DoD May Slash Your Housing Allowance

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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 Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com 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 CNN.com, 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.

129 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.

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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!!!!!"

  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.

  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!

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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……

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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/

  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.

  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…..

  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.

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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!

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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
