94 | August 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

      Just a quick response about the Internet and phone. While I can see how cable isn't necessary, there are a lot of military spouses who work from home. Therefore, internet and phones are required. Military spouses are finding working from home a much easier option for a) relocation (especially on short notice) b) taking care of infants and toddlers at home and c) being able to provide a, probably modest, second income to make sure all areas of necessity are covered, as well making sure clothes, formula, diapers and other things can be paid for as they can add up very quickly as the child grows. You might be surprised about what basic necessities military pay and BAH don't cover for many families.

      In this day and age, working from home is one of the top options for military spouses, so these "luxuries" have become necessities for many military families.

      • Shiloh Thompson | August 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

        Unfortunately, it's still considered a luxury by the military's standards. Please don't think I'm disregarding your answer at all since I myself sell from my home for added income, but it's still something that isn't needed for basic living. Basic living being shelter, sanitation, etc. It's something that, in a pinch, you can live without. That's why BAH isn't figured to provide the luxury items. Cost of Higher Living Allowance however, is. There's even a section in the survey specifically for it. Of course, you only get COLA in areas where living expenses are astronomically higher than the national average.

        Again, BAH is for basic utilities like water, electrical and sewer, rent and renters insurance. Everything else is paid by the member.

      • The portion of Internet you use for work is a tax write off, so your point about spouses who work from home is basically a mute one. If you need the web for work, it’s a business expense, not something ones military spouse’s housing allowance should pay for.

        • ScottysGirl04 | August 14, 2013 at 12:03 am |

          The term is "moot" not mute. And I think the point of slroller94 was to point out that internet and phone are not just Facebook for everyone and that the last snide remark of you will live if you can't check fb every five minutes was not needed.

    • You may have housing available, many posts here, however, don't. We just PCSed to Germany and the first thing we were told was that government housing is full and we have to live off post. Mind you, we're not heartbroken over this, but when we drive by all the government housing that is currently empty and hear whispers of this or that place being held because some higher-ranking officer might PCS here, we do wonder…

      • Shiloh Thompson | August 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

        Germany is a tough one. My cousin and her husband were stationed there and they ran into the same exact problem. My suggestion is to try AHRN is for military only, and lists (or should list, based on how good whoever is managing it for your base) available housing in the area. It's basically like a real estate page for military members only. I update ours quite frequently, but I have a great relationship with our local landlords so they tell me what's open and what's not.

        The rumor mill is always going off about post housing. We have several housing units that are currently H-Coded (not able to be inhabited) because of exposed friable asbestos. We get complaints all the time that people want to move into them because they're in such a prime location. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want to because of the health concerns! Is the nature of the beast, unfortunately.

        Now, I'm not sure how good the housing authority over there is, but I know I'm always willing to field questions from members who ask me politely about the status of housing units. Please note the 'politely' in that statement, haha. It never hurts to ask directly, but be sure to do it nicely. I can't begin to tell you how many spouses and members I've had come rip roaring into my office demanding to know this, that and the other thing, and oh, did you know so and so's dog is barking, etc. Your best bet is to ask every few months, or to ask to be out on a waiting list for housing. Each base should have a list for two-, three- and four-plus bedroom houses. It might take a little while, but people are always getting late orders and transferring. Might not be a bad option for you!

      • Shiloh Thompson | August 9, 2013 at 12:36 am |

        For some reason my original comment got deleted… Germany is a tough one. My cousin and her husband were stationed there and they ran into the same exact problem. My suggestion is to try AHRN. You can Google it to find it. AHRN is for military only and shows available rental listings in the area you are PCSing to. Depending on how good your local housing authority is, it should be up to date with rental listings that are viable for members. Ours stays pretty up to date as I can get to it.

        As for on-post housing… Here's the thing. The rumor mills going on around and about housing are often times wrong. We all know how that goes. For example… We have several housing units that are not allowed to be inhabited because they have friable asbestos. But you can bet your butt people are spreading rumors that they're 'death houses' or that we're 'saving them for officers/senior enlisted'. No, that's not the case. They're getting abated and no one can live in them until they've been cleaned up. After that, there will be zero problems for people to inhabit them. Of course, that hasn't stopped a few members and their spouses from walking through them when they've accidentally been left unlocked by work crews!

        You can ask your local housing officer to be placed on a waiting list for housing. I know those often times get really long and tedious, but being on the list is better than not being on it. Your housing office should maintain a waiting list, if they're following the correct procedures. Plus, you can always call and ask politely whether or not there's openings or if the list has moved at all.

    • Amy_Bushatz | August 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

      Very interesting thanks for the insight!!

      For what it's worth our $1,600ish BAH covers our 4-bedroom home, our electricity/sewer/trash/water/gas and the internet bill. We don't pay for cable. So it's possible! :-)

      • Our BAH covers our mortgage on our main house, all utilities and the small amount we pay out of pocket for one of our rental houses…and both houses in question are on 15 year mortgages and both are in the best parts of town/best school districts.

    • I am not in the military but do work with the government for a large corporation. Try being told first you will have a pension and job for life. Then they cut your pension so not for a lifetime and partial benefits. Then 401 K cut if you dont stay there for the entire year. Then they cut half your dept and you end up doing the work of 3 people and outsource your job out of the country. No overtime since you are put on salary and lose your job if you don't go above and beyond no matter how many hours you work. This is the new world people — military pay is higher than a lot of kids coming out of college with debt and no job for a 4 year degree

      • I'll second that…we don't have a pension, and no 401k match…and healthcare for a single is a 300/month deduction, if your family is 5 or over that premium jumps to over a grand a month. I think a lot of spouses haven't worked on the outside for very long to appreciate just how bad things have gotten for private industry workers in the past 7 years. Heck, I graduated with a MASTERS and 94k in debt and made less at my first job then a married E2 with 4 years in.

      • Cut, do more with less, no overtime, going above and beyond, little recognition and long hours??? All you need to add is being called in the middle of the night and sent off to god knows where, leave your family for months/years at a time and miss all the special family occasions, and move to a place your company decides you "will" live and you too, can be in the military!!!

  21. shelley reddy | August 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

    Food for thought. We were previously stationed in Monterey and was on a waiting list for months. I then come to find out that there were over 60 homes available but that Lincoln “military” housing would rather rent those out to civilians under section 8 and make lots more $. Hummmm.

  22. Here is an idea!!!!! Get rid of the freaking contractors they have on the bases that now collect all the BAH and put it back to the ARMY!!!!!! It dont take a freaking genius to realize how much money the goverment is giving away to the civilan contractors that are now pockiting the BAH for on base and there is not even enough houseing for all of us to live in.

    • The contractors don't pocket the BAH. It pays for the construction loan (to build new homes and to renovate existing homes). Everything after the operating expenses and debt payments goes into a lock box for the sole use of improving the homes as approved by the military service. The contractor gets a management fee and a development fee for the services provided. Have people really forgotten what the homes used to look like before they were privatized? Or understand what it cost to maintain them even at that poor standard?

  23. I think if they lower our BAH we won’t be able to live off base. It costs too much to rent a home and pay utilities. We would be forced to move on base, which means we’ll be forced to get rid of one of our pets…definitely not a good option since pets are family too. I suppose housing will just have to allow extra pets :o/

    • Once again, if the BAH in your area is lowered, you will not receive the lower rate. Only those moving there after the lowering of the rate will get the lower rate.

      • Amy read again! It says they are considering throwing out that procedure. Therefor it would be across the board cuts!

  24. The government doesn't ever think of safety when lowering the amount we would receive. Typically, there is a very rough area surrounding the military posts and that is where most of us would end up if the BAH was lower which would stick families in an area with higher crime and shotty schools. We don't pick where we live and I don't think it is too much to ask for enough money to live in a safe neighborhood if they can't build enough housing to accommodate everyone on post. We are left alone for months on end, and safety is a priority. Maybe if they wouldn't have privatized housing, quit contracting out mowing, and some other wastes that we all see, they wouldn't have to consider this. Also, if they would have picked a better uniform from the get go, they wouldn't have wasted so much money on issuing ACU's that were not effective. Maybe they should quit issuing gear that doesn't get used… like the knee pads that they wear around their ankles. I can come up with a million and 1 ways to reduce waste and spending that won't hurt the Army family.

    • slroller94 | August 8, 2013 at 4:42 pm |

      Oh yeah, my husband and I rent one of the lowest priced apartments that will allow our dog. There's a fairly high crime rate here. I wanted to start a family here soon, but where we live is not the place I want my child. The wait for housing here is ridiculous, and this crappy apartment is in better condition than what we would receive on post anyway. I'm currently in school online and we only have one car, because I moved here from across the country and couldn't afford to send my car. With his random hours I would never be able to get a job, and a ride to and from work on the bus (if I worked Mon-Fri) would be $6 a day. We only pocket an extra $25-$50 a month, but because it's summer utilities have increased considerably so we actually take money out of savings every month just to cover groceries. So riding the bus would cost $120 a month, which regardless of the utilities situation, we would never be able to afford. We're getting out in 2015 and can't wait!! We'll just have to save up lots of money for medical when we have kids. This isn't worth it anymore.

  25. Ridiculous! We go to Monterey next year and with the bah given all we can afford now would be a one bedroom apartment. This is before cuts! As it is we already plan to live on post, if bah gets cut there is no way anyone would be able to survive off post.

  26. You want to cut BHA. I been in 10 years and I make $101. 00 a day. Does anyone go at the drop of a dime to defend our country overseas. In harm’s way. You want to save money let the people out of the service that wants to get out, cut pay from the top down. IE… THE PRESIDENT, CONGRESS, the management at McDonald’s make more then I do. You have civilian s do the same jobs that a service member specializing in.

  27. I have an Idea how about Congress takes a hit before taking away from the ones who fight your battles for you, kinda stupid if you ask me.

  28. Lowering BAH shouldnt even be a topic. I wont mention where I am stationed at but there is so many safty concerns about on post housing that there is no way in HELL i would subject my family to that ( Serial Rapist running around on post which still hasnt been caught, every week there is a house fire and many other things) Also we looked at moving on post at one point and for E6 housing its small as hell for a family of 4 and older houses which I have no problem with. Now if youre a E7 and above or E5 and below you have very nice housing with plenty of room. Money should be cut from the ones making dthese decisions on what gets cut. Congress and all the other high rollers get so much money to not make decisions and hurt the ones who cover their ass.

  29. Why don't some of you ask service members who served 20-30 years ago what their BAH was like? They'll say, "what BAH?" A little BAS sure, but BAH? Pfft. The military today is extremely spoiled. There was a time when you didn't have much choice but to stay in base/post housing if they had homes available. All of this living off post and privatized housing is one of the main reasons the military is having budget issues. Pay out of pocket or move on post. I wish they'd get rid of this privatized mess…..

    • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm |

      People serving 20 years ago had this other luxury we didn't have….it was the 1980s-2000…there was no WAR, let alone TWO WARS. I think our husbands are more than earning every penny they receive.

      • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 3:36 pm |

        And our waiting list for on post housing at E7 is 2+ years…I'd like to just "move on post". Can you make that happen? Who do you know? I bake a mean zucchini bread…

      • the first mel | August 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

        1982-1984 Beirut On Oct. 23 1983, 241 Marines were killed by a truck bomb explosion.
        Oct. 1983 Invasion of Grenada
        Apr. 1986 Raid on Tripoli, Libya
        Dec. 1989 Invasion of Panama
        1990-1991 Persian Gulf War
        Sept. 1994 Invasion of Haiti
        Sept. 1995 Bosnia-Operation Deliberate Force
        Apr. 1999 Serbia-Operation Allied Force

        I'd say there was plenty going on in the 80's and 90's to earn their paychecks.

        • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm |


          • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

            I hope that didn't take you too much time to Google. The point was and remains…we have not had an actual protracted war in this country since Vietnam until OIF/OEF. My husband also was in the Gulf War, you know what he did? He sat in a tank in Kuwait looking at the border for 6 months…I wasn't trying to diminish anyone's service. But he was most definitely trying to diminish this generations. I think they have more than earned anything they get. His generation did not deploy for a year at a time, 4, 5, 6 times in to different countries.

          • the first mel | August 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm |

            Oh, it was no trouble finding a few facts to support my statement.

          • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 7:35 pm |

            You're trying to make my statement into something it wasn't. I would never diminish anyone's service. But facts are facts if he wants to compare timelines, we can play that game all day. If you add up all you posted (again not to diminish it) you posted 3 years in separate operations and 6 month long incidents. All tragic, all difficult…no diminishment involved. But trying to compare THAT to the past 12 years is apples to oranges…and that was my point.

          • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 7:39 pm |

            You're trying to make my statement into something it was not. I would never diminish anyone's service. If we add up all you posted that us 3 years of conflict and 6 month incidents…tragic, horrible, hard. I agree 100% But trying to compare that to the last 12 years is comparing apples to oranges…which was my point.

          • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |

            The bottom line is Mel…if my Dad, who was a Green Beret who did 4 tours in Vietnam, received 4 purple hearts, 2 BSs, and a DSC can look at this generation and say "these guys are amazing"…you, should be able too as well. And so should everyone else. These guys earn every penny they get…EVERY.LAST.PENNY.

          • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm |

            The bottom line Mel is if my Dad who as a Green Beret did 4 tours in Vietnam earning 4 purple hearts, 2 BSs and a DSC can look at this generation and say "these guys are amazing"…you should be able to, too. These guys earn EVERY.LAST.PENNY they make.

          • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 6:37 pm |

            He wanted to make a comparison between generations. He wants to characterize us as entitlement hounds. Yeah well, the service being asked of this generations military can not be compared to any other in US History. There is no draft, they are bearing the burden of two wars simultaneously alone while the rest of the country watches Snookie on tv and they aren't sitting in tanks on a border anywhere. They are in Strykers now…and they are earning every penny they make, trust me.

    • What was the pay compared to the cost of living back then? That is the first ? that should be asked. Second of all what to do when you are stationed where there is NO on base housing. What should we do if the on base housing wait is 1-2yrs? Where should we live until then?

    • Not all people the leave off base is because they are “spoiled” most of the times the base dont have houses available ot the have waiting list up to a year, so think twice when you assume that everyone leave off by choice

    • The military is NOT spoiled like you may think. My husband literally makes $3.49 an HOUR as an E4 when we broke it down to all the hours he puts on the sub, and duty. So piss off!

    • the first mel | August 8, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

      Actually, when I got married, my husband got BAQ, basic allowance for quarters, and then it changed over to VHA, variable housing allowance, and now it's called BAH.

    • I'd gladly move on post if they ended the privatized housing and allow my 7 year old rescue animal back on post. He was allowed before they outsourced, now he's not. And no I'm not just giving up my senior pet because of it.

  30. Alan Barley | August 8, 2013 at 3:23 pm |

    BAH is pre-determined from the post that you are in. When I look at living off post, I look at school districts, DoD schools (which I have not been impressed) my children do so much better being away from post and in a smaller rural school. I look at how much electric, water, trash, sewer will cost as well as the rent. I recieve $1476 every month. My rent is $975, my electric is about $180-$200 and can be higher in summer months, trash is $15 and I still run paycheck to paycheck. Lowering it would crush me and my family. We don't have alot of amentities, but what we do have we appreciate. You want to get rid of something, get rid of BAS. Its not that much and honestly I wouldn't miss it.

    • I feel ya, but my husband doesn't even receive BAS. It automatically goes to the boat. So that might not effect some, but could be effective.

      • Not true Amber. BAS = Base Allowance for Subsistence. Goes into the servicemember's paycheck. It is his money for food, nobody elses'.

    • the first mel | August 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm |

      BAS is for the service member only. It's so they can eat. BAS is not for the spouse and kids. The government doesn't give dependents money to eat.

    • Christopher Myers | August 16, 2013 at 6:41 am |

      Your comment wasn't retarded until you said "get rid of BAS". BAS is roughly $350 and a 20% cut to your BAH amount would be $295.20. So you would lose more out of your gross income losing BAS than you would losing 20% of your BAH. Lets not mention that BAS doesn't change area to area, whereas BAH does. Some places have relatively low BAH rates. Fort Gordon is about $1000 a month for BAH. That means that a 20% decrease would only be $200 dollars. So a loss of BAS to a person living there would be even more pronounced than a loss in 20% of BAH.

  31. If active duty folks aren't happy with their pay then either get out of the military or transfer into the guard/reserve. The military is still a SERVICE and you signed up to serve, not to get a competitive wage. Don't buy things you cannot afford and don't have kids until you are financially stable. Reservists and guard members are MUCH smarter with their money and manage to avoid living paycheck to paycheck unlike most active duty members. Active duty doesn't know how good they have it especially with ALL of the benefits that go unnoticed (free healthcare, tuition assistance, support centers, etc). If you aren't happy with you're pay then quit being a pawn to all of the government's decisions and get out of the military.

    • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

      Eli…this MIGHT work..if you weren't like many of our husbands and already on an indefinite enlistment. I hate to break it to you, but most people after 15 years can't "just get out". They are basically indentured servants until the military lets them out whether they want out or not. And here is the other thing. Contract law is contract law in the civilian community, but not in the military. I have worked in human resources for years. You tell me with a straight face you would take a job, sign a contract for x, and then just blindly sit by as that contract was slowly, deliberately obliterated. Sure you would. Especially while getting shot at for 5 straight years out of the past 12.

      • sabrinacking | August 8, 2013 at 3:32 pm |

        Or wives…I keep forgetting to be gender neutral my bad.

      • Most people who have served 10 years and over have put themselves in that position. The government didn’t put a knife to them and demand that they signed another contract. Most active duty folks stay in because they are either too scared or too dumb to be successful in a civilian career so they stay in and cope with their unhappy lives. In the military, if things go bad within your enlistment then you can get out when your enlistment is up, but don’t tell me that you are an indentured servant in Uncle Sam’s chains and shackles. I hate to break it to you but you have just as much freedom to chose your own future in the military—-take control of your life and if you don’t like the upcoming BAH cuts then get out.

        • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 9:55 am |

          Like I said, you're wearing your ignorance. People who are on indefinite contracts can't "take control and just get out". It doesn't work that way. And if everyone thought as you that military career service was only for the "too dumb" and "too scared", we'd really need a draft. The military needs career soldiers within the NCO and Officer Corps to do this thing called leadership. Tactical at the SNCO level and Strategic at the Senior Officer level. My husband has done 5 combat tours…I don't think he is "too scared" of much anything. How about I make the observation that you were probably just "too weak" and "too lazy" to cut it to be a career soldier, how you like them apples Jack-arse.

          • The term ‘indefinite contract’ is an oxymoron. Your husband signed either 4 or 6 year enlistments and if he really wasn’t scared he would have gotten out of the Army (statistically the dumbest branch) years ago and gotten a civilian job. As much as you say he may be a good leader, good leadership does not justify more pay. Enough of him though, let’s here your story ‘sabrinacking’: I’m guessing that you grew up as an Army brat, jumped into marrying a soldier, got upside-down on a house that you should have never bought, followed you husband’s selfish ambitions to take orders in Siberia, and have been unhappy with your life for quite some time. That sounds like the typical active duty life right there, how enticing. I figured someone with a Master’s degree would be smart enough to pull to plug and get out of the military, but I guess it’s all you know so I can understand why you think you are on an indefinite contract. Game, set, match!

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm |

            Actually, I have worked my entire life. Have a Masters degree, volunteer extensively and think I have lived a pretty awesome life. Speaking the truth about an organization, doesn't mean you are unpatriotic or disloyal. It means you care enough to tell the truth.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm |

            Cont'd I hope you learn more about how military contracts work before you sign your next one…when you get to that last one buckwheat it extends clear to 20 years…and then you have to ASK to retire, you don't just hit 20 years and bingo that day you are out either. For someone who thinks they know everything about active duty contracts, you're really confused-ed.

        • the first mel | August 9, 2013 at 10:29 am |

          My husband stayed in because he loves being a Marine. He also has the balls to stay committed to something even when it gets tough. He's almost got 30 years in and I'm proud as he!! of him. I'm doubting that you've ever been in the military or you just made it through the minimal enlistment contract and didn't notice the outstanding and talented people you worked with.

          • You are wrong again—I have been in the military (worked active-duty, guard, and reserve), on my second enlistment, and been on three deployments. Its not the most talented folks that stay working active duty—it’s the ones who are in over their head by having kids, have nothing else going for them, and find their identity in being a government pawn who are what you call ‘committed’. Wow 30 years, I can understand why these upcoming BAH cuts will hurt you, you have been depending on the money for three decades and now will have to live on a tighter budget for once. I look forward to when your husband retires and realizes he wasted 30 years of his life (and yours) on being told what to do every day of his career.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 2:18 pm |

            You are truly a horrible human being.

          • the first mel | August 9, 2013 at 2:43 pm |

            Considering he is enlisted, we are quite able to budget. We've had to do so all along and we are not extravagant by nature. The BAH cuts won't hurt us, but I am concerned about the enlisted service members who are E5 and below. Go ahead and believe service members are government pawns, but my husband and I understand what it means to support something beyond our own selfish needs and appreciate the sacrifices of our country's service members. It must be hard to live your life full of bitterness and hate. I, for one, chose my life's path and I have no regrets.

          • Your objectionable commentary concerning those who've committed to serve their country as a career military member clearly displays your lack of pride and respect for the uniform that YOU have chosen to wear, as well as for YOUR brothers and sisters in arms. Considering your strong views concerning the military, albeit mostly directed towards AD, it might be in your best interests to separate from the military (completely) upon completion of your "second enlistment." It's very presumptuous & disrespectful on your part to conclude that those who've "committed" to serve their country honorably "have nothing else going for them" or are "in over their heads" or better yet will have "wasted 30 years of his life." You've made it very clear that you will never understand what really goes into being a career military member, or the type of individual it takes to do such an honorable job in service to their country.

          • Pointing out that the military is the biggest socialist enterprise in this country is not unpatriotic. It is simply telling the truth. Do you have a problem with the truth?

          • I'd LOVE to see those "statistics" on the Army being the "dumbest branch". Your disdain for the military and service members' spouses is disgusting.

            And, WHY exactly are you on your "second enlistment" when the only people who stay AD are "in over their heads"???

    • Reservists and Guardsmen have civilian jobs that pay more than their active duty counterparts. Active duty still has to live, and without benefits, they fall well below the poverty line. Somebody has to be willing to be a part of our ALL VOLUNTEER military. Fair compensation for being willing to be shot at is not too much to ask.

      • Those in the guard/reserve like myself do NOT always get paid more than what they could be making in the military. For instance, there’s times when I’ve had to work at Lowe’s which pays $9.50/hr for several months, I’ve had to live just off the GI-Bill BAH and my reserve duty pay, and I’ve had to borrow money from family to survive sometimes. Guard/reserve members learn how to manage their money better and end up developing more of a savings for when they know they will need the extra funds. I don’t have health insurance, shop at Aldi’s, don’t have cable, ride the city bus, and STILL have money leftover each month to put into savings. Fair and tax-free compensation is given while deployed but as long as you are stateside, you need to take some financial management classes and get ready for the BAH cuts coming up.

        • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 9:59 am |

          Oh I get it…you just have active duty envy. So…march over to a recruiter Eli and go on active duty if you think they have it so amazing, and are so entitled, dumb and scared as you put it. What a joke you are.

        • Um your hard time @ 9.50 an hour is still more then some enlisted make/hour.

        • Please inform, where are all these statistics/ results coming from?
          –"Guard/reserve members learn how to manage their money better and end up developing more of a savings for when they know they will need the extra funds."
          Was that an actual study? If so, the source would be a lovely read. However, after some reasearc there aren't statistics to back up that statement. The generalizations in the comment being replied to are quite demeaning and unfounded.

    • Eli, the cost of living where they stationed us is huge. We do not get to chose where we live. We have NO debt, NO car payments, NO cable, I cloth diaper, we keep the house at 80 even though we are baking, I do not buy paper towels, plates, make my own cleaners, cut all the boys hair, hardly ever go out to eat(as in maybe 4-5 times/yr), we shop at second hand stores and I could go on and on. Where could we be smarter? I would love for you to enlighten me? Free health care is great……except my husband averages less then $6/hr. Tell me do reservists and guard members average 120+hours/week? If they needed could they get a 2nd job? Tell me, could they survive on an average of less then $6/hr? Could they do it in an expensive place they were forced to live at? We did far better before he was in the military and even though we had to pay for our health care, the care/coverage was better. There were certain benefits promised us, which are part of the compensation package. Now these things are disappearing and we can't "quit" to find something that pays better. We are just stuck until his time is done. If things keep going the way they have been, we will get out. Although it is sad as my husband does love his job. All this education and training the USAF spent on him, will just be wasted. It would make more financial sense if they would pay/compensate fairly and keep the best of the best. Instead of repeatedly bringing in a constant lower quality of people to train.

      • Katie, to answer your questions:
        1.) You could have been smarter by not having so many kids before you were financially stable. Too late for that though, the government didn’t issue you kids to take care of and now you are stuck.
        2.) Reservists/guard members do not average 120+ hours a week. We are NOT salary and get paid by the hour. Your husband signed up knowing he would be paid twice a month by salary, so you can’t complain when he works 12-14 hours a day because he isn’t entitled to extra pay for that.
        3.) We can get a secondary job if need be because we have more time in our lives to be working for two employers. This goes back to getting paid by the hour instead of salary (getting paid for every hour we work and being aware of that).
        4.) We wouldn’t take a job that pays $6/hour or less. Our time is worth more than that. Active duty may work for that but they are on the government’s time and the military will get as much as they can out of them (I was active duty once too).
        5.) We wouldn’t live where the cost of living is so high and are not forced to live near our respective bases. You can live in Montana and drill in Ohio if you wanted to. Or live in the country but drill near a city. You have MUCH more freedom when you are not active duty if you haven’t realized that yet.

        I suggest your husband return to his former employment after his current enlistment is up, it seems you guys were happier and compensated better. Best of luck to you for the remaining years he has in the military.

        • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm |

          Just for Ss and Giggles…what do you DO, what is your MOS in the reserves Eli?

        • I am only going to address 1 thing. Lets be clear. We have enough money right now. We have a savings and we save every month. We CAN afford all 3 children. Even if we don't have brand new things, I am okay with that. They mean more to me then having new cars, iphones, etc. If our BAH is reduced we will have enough money every month. We will not have any extra to save. As everyone knows that is dangerous. Cars break down, people need dental work, insurance goes up, the fridge breaks, etc. You are right we are stuck. That is the point. In the contract they promised X amount of income, whether it be from pay, health care, BAH, etc. However, they are not holding up their end. We are stuck because we HAVE to fulfill our end of the contract, no matter what. You are right we did better on the outside. My husband loves being a part of something bigger and serving our country. However we have to provide for our familiy. Don't worry, we are working on his resume. ;) In the meantime we will just pray this doesn't happen.

      • Perfectly said Katie! But don’t forget to mention how incredibly difficult it is for military families to be dual income families because of blatant discrimination against military spouses during hiring processes.
        Eli pretends to be so knowledgeable and financially savvy however his ignorance is obvious through several of his statements.
        “Your husband signed either 4 or 6 year enlistments” Is not even close to accurate and to me suggests he may be stretching the truth on his service as little. I know for a fact there are contracts ranging from 2 to 10 years, and maybe more. Unless they also offer military members the opportunity to terminate their contract without penalty they shouldn’t be yanking away benefits that we factored into the decision making process on whether or not to stay enlisted.
        He also talks about how financially savvy reservists are, but I would hardly consider having to borrow money from family as demonstrating financial responsibility any more than racking up credit card debt. It means you spent outside of your means if you have to do either one. We may have rough months but we’ve never had to borrow from our family and we have zero credit card debt. So get off your high horse Eli.
        We luckily were able to get military housing, but I know in this area many end up on waiting lists for several months. We coupon for groceries, do not have cable, and many other things Katie mentioned. I have been desperately searching for a job but employers most definitely discriminate against military spouses because they know we move so much (never mind the people I went to college with change jobs just as frequently as I have had to, yet their spouses job doesn’t disqualify them from positions), we do not have kids (since you blamed budget problems on people rushing to have kids. Stereotype much?), and when we’ve met with financial planners have always had them tell us how great we are doing with our budget and spending. We still have months where we struggle. Adjust for cost of living, number of hours put in (both for $/hr and whether or not a 2nd job can be had) and the differences in ease of obtaining an income from the spouse and then try to tell me that reservists get by better on less Eli.
        With the sacrifices active duty have to make (putting their lives at risk, living away from families, deployments separating them from their spouses and children) it is a shame that so many have to scrape by. Someone has to do these jobs, and if people like my husband didn’t volunteer they would just have to go back to the draft and FORCING people to. Your ignorance is blinding.

    • slroller94 | August 8, 2013 at 4:59 pm |

      Free healthcare isn't always good healthcare, and that's been proven to my husband and I time and time again. We're getting out because we'd rather pay than go through all of this crap. We don't buy anything we can't afford. But we can't afford anything to begin with. Nothing. Making sure we have enough food for just us two, we have to dabble into savings every month. And free healthcare, tuition assistant and all of that other stuff is getting CUT. Everything you say we have so great, which isn't great BTW, is going away regardless. We have hand-me-downs and cheapo craigslist furniture. Everything nice we own were gifts from family. The only thing we bought that was sort of nice was our mattress and box spring, and we don't even have a frame for the damn thing. And that was bought with income tax. Everything gets paid for, and yet we have nothing to show for my husbands work except for some really bad medical history due to all the terrible things that happened with us at our post hospital. I don't want to hear it.

      • slroller94, healthcare–for tri-toget-care users– out here in the 'real' world isn't any better. We're AGR and stationed hours away from MTF's. I have MS and to find a doctor that A)takes tri-toget-care; B) is competent and C)is accepting new patients has been futile. The doctors that are recommended for MS, don't participate in tricare. To switch to standard and pay co-pays and deductables is beyond what our limited budget can stretch to cover. My meds(that I haven't had since Feb) would put us in the poor house. Last year, I had to have an appendectomy. I was out of surgery and in a room by 11AM. Ok, I was told I would get another bag of antibiotics and if the pain was under control, I would be going home by 4PM. Every time a nurse came in the room, we would ask about when could I leave? An hour or so later, a different nurse would come in and start the process all over again. This went on until 10PM when hubby threatened a lawsuit. 12 hours later, they released me. Without the antibiotics, without pain relief. So it isn't necessarily better or good in the civilian world.

  32. Or I got an idea, do away with reservist! You will have so many people getting out after their first term you will have a plethora of IRR canidates to choose from with alot more prior training…. But forget about that whole hollowing out your real military leadership. Which will degrade your military force!

    • Your idea of getting rid of reservists is unwise. Reserve units are cost effective and do not cost nearly as much to operate. We take prior servicemembers and our experience and leadership skills comes from both the civilian world and from our time when activated. I suggest drastically reducing the number of active duty members of those in the Army and Marine Corps to where they were at before 9/11. We fight wars differently now and don’t need to march to the enemy or storm beaches anymore. There is so much fraud, waste, and abuse in the Army that they need to consider cutting that branch altogether. Then they wouldn’t have to cut into the BAH to make up for the losses.

      • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm |

        If they cut the Army that will sure put a heavy burden on the Marine Corps…since our two branches have been the ones actually fighting these two wars statistically. You're a very bizarre person. The level of self loathing is creepy. Riddle me this…if you are so anti career service, why on Earth are you in the reserves? If you think my husband is just some mindless pawn…what does that make you? Your logic is really hard to follow.

      • Maybe you aren't aware, but they HAVE been reducing the numbers of active duty. I know multiple people who wished to stay enlisted but were not permitted to do so because of downsizing. Again, you think you have all the answers but you clearly show you don't really know what you are talking about. If they don't need as many active duty I don't see why they wouldn't also need fewer backups.

        My husband is not army, but your hate for the army seems to indicate some deeper issue going on here.

  33. What "they" need to do is impose these same parameters on every single member of Congress (senate and the house) as well as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I don't see any of THEM making any sacrifices. They're hypocrites, one and all. Don't get me started on my soapbox. I'm ADAF stationed in an area where we get hazardous duty pay… we are seeing it all from this vantage point.

  34. The biggest Problem are the Landlords who rent out houses near Military Bases. We lived in Germany and a German Native does not pay more then 900 Euro for a 3/4 bedroom house. Well we paid 1400 Euro + 500 Euro in Utilities. Total Rip OFF. Landlords know the BAH Allowance and how easy it is to rent out to Military Families. It`s sickening. They know Soldiers need a place to stay and on post housing has a long waiting list.

    • As a military family with two rental houses, we get in rent what the community supports. If the community is supporting more than BAH for that area then that is what we charge. At a lot of posts, military are NOT the only renters, in fact, neither of our houses are currently being occupied by military families. Why should I loose money on a house simply because BAH won't cover it when the town economy can?

  35. This has all come about because of Government mismanagement. When was the first time you ever heard the word sequestration? Our young men and women who want to serve to protect our country and I am talking here of the lower enlisted ranks are getting screwed. They have families why should their kids do without? Wasteful spending I our government has caused this financial crisis. Where are the watch dog groups? Why is it always the lower ranks that have to suck it up while senior officers make no sacrifices? One more thing. How many officers have committed suicide compared to enlisted?

  36. Of the ten years that my husband has been active duty Air Force, he has been deployed, tdy or in training approximately 56 months. That's almost half of his time that he has been away from his wife and children. Some deployments have been 'easy', other have been wrought with stress and imminent danger. He loves the AF and I love supporting him, so let's be clear the above statements are not a complaint. He has every intention of staying in until or past his twenty

  37. The government needs to stop cutting military pay, and have the mindset of making our service members work for less money. If they want to save money, then they need to stop making 6 figures. Plan and simple.

  38. We see all the time "Freedom isn't Free" obviously our Politicians would like for it to be. I can't believe that anyone would want to cut ANYTHING from our Military. The same men and women who sometimes pay the ultimate sacrifice to let our Politicians throw that around…Maybe they should get a cut in pay to pay for our military.

  39. I know my family is stationed on Staten Island, its expensive to live there with gas being $4.80. with low salary already and son-in-law always ready for deployment, spouse can not work. its tough. I can't image trying to live on less than less.,

  40. guess what, when you joined, the Govt did not issue the wife and kids to you…if you chose to get married, have 6 kids, 3 dogs, whatever, you chose to do so knowing that YOU must provide them. The Govt offers housing when it is full,k it is full. You had better hope you have a plan for affording off base housing!

    • Why should the military jab to sacrifice their best childbearing years as well? The 20s are the most fertile times. If you wait until you can really afford it, you’re looking at E-7 and above. We barely got approved to adopt an infant because we are close to our 40’s. No, we should not have to sacrifice having a family too.

  41. MY husband is active duty National Guard so we don't have a base that we could eventually move onto. We live in the most expensive town in Montana, it is also a university town so housing is hard to come by as it is. We receive 1300 a month BAH our house payment is 1500 a month and that doesn't include any utilities. We purchased because it was cheaper then renting. A cut would be devastating and we would either have to sell or walk away.

  42. How about we fire all thies generals and elaborate staff that just sit at the pentagon and don’t really do anything. Not paying one or two of them would more than make up the difference:) lol

  43. Freyalovemoon | August 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm |

    funny how the picture shows the NICER of all the base housings… NOT all housing looks so fabulous!

  44. Another thing to keep in mind: the Post-9/11 GI bill students will also be impacted by this proposal as their housing stipend is based on the active duty E-5 BAH rates. Veterans, you better get writing your senators and congressmen, now!

    • Different pot of money buddy, Post-9/11 GI Bill students don’t fall under this proposal. Our stipend comes from the VA and won’t be affected. Active duty folks need to be writing their senators and congressmen or else they will be forced to cut back on their quality of living (shame).

  45. My first year in the Army, 1966 paid me 1194.00 dollars before taxs.

  46. We are stationed in Monterey and even with the high amount of BAH we chose base housing because the out in town cost are absurd. The water and electric bills are 500 dollars a month in town, so living on a single income is really tough.

  47. As a spouse stationed in Alaska it would certainly be a bit tighter. I mean a gallon of milk and alot of our basic necessities get more expensive in the winter, just because they are all “imported goods”. I don’t think cutting BAH will help much in the long run.

  48. I think Congress should consider other means to maintain budget before they take more from our military. They have already cut training, education, troops, and now they are cutting our means to support our families. Most of us join to solely support our country, but when we have to fear for our families way of life, it will be hard for veterans with multiple deployments in support of our countries freedom to continue service. We don't get paid enough as is and annual raises are below inflation. It will cost less to maintain our forces than it would to rebuild forces once another large conflict comes our way. Other nations will start to lose respect of our military if we cannot maintain our level of readiness and our families way of life plays a major role into this. I hope this country can do the right thing and look after those that have sacrificed so much already and not take more from an organization that protects our freedoms.

  49. Just my two cents since I have never had to deal with BAH or housing but my hubby has told me that the majority of places near military bases base their rental prices off of BAH and when it goes up the rent goes up but when it goes down the rents do not. It should be some sort of agreement with landlords near bases to lower rental rates for those getting a lower BAH rate because otherwise the landlords will suffer because like most people I would look for a house that I could afford even if it meant it was smaller than what I truly needed. Or it would cause people to buy houses just to get the smaller payments but since the military has a tendency to move people every couple of years, or months, it would create a bigger headache of trying to sell your house or rent it to move to the next place.

    • As a landlord, why SHOULD I have to lower my rental rates simply because there was a cut in pay? Remember, on most military posts, military are NOT the only renters. We have two rental houses one at each of the last two bases we were stationed at, neither one of them is currently occupied by a military family. Just because the military cuts BAH does not mean demand always gets cut. In smaller posts it may, but in larger posts, or in cities, it won't and as a landlord it is the wisest decision to maximize your return on investment for as long as you can.

  50. Timesofsacrifice | August 9, 2013 at 2:52 am |

    Served over 25 years on military. I would support a BAH reduction. Salaries have gotten so much higher than some civilian counterparts and what’s not mentioned is the money is tax free so you get more than is apparent. Besides. It is good to learn how to live in tighter budget for the day retirement or separation comes…happens to us all. Live below your means I say.

    • What you don't seem to understand is people who live below their means now will not be below their means if their BAH is reduced. People already budget, already scrape by, already have BAH that doesn't cover their rent, already can't live on base/post. Salaries are not that high without BAH.

      • Then it sounds like some of those households need to become dual income households like the bulk of the US already is, I'm sure those SAH spouses can find a way to come up with at least a few hundred bucks a month. And before anyone says anything about kids, there is always the night shift, when we were getting out of debt I worked three jobs while my husband was deployed (two of those from home the majority of the time). I exchanged room and board in my house for daycare to a local college student studying education.

        • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 10:10 am |

          I did always work and made more than my husband…until he got stationed up here in Siberia, read: Drum. There has been a hiring freeze here on post since before we got here nearing two years ago now. You know what I did? Because we don't live beyond our means and don't use credit cards I took my 40 year old arse with my fancy Masters degree and mopped floors at a clinic every night all fall for $8 an hour to pay for Christmas…but it was a stupid move on my part because all I did was injure my back…because I am 40, have worked my entire adult life and now am stationed in Siberia…does not equate to: I am lazy. And you make these broad sweeping generalizations without knowing the circumstance of most families.

          • No, you got your 40 year old behind UP and worked at a job that might have been 'beneath you' (which lets face it when you need cash no job should ever be beneath anyone) to pay for Christmas instead of going into debt…that's commendable. It is not a 'broad sweeping generalization' to say that a spouse, no matter where they live, can find a way to bring in a few hundred a month whether it be selling on ebay, babysitting a couple of kids, etsy, or a job out on the town at McDonalds.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 10:42 am |

            My point 40, I can't do any of the manual labor jobs which are all that is available here. As junior enlisted many of them couldn't make enough on the minimum wage jobs here to cover childcare, or gas for their cars.
            My standing point is: less than 1% of the country serves period. Pitting yourselves against one another is nothing short of ludicrous. BAH is part of a "total compensation package". It shouldn't be reduced for dual military, otherwise you are saying dual military deserve less than pay than single standing military. You can't compare the apples and oranges of retiree vs. active duty, dual vs. single, guard/reserve vs everyone game. When you do…you are really only one thing. A traitor to your own organization. Because we are ALL in this thing called military service together. The government can cut a lot of fat without touching any: retiree, active duty, guard/reserve pay. THE END.

          • Oh I fully agree there is a lot more that should be cut first, like the near billion dollars of brand new, can't ever be used stryker parts up at Lewis. BUT this needs to be a giant wake up call to military families that no, the majority of the rest of the US cannot survive on one income, so don't expect special treatment that you should be able to. It's time to start shoring up finances NOW, before anything like this happens so these families calling poverty don't go under when the military freezes or cuts pay.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm |

            One small problem with your argument. The other 99% of the US has not been sustaining two wars for over 12 years with NOTHING, nothing asked of them. This is not WWII, they aren't being asked to ration, they aren't lining up for food…WE, as military families have already done our part…it is THEIR turn.

          • It's a volunteer Army, if your husband wanted out, or mine, they could have gotten out after their contract was up. Instead both of ours have made the active decision to STAY IN…that's a CHOICE, it's not like the government is forcing them to stay in. Yes we military families have done our part, but that was OUR CHOICE (or rather our husbands choices).

            Considering the civilian world has seen skyrocketing food prices, health care costs, commodities costs etc, while loosing pensions, 401k matches, raises and job security along with the fact that their tax dollars have paid the majority of the costs of the war, including our families health care, salaries, commissary privileges I think it's kind of ballsy to say they haven't "done" anything. No, they haven't been asked to ration, they've been FORCED to.

          • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm |

            Oh geez, really? Ok you go ahead and tow that line. I think you're out of your mind.

          • tax dollars have not paid for these wars, we borrowed the money, and your husband doesn't pay taxes for all of those "benefits" he's just handed? He doesn't work for them either? Nice

        • There's not always the night shift when your spouse works shift work as an MP.

      • Timesofsacrifice | August 9, 2013 at 11:04 am |

        RMR. I will grant that the 80/20 rule probably applies. In this case 80 percent of the pain will befell by 20 more cent of the entire group. This could be caused by low ranks in extremely high cost of living locations or those who are on too deep with other debts based on a given BAH. For the former those groups are given letters telling them they are at risk and should consider how that your would affect them (stinky system but that’s another topic) and the latter group would be okay if they grandfather existing residents but lower bah for new tour members.

    • Really? My husband can make 4x more working boarder patrol. He can make 5x more working for the CIA.

      • Really, 5x more working for CIA, and how EXACTLY do you know that, did he get a job offer for that amount? I come from a loooooong line of 3 letter government employees and I assure you the pay is no where near what your are dreaming about. And on top of all of that, you get to pay for your healthcare (which is still no where near private industry pay)

        • We may be getting out when his enlistment is up. We have researched online and have found plenty of job openings. There are quite a few that list the salary. :) He could even do the same job in the civilian world and make a heck of a lot more then he does now. If you can guess his job, feel free to google it. ;) In the mean time, we will brush up his resume. He does love serving our country and being a part of something bigger. However we have to support our family.

  51. We are currently at our 3rd duty station and we and we currently live in on base housing. Although some may say if BAH decreases that on base housing is their option, but in actuality it its not all the great. Yes our BAH covers our rent, but not all utilities are cover 100%. Where we live you have to pay overage for electricity if you go over the allotted amount(which is fairly low for a house this size). The housing neighborhood that we live in is 10 miles or so away from the base and the commute sucks! We are thinking about moving off base to try and some more money , but if they decrease our BAH we will be screwed.

  52. I signed up on the White House page so if we get enough signatures the President HAS to respond. SPREAD THIS PETITION ON FACEBOOK/TWITTER ETC

  53. I have heard some spouses say that they can save some of the BAH by living off post…….IF they don't turn on their air conditioning in the summer. At 83% humidity and 90 degree weather? We would go over the limit to keep cool so YES it would be a problem to have a lowered BAH.

  54. From the start, we have looked at my husband's base pay & BAH as just one lump some of pay. We don't say "Okay, we have this much BAH, lets live somewhere for that amount." Basic pay sucks without BAH. No question about it. We are currently living somewhere that is about half of the BAH (literally the cheapest place to live where we are stationed.)…I can't imagine if they slash the BAH too much. We don't have any extra anyway.

  55. Why not just start with making BAH the same for everyone in the same pay grade? Why should a married E-6 get more money for BAH than a single E-6? Does he work more to be compensated more? NO. Why does the military continue to pay people more to be married? It shouldn't. Families cost more. If you don't want the extra cost, don't have a family.

    By the way, I am married and on active duty and have been for 25 years. I still can't figure out why it is done that way.

  56. sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 10:19 am |

    I have sort of had it with two things in the comments section of this site or articles on this site:
    1) The derogatory comments toward enlisted personnel, especially junior personnel and how they dress, how they live, how many kids they have, how they budget: YOU KNOW WHAT, enlisted personnel since time immemorial, and especially today during TWO WARS bare the brunt of the actual hardship of military service. I have worked with them for nearing 20 years in everything from Mayor of a housing area to Casualty Care team and every FRG position in between. ENLISTED FAMILIES IN TODAYS MILITARY ARE AMAZING. Never has so much been asked of so few. If any of you said the word dependapotamus or entitled to my face regarding enlisted families I would rip your head off.
    2) STOP FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER: less than 1 % of this country serves. You can cut a lot of fat out of this government without touching one cent of active duty, retiree, reserve or guard pay. Use your energy to fight the government. Fighting one another doesn't make you some noble warrior it makes you a Jack arse.

    • sabrinacking | August 9, 2013 at 10:27 am |

      And one more thing. HUMANITY, is about looking back at the hardships you faced in life and wanting other human beings to have it BETTER than you did. Its pure evil to look at this generation as a retiree and say: "well I only got paid $119 a month so stop your B'n." I mean really? Where did you go to school? What Bible are you reading? Who in God's name raised you that you are walking around in life so butt hurt, you want everyone who comes behind you to have it as bad or worse than you did, and that is your idea of justice. My husband and I have had a very unrosy military experience for nearing twenty years. We don't ever walk around saying: boy those stupid privates we hope the war goes on for another 12 years so they get it as bad as we had it. That is not leadership, that is patriarchal BS. Leaders, want a better, more effective more just system for those they lead not to be King of the "Back in my Day" club.

  57. Well this gov sucks. Every they play with military members. This is like use and thru. When they needed, they used members, but when there is no war, they starts taking off benifits. this is bad for future, no one will enlist in fufure if this continues and the world strongest force will be world's weakest force. Bad bad bad,..

  58. BAH as it is right now is given to E-1 to O-7. An O-7 is making somewhere around 9,000 to 13,000 a month and they get the BAH rate of in some areas around 2,000 – 3,000 this addition is giving them enough to buy a house and rent a house at the same time. A reasonable thing to do is make it so that Officers that make 8,000 – 9,000 per month pay their own way. This would be O-4 and below get BAH a reasonable solution to the problem so that those Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airman can afford housing in high cost of living areas such as California, Hawaii, Japan, Germany, Virginia, ect. I know that Officers have no need to receive BAH after a certain pay grade but they do.

  59. Dwight Collins | August 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm |

    Why fuck a vet,like me we gave all we had to give during these times for OUR country,these BASTARDS who do not know what itis to get a letter from MOM on how much she misses you is a bitch picking up your dirty socks , the smell of your room, and picking up your dinner plate I received years ago.The bastards in WASHINGTON have no idea what WAR is like, like Sherman its hell its something you never forget NE VER

  60. how about you make officer and enlisted BAH the same. Just because they went to a school doesn't make them any better. We have plenty of enlisted with 4 year degrees that deserve way more than the 01s or 02s that come in and don't know a thing. better yet lower the officers base pay to equal enlist and see how they like living in dirt.

    • enlisted*

      • Steven, I spent 15 1/2 years as an enlisted Marine before becoming a Warrant Officer. If you have a problem with Officers getting paid more for accepting greater responsibility, I suggest you become one. It’s more than a degree. I also know that when we included paying back student loans, I often made more money than most of the Lts when I was a Sgt.

  61. Jwilson724 | August 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm |

    Amy in your article you stated the following
    "Some of you are thinking that lowering the BAH rate for everyone is a good thing. After all, everyone else in the world doesn’t get paid an additional tax exempt amount on top of their paycheck for housing expenses. Why should the military be so special?"

    What planet are you from??? Some of you are thinking that lowering BAH is a good thing… REALLY. WOW.. If you find somebody that would say such a thing they must be wealthy!!! As to your comment why should the military be so special, nothing is special about the Benefits that we as soldiers are entitled to. These benefits are what recruiters use as a key point on the way the military takes care of soldiers and there families. It is a complete pay and compensation package that not only encourage people to sacrifice all we do to keep our nation free, however keeps quality people doing just that. Also in most places like where I am stationed the BAH hardly touches what a descent home cost a month. At first I liked your article and found it quite informative, however that comment left a real bad taste in my mouth…

    • Amy was correct, there are a good.number of military families that live well below their means that do say this. There are always a few ways to view anything going on in the military.

  62. Melissa L. | August 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm |

    If they cut or lower BAH, my family is screwed. We live in Hawaii, we have 6 kids, and my husband is an E6. The military does not care how many kids you have when they calculate BAH, they just base it on less than 3 or more than 3. We are on the wait list for base housing, but that's a 2 year wait, if lucky! We qualify for a 5 bedroom home on base, but right now, I'd settle for a 4 bedroom. We rent off base – it's a 3 bedroom technically, and my husband and I live in the converted family room. We love the area, so we aren't rushing the housing office to get on base, but with electric bills over $300 a month ((& that's with NO AC, because they house doesn't have any,lights off until sunset, and only ceiling fans on in the living room!) our BAH only covers rent. If we had to pay 20% of that rent, we would not survive. And we don't live above our means; we can't! The cost of basics here in Hawaii makes sure of that. Ever try outfitting 6 kids for "back to school"? In Georgia, we spent $100 total! Here in Hawaii, it was $175 just for our 2 in elementary! Of course, I don't know what a 2nd grader needs with two different types of Sharpie permanent markers or a stack of post-it notes, but the majority of the items on their supply list was general. But the inflated price of items, because of the shipping costs and whatever non-sense the stores give as reasons to jack up their prices, tripled our school supplies budget. Our grocery budget is more than double, and that's shopping at the commissary. Our BAH barely covers the rent for our 3 bedroom house. We are supposed to have enough BAH for, at least, a 4 bedroom. However, that would mean an additional $1000 needed, so we make due and get by and don't gripe (too much). The government never remembers all the "sacrifices" that our military members make everyday, that they have made for years, when it comes to the budget. They only remember those actions when they want some good PR and want to look good for elections. And what is worse is that no one in the military can really say anything contrary because it would be construed as insubordination or possible treason against the government they are sworn to defend. Which is ridiculous, because they are still Americans and should have the freedoms granted them by the Constitution. But they don't really say anything, they do their job, hoping that they still have a job tomorrow. These men and women who, without question or hesitation, go to remote and ungodly locations, leaving behind family and loved ones, to do what they are told, possibly to never see home again, because they are doing their jobs, are being told they have to sacrifice more, lose more. And why? They aren't even given the truth. They're told it's for their countries, that they're still doing their job, when we all know it is because government folks don't want to make cuts to the places that NEED it; like to themselves, to their pay, to their benefits. Political people, who can raise millions in contributions for their own campaigns, can't find money to make sure the American soldiers are taken care of, provided for? I come from a family of military members, and I have seen the struggles, seen the loss, seen the hope and then watched it get cut. I have seen how honored and decorated veterans are mistreated and forgotten, their service a memory, their rewards, hassle and torment and paperwork and denial. Cutting BAH to military members is just another wound in the military body; and it can't take much more, can't hemorrhage much longer. Making things harder for our military won't help it, and it won't help this country. The real cuts need to happen with the people holding the knife to the military's throat, the people who are so happy to nip a little from defense to keep their pay checks; slash a little from manpower to make sure they keep their aides that fetch coffee and paper clips; nick military benefits so they can keep theirs and their pensions. If you think about it, logically, what they keep taking from the military members decreases the value of the military lives that have been and still are being lost. In essence, they are saying the value of a military solider is worth less and less, and they are perfectly ok with taking more from it everyday. My husband, my parents, my friends are ALL worth more than the cuts they want to make. Here endeth my rant….for now.

    • im in Ga now. things arent getting any better. i feel that im paying just as much here as i would back in Ny for things :/ day after day, the more i hear about this type of gov’t insanity going on.. it makes ME want to run for office. sadly, i cannot, and if i ever decided to.. it would take me years. i dont think a 23yr old would even be considered for office anyhow :/ but i DO however believe that who ever is in office SHOULD HAVE PRIOR MILITARY EXPERIENCE. it just makes sense, no?

    • the first mel | August 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

      Why should the military have to pay for your continued procreation? You could have done what other responsible people do, stop having babies when you can't afford anymore.

      • And how do you know the woman above and her husband were not previously married with children of their own and are now a large blended family? Not everyone with a large family is irresponsible, and there are plenty of irresponsible people running around with only one kid. Did you (or do you plan to) set aside all costs associated with raising a child before you had (or try to have) one? If not, then chances are somewhere along the way someone did (or will) pay in some way for your "procreation" too.

        • and once again, why should the military and taxpayer have to pay for continued procreation? ESPECIALLY when some of the kids aren't the service members? Step child coverage is obscene…that is what the baby daddy is for. And yes, for us, we set aside the average recommended cost of raising a child PRIOR to having our first.

          • The cost of raising a child from birth through the age of 18 is hundreds of thousands. You set that aside in savings before having your first child, on military pay? Somebody give this girl a gold star and a cookie. Something tells me you aren't in the military and neither is your spouse, and you are simply one of those bitter civilians who is unsatisfied with their lifestyle and under the false assumption everyone in the military is living better then them. Step children or not, if they live in the same house they go through the same hardships. Child support (which is never intended to fully support a child anyway) and baby daddies have nothing to do with it. When a service member marries someone with children he takes them on as his responsibility just as he would if he fathered a child of his own. If you or your spouse were in the military you would understand that.

        • the first mel | August 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm |

          In your mentioned circumstance, the military is still not responsible for your choice to marry and make your family larger. It's called taking responsibility for your decisions.

          • Making your step children your beneficiaries is actually the responsible thing to do, especially when you are in a situation like I am where we have kids enrolled in EFMP. Since I do not think you are actually military I'll explain…EFMP is the Exceptional Family Member Program. Our oldest two children have special needs and EFMP makes sure we don't go with my husband to places services are not available for them. Moving your child across the country, or across the world for that matter, to a place where services aren't available for their medical conditions would be pretty irresponsible. If they weren't enrolled under my husband, we might be in that situation.

          • the first mel | August 13, 2013 at 10:23 pm |

            Ann, please tell me you are not talking to me. I know how things work in the military community, been living it for 24 years and I know what EFMP is and how it works because I am enrolled. Adding step children to your husband's list of dependents is the smart thing to do, but expecting more BAH because you increased your family size, now that's a different story which brings you back to my prior comment above.

          • Sorry I must've missed where Melissa L. outright stated she should be entitled to more BAH because has six kids. Probably because she never said that, but it's whatever.

          • the first mel | August 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm |

            "The military does not care how many kids you have when they calculate BAH, they just base it on less than 3 or more than 3."

            "Our BAH barely covers the rent for our 3 bedroom house. We are supposed to have enough BAH for, at least, a 4 bedroom. However, that would mean an additional $1000 needed,"

            They are getting the Hawaii BAH/w dep rate and she said that only gets them a 3 bedroom, in the local economy. Stating that her husband rates a 4 bedroom in base housing doesn't mean he can get above his current rate because a 4 bedroom is more expensive in the local economy. She also spent time griping about how expensive 6 kids are. I guess with this information it was a logical conclusion that she thinks they deserve more than what they get. Also, I find it interesting that with all this trouble she is currently having she states, "We love the area, so we aren't rushing the housing office to get on base".

          • You left the "so we make due and get by and don't gripe (too much)" out of your second quote.

            I guess it's really all in how you interpret it, which is a downside to the internet. In your first quote she's simply stating a fact, which a lot of people don't seem to understand. If I had a dollar for every time someone questioned me how much the military "pays per kid" I'd have enough to buy one of my kids a car or send them to a year at community college. I still fail to see how she's stating she's entitled to more BAH based on the fact she has six kids. I interpret her post as her stating why a reduction would put a hardship on her family.

            People who talk about "irresponsible procreation" get under my skin, and in the interest of being honest I used to be one. Then my husband had a vasectomy and we got a surprise, and not because I was unfaithful. Stuff happens. We've actually met quite a few people who got the same surprise after having the same surgery, even one person who got pregnant with twins after her husband had his done. Without knowing this person in real life I find it incredibly harsh and judgmental to outright assume they irresponsibly created a large family with no means to take care of them . It's easy to judge if you've never been there yourself.

          • the first mel | August 13, 2013 at 11:34 pm |

            My pregnancy was a surprise also, but due to different reasons than yours. I get it, sh** happens. You are right, her comments are interpreted differently by different people. According to my interpretation, I came to my conclusions. She is welcome to set me straight and I will take responsibility for any erroneous conclusions. Just bear in mind that the first time you have a surprise, it is actually a surprise. The second time, you might be able to let it fly that it was a surprise. The third time, and so on, I don't buy it.

          • the first mel | August 13, 2013 at 11:42 pm |

            Oh, and thanks for the debate. I enjoyed it.

  63. We can't just move on post, we have a 7 year old dog that is no longer welcome since housing became privatized, and there's no way we're moving to Barstow CA (closest town to Ft. Irwin) to save money, its just not somewhere I want to raise my kids. We will be cutting it very close if we have to pay an extra 20% of our housing costs, right now we pay 960 for mortgage, taxes, insurance, HOA fee leaving us 180 for utilities. We already pay about 90 dollars out of pocket for those, and even though the utilities here are the high Ft Irwin doesn't qualify for COLA. In short…this would suck. Our best option would probably be put the youngest in daycare and me quit college :/. If they could hold off just one more year I'll be set with college grants and will no longer have to pay 230 dollars a month for school. *crosses fingers*

  64. And this entire post is now a mute point since the white house notified congress that active duty pay will be exempt from sequestration through 2014

    • I believe they mean base pay, because this was stated prior to the sequestration, but now they are talking about cutting BAH, which is an entitlement, not "pay"

  65. Instead why don’t we look at longer times on station reducing PCS costs. Many of us purchased homes within our current BAH rates knowing if we must move the mortgage payment could be covered by a military tenant.
    I truly wish leaders would take a look in the mirror and offer to take cuts themselves. As a leader I will never ask a subordinate to do something I won’t do.

  66. SSgtMacUSMC | August 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

    I am stationed in NYC and our BAH is the highest in the country. I’m currently receiving $3,337.00 a month. Now some of you might think that’s extreme, but my rent is $2,899.00 a month and is about to go up. As long as they keep raising rent, you can’t cut BAH.

  67. How about they don’t ask the DOD to cut their budget and instead go after welfare folks. I say this because I know of many people that have never worked, refuse to work and have baby after baby just to keep their welfare benefits. Let me give you just one example before you reply to me saying I am being mean to those one welfare, you may change your opinion. I know first hand a woman who is on welfare, has been for the last 20 years. She only worked for one year of her adult life then had a child and went on welfare. She’s since had 2 more kids on welfare. She gets cash ever month, food stamps, medical and free housing. She gets $500 in cash, $600 in food stamps, $1800 for housing and medical benefits. So $2900 a month +medical but never earner it but our government continues to give her a free hand out from taxpayer money month after month and year after year. She is not disabled or elderly either so why don’t they force those people off welfare and back to work? instead our government wants to take from our hardworking service members who are an active and positive part of society., You may not feel this matters but we are talking about $34,800 + medical to one welfare recipient add up how many people are sitting on welfare that refuse to work or use it a “career” that is alot more money available to the government that cutting BAH rates for the military.

  68. Well written article.

  69. This is ridiculous the military service members do no make enough money for them to do this. They just wanna keep taking away from our military.. Pretty soon no one is going to want to join the military..

  70. I’ve been saying for years, if they need to cut military spending, eliminate the “dual-BAH” military married to military receives. After performing basic research with AFPC stats, the DOD could save 10+ BILLION dollars across the 10-year FYD. I even submitted the numbers and evidence to the military cost-saving program. I, however, do NOT agree with touching the basic BAH we now receive as single or married, ONLY mil-to-mil.

    • What happens when mil to mil are not stationed at the same base? There are plenty of situations and circumstances that occur when they are not able to live together. How are they then supposed to accommodate two separate households?

  71. This is why I lived in base housing.

  72. TheLoneCrapShooter | August 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |

    As a retired military man I find it discouraging that the big guns always seem to be aimed squarely at the forces when it's time to make budget cuts. At the same time, the true value of a members compensation can be difficult to calculate. We all know that health care costs have skyrocketed and the quality of coverage provided for our servicemen and women, and their families, is second to none. The price of an insurance policy providing the same coverage would be very high. But the value of the health care perk can be hard for the member to quantify. If a member never gets ill or injured, it's meaningless. If a member has healthcare needs it can be a lifesaver. The military pay structure is unique among government employees, where members get a reduced base pay plus allowance for quarters and rations, while civil servants get a larger pay rate. Years ago I got the idea, somewhere, that this was by design, to reduce the cost of military retirement entitlements, where the retirement is based on base pay, not allowances. To overhaul the entire military compensation to eliminate allowances and benefits provided at no cost while boosting base pays by the same amount would be an incredible task, and would require many new policies and procedures, such as charging dorm/barracks dwellers rent for their quarters, eliminating meal cards, calculating the cost of room/board charges while deployed, requiring members to purchase health care insurance, and having members contribute to their retirement, etc. It would be a bookkeeping nightmare. But it would simplify the comparison of member to civil servant or civilian pay and would help eliminate the myth that members work for two dollars an hour. It might also inspire the government to cast a wider net when looking to reduce costs via payroll cuts, and instead of focusing on service members and their allowances, they could propose across the board cuts for all government workers. HA!

  73. we already have $800 to spend on groceries and other bills by the time our rent comes out. if they lower it anymore.. i’ll be screwed. not even base housing can save me b.c they already want to take $800 out of the $941 we recieve in BAH. this just isnt fair. its not right that our military is being effected so harshly. especially b.c we’re the ones effected by it most when they get deployed, injured or worse. i guess it is true; they really COULDNT give 2 craps about the service members families :/

    • Courtney, I can't follow you. BAH is for housing and utilities, not food.

    • BAH is for housing the service member, they get a small addition for a dependent. It iS NOT meant for housing a zillion kids or feeding a spouse that won't get a job

  74. I bet most people bitching about this BAH issue don’t mind having a $500-700 car loan payment each month and have a I-phone 4/5. I’ve been in 17 years USMC E-7, and I make my paycheck & BAH workout just fine. My wife also has a real good job. Two kids and a dog who I live almost 400 miles away. I drive every weekend to see them. My wife lives In a house and I rent down where I’m at. Yes are times are hard for some families, but I didn’t join for a paycheck. I love being a Marine and the lifestyle has been awesome.

    • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 6:58 am |

      You might sing a different tune if:
      a) They lowered your BAH…which is what the article is about.
      b) You were stationed 3000, not 400 miles away. Making it impossible to drive down every weekend or forcing your family to sell said house in a crappy economy.

      Its funny how perspective changes with time and more importantly…knowledge.

      • Lady you are delusional! I have read through your posts here and deary me, you really think you and your husband are the end all be all of the military and EVERYONE needs to be and think like you, it's INSANE!

        Yes there are those of us spouses that think our military members are fairly compensated, yes we also believe that you can make any situation work, yes you CAN support yourself on lower enlisted pay, if you can't, don't have so many kids, yes the benefits beside the paycheck are phenomenal (like the health care and college tuition) and yes, a spouse can get a job. Stop being so bitter and appreciate what you have!!

        • sabrinacking | August 12, 2013 at 7:14 pm |

          What I "have" is a soldier on 9 medications to deal with the consequences of war. But thanks. I think you are equally delusional.

    • that is not true! I have ONE car payment for $142 on a car we bought USED and the other is paid off! We have NO credit card debt and have not for over 4+ yrs now! not everyone who is upset about this is irresponsible with their money!

  75. When you joined the military you knew the so called military way of life. Why on earth do you expect it to change? Either you deal with the situation or get out. Maybe then the government will reconsider they decisions that have made and make the change. I think lower ranks should live on the posts/base and have to pay for their utilities and learn how to live on a tight budget and the higher ranks should live off. Also does the px/bx and other facilities need to stay open till 11 pm?

    • Ever-decreasing pay and benefits was NOT the "so called military way of life" when we all joined. And I guarantee that if this change is implemented, enlistments will decrease significantly.

      • Well of course enlistments will decrease… but that's also something they're looking at with the sequester. Win win!

  76. Other companies don't move people every three years, and possibly to a very expensive can't except that lower enlisted can afford to live in the DC area or even Hawaii without compensation. And as far as living on post, that's a joke! Most posts are so crowed, you'd be lucky to ever get on. Sad state of affairs.

  77. Shame, shame our soldiers and families have to suffer, while our goverment take fancy vacations. We couldn't now afford to take family vacations when my husband was active duty. Eating out!!!! Please stop cheaping our soldiers and families.

  78. Some of the comments amaze me here. The Gov. Has a spending prob. Or this wouldn’t be an issue! You civilians like to complain about our pay and benefits…ENLIST then!! Those of you who tell ppl to live within your means and you’ll be fine. Does that mean you’re fine and dandy with them TAKING money away from you. I can totally understand halting it but taking away…sorry that’s a big NO-NO!! Maybe you’d be ok with a $500 a month pay. Could you live within those means with a family? Would you like someone to expect you to figure it out since you’re SO good at budgeting? Point is, if they are allowed to continue to take we will eventually be left with nothing. It’s already happening! Look at the cuts! Wake UP!!!

  79. They should cut obamas vacations that alone would save millions

  80. My husband is an E-5 active duty Marine and I can say we go out of our way to live below our means. When we were in DC his BAH was $1800 and we chose to live in Alexandria in an apartment for $1100 a month. Some places I know there just aren’t options but we knew plenty of people who rented fancier luxury apartments in DC itself maxing out their BAH. In NC we chose to buy our home as our mortgage is way cheaper than any rent in the area. We hope we can rent it out when we PCS.

    If they cut BAH we would definitely still need to tighten our belts. I have a bachelors degree and the only job I managed to find after many moths of searching pays barely above minimum wage, but I do it so we can have more savings. We are only 25, no kids and no debt… But we do want to start a family. And have a retirement. Almost all our extra earnings goes into either savings, the mortgage or our retirement funds. When we start a family those wont be an option. Even though we live smart and budget the cuts would really hurt us financially. All savings would most likely have to stop and that sets us up for a downfall later. If we didn’t have that when our a/c went out a month ago and took $4000 to replace we would have been in a lot of trouble.

    Plus with a 1-2 year wait for base housing it’s not much of an option at this point.

  81. I think it would hurt alot of families if the BAH goes down right now we would be okay because we live on post but was thinking of buying a home in the future I know with my family we are E4 with 4 kids i dont work outside the home because of cost of child care in our area would eat up my pay so we live on a tight budget with just my soldiers pay I really hope they find somewhere else to come up with the funds I do agree to cut down on military pcsing travels or deployments thats not important we also have low debit no credit cards no cable family plan for our cell phones to save money only other bill we have is our internet for my husband to do his online colleage classes

  82. We live in Monterey and NO WAY IN HELL could we afford to live here without BAH. And if were to go down AT ALL we would be SCREWED. We are already on a tight budget. If they do this, we are super screwed.

  83. Just some more food for thought. Many bases have privatized base housing. As such, all individuals in base housing technically get paid BAH, but this payment goes directly to the company maintaining housing. I am certain these companies will be onboard with the lowering of BAH "sarcasm intended." Or will the 20% out of pocket expense be added to those living in base housing as well.

    • I would like to know this too. If we currently live on post are we going to have to pay the difference? Surely the companies who manage housing are going to have to make up for it somewhere, and you can bet it won't be to take the hit themselves.

  84. If our husbands work in civilian jobs they would make more than they do in the military… If we didnt get bah we wouldnt be able to live or eat on military pay….Example my hubby was an e-5 during this time with 10years made less than 35,000 in 2010 civilian doing the same job makes 80,000 to 100,000…. Tell me which should be paid more the civilian or the soldier putting his life and family last for his country that doesn’t even appreciate it…. We are stationed in Hawaii now and to even get a house or apartment over 1000 sq ft starts at 2000 and up that’s not on a good neighberhood either…. I wish they could live our life for 1 month on the pay we get because they wouldn’t be saying **** then

    • In what world would the job of an E-5 with 10yr experience make 100000? What's his field? As a contractor, maybe, but in true civilian positions? No. I dare your husband to get out and see what he would really make… just make sure to go reserve so that he can have the extra income from the military, because if he gets out, it's going to get real hard…

      Also he might have made less than 35k in 2010 but in 2013 he makes 36500. But he actually makes about 80850 (without dependents) when you add in military benefits (but not cola).

      If you can't live or eat on 35k, much less 80k, then you're not doing it right. Stop buying frivolous things, the military is supposed to be a sacrifice. If you don't want to sacrifice, he can get out and get a civilian job.

      And when he gets out, he can go back to school on the GI Bill and get another 170k in benefits over 3 years (by the national average). He'll also, if you can pull this for 10 more years, make an additional 22k per year until he's sixty – just in retirement pay – and 60000 plus per year after age sixty. Again, just in retirement pay.

  85. Why not begin with dual military couples. Currently, if they live off post they get ONE allowance at the "with dependent" rate and the other receives a SECOND allowance at the "without out dependent" rate. If they live on post the higher ranking looses their "with dependent" rate allowance to the housing office while the lower ranking keeps the "without dependent" rate allowance. I know this will hit a nerve with dual military couples but if the government wants to save money this needs to be addressed.

    • due to the military life style, not all dual military couples are station together. both of them will need to pay their own way. not all bases provides geographical bachelor housing as well.

  86. Can congress take a pay cut? Who takes 5 weeks of vacation and still gets paid?

  87. I'd like to know where Michelle Obama stands on this issue. All we ever hear is how much she cares about military families. Yet, military families have fared far worse under this administration than previous ones. Lower pay raises, cuts to Tricare and now probable cuts to BAH. She needs to put the money where her mouth is for a change.

    • Hubby has over 34 years in between reserves and now active reserves. The only time I remember the military being treated so shabbily was under Clinton. Our BAQ was based on the lowest priced two bedroom apartment in the zip code of the duty station. So, if you were stationed in a place that had lots of cheap dumps for rent, that's what you got. No consideration for whether or not the place was fit to live in. VAH was a little better. BAH is a little better. But, regardless of what was then, this is now. We have to live in the now. Gas is no longer less then a buck a gallon. Housing costs have risen along with everything else. I see this government treating the military like a used tissue.

    • Unfortunately, military contractors (and their legions of lobbyists) have far more influence over budget policy than the First Lady.

  88. Stationed at JBLM we are at the halfway point between Washington's state capitol, and Seattle. We are struggling to pay our bills now as we live off post, and I can't find a job to save my life. If they lower the BAH, I have no idea how we'll make ends meet. We tried to stay out of the terrible neighborhoods, but we couldn't afford the nice ones either. The wait list for on-post housing is already several months long. Personally, I think the contractors should be feeling the bite of the sequestration, not the soldiers and their families.

  89. The biggest issue with BAH is that since it is public knowledge, the property owners in all areas know what everyone gets paid and adjusts their rent accordingly. But, we shouldn't be having this discussion anyway since over 1 TRILLION US dollars are spent every year currently for other Americans on the over 80 social programs.
    I don't know about you, but I didn't sacrifice for my country for over 21 years (now retired) to pay for other slackers that just want a free ride. I guess this is the new "Living the American Dream".
    Require drug tests and instead of automatically recharging their EBT cards, make them actually show up to an office and stand in line.
    Quit taking our earned benefits!! First the TARP (modified VA loan program if you read into it), then Obamacare and now BAH. Great.

    • While it is true that many homeowners will adjust the rent to meet BAH, we must look at the bigger picture. Namely, that those homeowners (most of whom are service members themselves) are now also losing income. And then there are the sellers (again, mostly service members), who are forced to lower their purchase prices because of this. From a real estate perspective, this hurts the entire market. Not only are service members affected, but so are non-military homeowners due to decreasing property values, as well as the real estate and property management markets. When both the people and the markets suffer, this in turn hurts the economy as a whole.

  90. I know for our family, a lowering of BAH would cause serious financial difficulties, I am a stay at home mom,but because of Cystic Fibrosis,I am unable to work. My husband works long hard hours,weeks and months away from home,training,early mornings,late nights and holidays, he earns and deserves every single penny he makes! The people proposing this cut have no idea the ramifications if their actions,for families, business,nothing,it is really sad that of all the things the DOD spends money on,that lowering pay or housing for our men and women is where they want to cut back.

  91. Service members and their families are already sacrificing so much for this country. The monetary compensation in the form of pay and benefits is meant to offset/alleviate some of those sacrifices. What does it say about those in power who choose to make these loyal and hard-working people sacrifice even more, rather than cutting even just a tiny fraction of the obscenely massive contractor budgets?

    As much lip service as they pay to "supporting our troops," their actions indeed speak louder.

  92. Yes, my husband and I could make it on a budget cut, it would be tight. We would have to cut back on luxury expenses (cell phone, cable, internet etc) HOWEVER, here is the deal. If you don't like the idea of BAH being cut by 20%, then you have to let your congressman and senators know this!! If enough of us call, e-mail, snail mail them, etc it will help. If you think you don't have the time to do this, it is because you choose not to do this. Also, get out and vote…if you voted for the yahoo that suggested this, vote for his opponent next time. Facebook, Twitter and other social medias are also very effective tools to let the powers that be know that we will not lay down and take this. We are military, we move a lot, our significant others are in harms way at times,…we can ban together and FIGHT this!

  93. We're currently stationed where a gallon of milk is almost twice as much as a gallon of gas. Rent prices recently increased substantially and utility rates are due to double Oct 1. A/C is already cut off due to rising costs, which would have the utility bill running as high as $1000+ each month Thank you NAVFAC for that!!. The reason we chose to live here was the fact that it was, at the time, reasonably priced and the wait list for base housing was ridiculous. Up to 18 months in some cases. If they cut BAH then they'd have to raise pay across the board in order for the sheer basics to be covered. Already service members are paid below minimum wage and this is the thanks you give them for protecting the country and freedoms of every citizen. Live 6 months in our shoes, or however long a deployment runs, to get a real perspective of how we live, cope and get by.

  94. I think that bah should not be cut. Instead cut special pays. Give everybody bah and bas that live out in town and that’s your pay. Unless you get promoted or are deployed in a hazardous zone.

  95. this is crazy.they need to come live my life here in Fairbanks Alaska.we didn't get to choose this base they put us here.the price of living is so outrageous we r in the hole everypayday and sometime out of food before payday.our rent is double the amount we get for bah and we get cola but it still don't cover rent and our elec is up there.thank goodness our heat is included in rent or we would prob feezed during winter.the food is so much more expensive here even in the commissary.thankfully this past Christmas the school put my kids names down to get help with Christmas gifts or they wouldn't have had anything.its so depressing knowing that our government don't give a damn about its military husband has 3yrs left and that is it.he is done we could live better out of the military.i ll tell u what if they do lower the bah there will be more military families on welfare…I know I qualify now but refuse to go that route..but if comes down to it we will

  96. ScottysGirl04 | August 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm |

    It's not simple, what about the people who are not anywhere near a base…such us my family?

    • The military conveniently forgets that those stationed remotely exist. Back in the late 90's when Tricare came to MN, we had a briefing on what it was and how to use it. The major running the briefing was talking to me before it started. He was commenting on how they ran out of packets at the briefing the night before. He had our AM and another one in the afternoon that day and in the afternoon the next day. He thought we were all retirees. He was shocked to find out that out of 350 persons attending that briefing, only 5 were retirees. He didn't know AGRs and recruiters lived out in the world. It really hasn't gotten better for us.

      • ScottysGirl04 | August 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

        Yes,it certainly isn't nice how we are basically forgotten about. It's by everyone almost too. There are so many people here who are like well it's military life , deal with it….move on base blah blah blah. Seriously?! I wish we had that option.

        • Have you had the pleasure of having civilians tell you how much they wished their job would buy them a house. Or, how Great-grandpa said the army pays for EVERYTHING for you. Or, when somebody somewhere back around the civil war, told them you get a military pension that covers every need. Have they gotten quite upset with you when you inform them that 'everything' someone told them about military benefits was not quite correct? It can be an uphill climb educating and trying to be gentle about it. Are you AGR? A reservist or guardsman's family? Recruiter? We all run into these types of discussions.

  97. My husband and I live in a small house, with 1 bedroom, small living room, bathroom and small kitchen. It's just the two of us and our budget would definitely suffer major cuts (and both of us have incomes). We can manage, it's just us two for now. But I can't imagine how a family could manage with a salary of E-5 or below. Everything's so expensive, and you can't compare the prices of gas, groceries, bills, etc. in NM compared to CA. There are a lot of issues to consider before they can take a step like this.

  98. My husband and I are currently stationed in Honolulu, HI. We are very fortunate to be living in military housing right now. I don't know how or where we would be living if our BAH was cut. It is ridiculously overpriced out here, and the cities around base are not somewhere you'd feel comfortable living with a kid on the way. Thankfully here we have COLA to help with some of the expenses of living in this ridiculously overpriced state, but still, we struggle. And we are money smart and budget well! Oh well. If its cut, it will come back quickly. They won't cut it for long. I hope.

  99. It is a sad day when people living on the gov't dime and not working at all (and I am not referring to people who honestly are not able to either) and live off food stamps and such and refuse to even try to get a job, can live in a better house than our soldiers can because the gov't idea of fixing the budget is to keep taking from those who already sacrifice the most….

  100. With Respect, I don't want to step on anyone's toes. I was assigned to the general NYC area, where the occupancy for housing in the housing areas is nill, nothing. We are not supported by a base, for food drs. even uniforms. Everything is remote. That might be the wrong term NYC is no Iowa, but to go 50 miles here is a good two hours, plus tolls. I digress. We get a nice BAH and do get COLA, which does help my pay grade E-7. I don't think I exceeded my capabilities by marrying and having two children. In an effort to find affordable housing for my family I had to move 57 miles away from assignment.

  101. Still the schools warrant a total makeover. My children are then reschooled at home, just to make the grade. __Private schools in the area are $12,000 Our rent was $2600. We accumulated NYC style bills, just the basics for living. I know cable and internet is not covered, but I dare say the Army wants is to be ignorant about current events, and what Commander does not send out e-mails to be answered yesterday?

  102. We bought a house cutting our housing bills in half, not counting taxes or utilities, 3 months later assigned to West Virginia. My paycheck totally disappeared. My family could not move there due to location and pending mob, and my wife's current job which we could not duplicate in West Virginia.__ Needless to say we are totally wasted trying to make ends meet. I rent a room and have a cot I live on, no TV, but I do have internet, for work and family. My total costs for West Virginia match our utility bills in NY, the highest in the nation. With gas at $4.00 a gallon I don't go anywhere not even on leave. I get it, all soldiers have to move for the benefit of the Military, However at this point I am living at a deficit each month. It would be less expensive for my family for me to get out and get one of those jobs at Burger King. At least I wouldn't be costing the family for something we all don't have.

  103. I know there are many soldiers out there in the same boat, coming from a high cost of living area and dropping into a lower cost area. The only thing different here in West Virginia is the rent, but it is just a room $585, bread costs the same, peanut butter, and gas all the same, sometimes gas is more. Just to make mention I have never lived in my life in as nice a house depicted in the picture above. What am I missing? The difference in my pay dropped 2,400 a month.

  104. I hope the the Department of Defense realizes the impact that reducing BAH would have on military families. Living in the DC Area, the Cost of Living is extremely high and it is hard to find an affordable home for a family. I can see many military personnel either leaving the military all together because the pay wouldn't be worth it or trying to get on to base housing, which will cause another issue. Another thought to consider is how this will affect the Reserve and National Guard units that have to go away for 4-6 months for training. Having to pay 20% out of pocket would not make it worth while for those soldiers to want to pursue careers in the military because for those couple months their families would have a pretty hard time paying the mortgage.

  105. Some places like Fort Lee for instance won't let E7 and above stay in housing. They will let the CSMs because they are CSMs. Samewith officers to a certain rank they wont let you stay in housing. Also all the local places closest to Ft Lee has out rageous rental costs for whay your getting because they know what the soldiers BAH is. There is cheap living in one of the cities around Ft Lee but you don't want to live there.
    Yes civilians have cost of living included in their pay so civilians will be getting paid more than us for the same jobs. Also we need to get rid of contractors and alot of civilian jobs that we have military MOSs for. I tried to refil a prescription at the Post pharmacy and because of furlows they said it'll take over a week to fill it. If they had soldiers in the pharmacy like they used to there wouldn't be this issue.

  106. my husband is an e-4 and we are not a dual income family with two children. we live in Virginia where the cost of living is around the 1200 mark. having a hard enough time paying the bills cutting BAH would defiantly put us in a high crime neighborhood if not on the streets. child care is already outrageous

  107. If they cut we would be beyond broke our house is small and falling apart we have a 600/mo car payment that we haven't been able to lower we would be living out of our car until we cod get on post housing. My husband wanted this to be his career but if this happens he'd have better luck at McDonald's

  108. The Grass is Greener | August 14, 2013 at 10:01 pm |

    Oh happy day! We just got paid. I paid half of our bills so we only have to pay half next payday. My wife just got back from the grocery store with the next two weeks of groceries:). My three boys are excited because my wife brought them a two liter of Strawberry Fanta which they haven't had in months. I have ten dollars and forty three cents left for gas until payday.

    Yet there are people complaining about how frugal, or not, military people are. When military members, especially the ones that have families, are the most frugal people I know. I, for instance have had the same "broken" cell phone for four years. I have a car that would be awesome to use but hasn't been driven for more than three years because I can't seem to save three hundred dollars to have it rewired. We used our entire tax return check to finally pay off the loan for our "family" car so we were no longer in debt as of April.

    The military screwed up my pay when I came home from my second eight month deployment in the two year period I have been in this command. For the month of July I received three hundred dollars and some cents. At the commissary it costs us four to five hundred dollars a month to feed my three young boys. The money I lost is non-reimbursable. The head gasket, starter, tensioner pulley and radiator went out on our only functioning vehicle and it will cost more to pay somebody to fix it than the car is worth. Now we are forced to get a new loan for a new car and that is setting us back into debt.
    We are fortunate enough to live in base housing, who has decided that we need to pay some of the electricity bill. We walk through the house all day and turn off lights. TV is only on while I am at work and the computer is turned on only as a reward for good behavior or school work. Our living room, at this moment is 78 degrees. There is no A/C installed in our unit because it is a "cooler" climate. The only thing that we have that is reliable is our home.

    Any and all of my brothers and sisters who are risking their lives fighting for the freedoms of others, should not have to worry about whether or not they will be able to clothe, feed or shelter their families.

  109. I just find it amazing how the Government esp. Democrats, alway find it so easy to reach into the pockets of our military. I remember under the Clinton admin, the first thing they do is slash Military pay and benefits etc. Can we, just once start elsewhere.

  110. Geoff DeVore | August 15, 2013 at 11:29 am |

    It comes down to this well used scenario: During hard economic times the powers that rule usually take their lack of economic planning out on those who are vulnerable the ( military troops) in this case. Since troops can't protest they are easy pickings for people who sit at a desk and look at charts and have weeklly meeting over coffee and doughnuts!!

  111. Geoff DeVore | August 15, 2013 at 11:34 am |

    In short the powers that be lack the courage to honor the commitments they make to airmen, sailors, and soldiers!!! There are so many ways to reduce cost without having airmen, sailors, and soldiers reduce their standard of living through lack of foresight by our leaders!!

  112. Christopher Myers | August 16, 2013 at 6:45 am |

    There are so many more ways they can look to save. There is no need to even mention them because if I started a list it would end becoming 20 pages long. If Congress wants to cut BAH I say fine. I personally would deal with it as best I could and ETS out of the military. I would then go get a civilian job (I could easily get a job in the same field that I specialize in for the military making OODLES more). I am sure that I am not the only one who would do this. The military as a whole would see huge numbers of service members ETS and move on. I personally choose to serve because I want to serve my country, because I could make a lot more money in the civilian sector working less hours and less stress. No deployments, no waste-of-my-time PT formations, no Friday safety briefs to waste my time, no 80+ hours a week, no mandatory "fun days", no hard goodbyes, no getting shot at, no getting blown up, no PTSD, no hurry up and wait…I could go on and on and on and on about all the things that I sure as shit would NOT miss about the military. Now that I am listing out only about 1/10th of the BS why do I even consider reenlisting…

  113. I am a spouse for 24 years and I remember way back when, when BAH bounced up and down, every deployment or field problem money was missing from the paycheck and even thou we both worked we could not make it. Our girls were still small back then and it was living under the poverty line. Then somebody realized that almost 80% of military personal was on welfare and the pay and benefits got increased. Life became a lot easier so we thought then came privatized housing and we got stationed in Germany and took 20 steps back the little money we were able to safe disappeared in no time. After that tour we come back state side and started over again and back then finance was not what it is today back then you waited for your pay and by the time somebody got it right your accounts went in to collection it was a roller coaster ride times 10. Now my kids are out of the house and it is just me and my Husband looking at deployment number 6 and looking back and reading this article makes me thing we are going to be pushed back in to 1980/1990 with more expenses and way less money and it is scary to think that this is a possibility.

  114. If they are going to cut PCSes, I think they need to also re-organize the career tracks for just about every officer and enlisted. I know in order to remain promotable, we have to move every 2-3 years. I'd be happy staying someplace 4+ years. It would also be cool if instead of sending people to 12-14 month schools every 3-4 years, they do on-line learning. Could you imagine how much money would be saved if they closed some of the school houses?! What about combining the military Academies? Doing ROTC "boot camp" at the colleges and Universities instead of at military bases (save a boat load of money on sending ROTC students and faculty to "basic training," by keeping it local. Close the gyms, and have volunteer-run gyms like our crossfit gym at Eglin. I'm sure I'm going to get slammed again, but what about "outsourcing" the BX and Commissary– Walmart could do the same thing, have better supply-side management, and probably save boat loads of money, and they would probably maintain the same level of donation to MWR programs. I went to the BX the other day, looked at what they sold, and it's not really all that much of a savings, and they have really horrible inventory control. At the commissary half the time the produce and meat are well past shelf life. There are so many cuts here and there that would make a huge difference rather than cutting a portion of someone's pay check.

  115. Cutting BAH rates would be a quite hurtful. I have been enlisted in the military for 8 1/2 years now and with the *basic pay* that I get…it’s pretty ridiculous. I am a SSG. Even with the BAH and BAS I am still making less than my buddy who is a police officer in the El Paso, TX with only 4 yrs experience. We have talked about our pay differences and benefits and he is amazed at how he still makes more than I do. And for everyone that thinks healthcare and college is free…it is not. I am not going to complain about it, but just noting that it is not completely free like a lot of people think it is. Healthcare comes out of our checks every month. I would figure that after 8 1/2 yrs at any job one would be pretty high on the pay latter. We do not get extra pay because we have an associates or a bachelor’s or even a masters for that matter(I am a few classes away from my associates, but I won’t see a pay jump when I get it). His job does and I know of other jobs that do as well. Most jobs in the civilan sector will pay you according to your degree status. Another friend of mine works as a teacher in Ft. Stockton, TX. She is STARTING at the same rate that I get paid now with BAH and BAS. I would like to mention that she is getting a stipend for being a coach and being licensed in that area, as well. I do not get a stipend for having licenses from microsoft (Windows 7 certified) and security+ and working as a temporary BN S6 (outside my normal job description), even though I am infantry. I am not the type of person that likes to complain about this stuff, but I felt that I had to put in my 2 cent today. I also, like a lot of people have mentioned above bought my house here in EL Paso, TX because it is cheaper than renting by far. I was completely blown away by the rental prices here. The military does not expect service members to buy houses and sell every time they move. That’s insane. They look at prices based of what the rental properties are at for that fiscal year. I decided to buy a house and make that leap of making the investment. I am now going to hope for the best when I move in about a year and hoping someone will buy or rent it. I hear that we get over paid all the time. I am quite frankly sick of hearing that. My wife’s brother works at a restaurant in Indiana and he made manager rank in just two years (good for him, of course)…and that’s with no degree. Point being is that he is getting paid not too far off of what I make. Of course, I’m sure once he hit’s 8 1/2yrs of experience there, he will be making much more and probably in a higher position maybe with a degree by then, as well. So for all that say we are over paid, look into your facts first and numbers don’t lie.

  116. Emma Lotter | August 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm |

    I think they better rethink this idea. Back in the old days "the 70's" a young boy committed suiside, because his dad was stationed in California and they didn't have enough money to live. He figured if he killed himself they'd have more money to live and eat. It was on tv, in the newspapers. In the Army Times. Just because the military gets BAQ and a few other "extras" doesn't mean everyone is rich. Being on duty 24 hrs a day, moving every 2,3, or 4 years is not cheap. We have been retired since 1986 and believe me it wasn't easy then and I'm sure it isn't any better now. They always balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. It never changes.

  117. I am a DOD civilian working for the Air Force and am completely appalled by the abuse of BAH that I see on this base daily. A single E-3 with 3 years active duty is allowed to live off base and is given $1300.00/month BAH along with BAS. An average 2 bedroom apartment will run $1,100.00 per month, a nicer one, maybe $1,400.00. Most of these airmen have roommates and share those expenses, leaving them enough money to pay for a 2013 Infiniti, Audi, or Acura and spending money. These kids aren't raising families on this money, they're financing extravagant life styles on our tax dollars. If I see another airman or young NCO driving a $40,000.00 car, I'm gonna throw up. I built my house, brand new, 4 years ago for $326,000.00. My neighbors built the same house at the same time, paying the same price as a SrA and SSgt. Look at these scenarios and tell me that this process isn't broken.

    • the first mel | August 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm |

      Actually, credit is financing their extravagant life styles. Just because they are driving $40,000 cars doesn't mean they can actually afford them.

      • They are affording those $600 monthly car payments some how. Credit only goes so far.

        • First of all, I know and have known soldiers (and a couple airmen) like you describe and most of them I know always have financial issues (you just don't see it), I have counseled a few soldiers because of things like this. They think the military is "a safe job" and they can go buy cars like these and whatever else they want because they'll always have a paycheck. However, when normal expenditures (such as getting a fresh haircut every week or getting unit SOP items sewn on gear and etc.) start popping up, guess what?…they can't afford those kinds of things because of that $600 car payment. But at least they have a nice car to be proud of right? (add sarcasm to that last sentence). Anyway, that is just poor money management by that service member, but I thought I would throw one of these fact scenarios that I have dealt with before out there.

        • On the other hand, there are those service members that have nice cars like that because they really can afford them. When I first joined, my old team leader,(at the time he had JUST been promoted to a SGT/E-5) had already been deployed THREE times and going on number FOUR a month after I had got there (My first deployment). He had no debt when he joined and he saved all his money from all the deployments to include his fourth deployment (my first). I remember him having a nice brand new Camaro and he had it incredibly torqued out with high end aftermarket parts. He also owned a motorcycle. They were all fully paid off. Our second deployment together (his FIFTH), we were really good friends and in different company's by then, and I remember him telling me how he usually pays off his phone bill by the interest that he makes from his savings. That's incredible. And by the way, he was also single this whole time and would go out and spend money and every now and again he would buy all our drinks for a night.

        • Point being, do not make hasty judgments just because someone has a nice car or spends money like no other. We are all in different financial situations and some of us are way off better than others or started off way better than others.

          I can tell you. as far as what you are posting about, from my experience, it's most likely the first scenario I gave, but the second scenario about my good friend is not rare, either. I have calculated what I can buy and how fast I can buy it and how much I can have in my savings if I had no debt and it's incredible how much money leftover I can have if I stick with my budget that me and my wife have started almost a year ago. I have also been in the paycheck to paycheck situation myself and have felt what that is like. My wife and I are both eager to pay off all our debt and have all our income to ourselves. "the first mel" is absolutely right about credit. Credit in this day in age is horrible and especially with military. Most anybody will give military credit now-a-days just because they know that they will get the money at the end of the day with an allotment agreement.

        • Anyway, I am just rambling now. By the way, you should read my post just above There are some examples for you, too. I am tired of typing.

  118. Or… wait for it… stop being dependopottami and get jobs. Pitch in. Service members work hard to keep your refrigerators stocked with bonbons and fattycakes.

    If you can't get a job, then shut up and cut some coupons.

    Whiners. Typical MILSPOUSEs. Ugh.

  119. There was just a study completed that shows welfare benefits in some states are the equivelant to making $15/hour at a full time 40 hour/wk job.
    How much do junior enlisted make?
    It is already only a select few willing to joint the military, who often give up better careers because they believe in defending this country. I completed my 20 years in 2008 (I can't call it retirement, it doesn't pay enough, but I have yet to come up with an good term for it) and can tell you, retirement pay is not all that and now they are trying to cut even more from the benefits.
    Who will be willing to serve, especially for 20 or more years?

  120. Lori Gordon | August 22, 2013 at 7:13 am |

    get rid of all the non military(current military families excluded) whom works on post and turn it back to the military

  121. jenstwocents | August 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm |

    It will be interesting to see how this affects the "public-private partnership" that is the new on-base housing "solution" – The private companies that are partnered with the government are in business so it's about the bottom line to them and lower BAH rates mean lower payments to them. This could become a much larger problem beyond long wait lists for on-base housing. What if on-base housing isn't an option because the private companies rent to other "qualified" persons (as allowed in the partnership agreements) who can or will pay more rent than the BAH rate?

  122. What a joke. When NSA Alameda was closed by BRAC the enlisted ON-BASE housing was classified unacceptable for low-income families. They tore down the base housing and replaced it with newly constructed town homes. I suppose if the powers to be reduce BAH they will be obligated to provide housing – maybe refurbished CONEX boxes would work. Bottom line this is the tip of the iceberg watch for a major reduction in COLAS. FOr those coming up on the end of enlistment it might be time to tweek and polish your resume.

  123. Navy Sailor | August 25, 2013 at 3:32 am |

    Here is a thought, why don't Senator's, Congress, and President cut their pay and expenses. It takes 3 military person salaries to equal one congressman's salary. Especially since they don't do their job. Budget is still a mess, people are still without jobs and if they do have jobs they cannot support a family unless they have 2 or more jobs. The issue is at the top not the military, so stop blaming the military and trying to take away from people that protects your butts.

    • Navy Sailor | August 25, 2013 at 3:41 am |

      O by the way, if miltary pay and BAH is so high why do so many military families qualify for food stamps. Senator's, Congress, and the President really needs to reconsider their ideas and start looking at the real facts.

  124. It's unfortunate that there are individuals who think the military getting housing pay is unfair. I'd like to see every civilain family out there lose a member of their family for months at a time not knowing if and when they will get a phone call and have the personal knowledge that their family member is OK. I would really like to see Congress experience that before making the decision to cut our benefits. Part of me feels that we are blessed to have those benefits and another part of me feels that we are entitled because of our sacrifice. Our lifestyle is not common, therefore, our benefits should not be either.

  125. Lowering our bah would seriously put us in financial troubles. We bought our first home 2 years ago based on our current BAH. BAH only covers the mortgage, which means everything else is out of pocket. 20 % off our mortgage added to out of pocket expenses would seriously hurt us.

  126. Kyle DeConnick | September 1, 2013 at 2:05 am |

    Honestly, if they lower our BAH rates, even though I'll be able to suffice, I'm tempted to live in a tent in the middle of downtown so when all the civilians see how the military personnel are treated and abused, someone will write the representatives and congressmen complaining. The military expects us to set a high standard/example in everything, what kind of an example would this show of them when they can't even pay us enough to live comfortably when we aren't deployed?!

  127. One really important issue here, that is not being mentioned, is the building of equity. My husband has been active duty for 24 years. We have never purchased a home; as some tours have been one year, and out of fear we would take a huge loss or not be able to sell. Most in the military do the same.

    I added rent ONLY (not utilities) expenditures since his entrance in 1990. We have spent $281,200 on rent. If we were civilians, spending the same amount, we could be close to fully owning a home. Instead, we will be retiring in a couple of years after spending $300,000 on rent; and starting from scratch in our 40's to purchase a home. This is why the military has covered the housing expense; it is an incentive to get people to stay in for this long without being able to build equity. This is very important for lifelong service members.

    Like others stated; we don't live beyond our means or luxuriously. We just want safe neighborhoods with good schools for our kids. We deserve that given everything the whole family sacrifices for the military; especially if you stay in over 20 years.

  128. Okay I am going to get slammed but here goes.. As retired enlisted we spent years in the Hampton Roads area of VA. This was way prior to 2001 so our housing allowance NEVER kept up with actual rentals. We always had to budget out of our base pay to cover the difference + utilities.. Then we got smart and bought our own home.. Yep it was to small the day we bought it but we survived and prospered. If you own your own home you ned to adjust your monthly federal tax bill ( number of personal deductions you take) to match what your annual deduction will be. It can make all the difference. In the end our tax free BAH made our house payment and by getting extra money in the pay check due to higher personal deductions we had utility money. Sure you aren't going to get a huge tax return in April but you are expanding your monthly budget. Get tax savy. Plan now for your retirement…what the military will give you won't get you much.

  129. I don't have anything against dual-military couples, but it doesn't make sense for dual-military couples to get double BAH when they live in the same home (and one gets dependent rate too). It is meant to be an allowance to pay for a place for your family to live, regardless of how many employees or dependents are in the family. It is location based – meaning it is depending on your situation. It is not considered a type of "pay", just an allowance.

    However, the idea of cutting every BAH by any percentage is a crime. Military pay, allowances, and benefits are calculated based on comparable jobs in the civilian market and even BAH is compared to the local housing market. If congress is going to decrease BAH then they need to re-evaluate all of our benefits to include the disappearing on-base services which, all combined, will result in a need to increase Base Pay.

  130. Nope, the military doesn't care if your credit rating is trashed because they moved you and you can't sell. We bought outside of Philly in 2006, because we could buy for less than rent.(rent was $500more on a smaller apartment) Then the market crashed and a year after we bought, our townhouse was $100,000 less than we owed(and that's after the down payment!) Fast forward to 2011 and we're still under water on the place. Then comes PCS orders. House is worth even less and won't sell(at any price) can't even rent it out! We wound up giving it back to the bank in a deed in lieu. We're just lucky we were able to rent the place we're in now before the hit to our credit. We don't live extravagantly. I shop thrift stores and garage sales. I cook from scratch. I have MS and can't work so that's not an option for us. If they cut BAH, a lot of people will be heading for the door. Those who can't, will be demoralized and do less than they do–but, I am sure they will do the minimum job required.

  131. Really? We are in DC too, the BAH we get covers our entire 15 year mortgage, utilities, AND pays for the property management on one of our rental houses

  132. I don't know how you do it. We just moved here in December and could barely find a place to live with staying under BAH for just the rent. As is, this is a trash heap compared to what we were able to afford in NC with our BAH paying our mortgage, all utilities and money left over to save for repairs. Yet they get a $75 increase in 2014 and we get a $12 decrease (and yes, I realize our bah won't drop, but it would have gone up if we hadn't moved!) The BAH rate for DC is grossly under estimated. Add to that the higher cost of groceries, gas, ridiculous cost of public transportation that my husband needs to take to the pentagon, car insurance rates doubling and I am thinking it is all absurd! They don't even give you enough money to live in a reasonable commute to work. Takes my husband 1.5 hours to get from door to door if he drives, 1 hour if he takes a combo of metro/marc train. I say again… ridiculous. ABSURD.

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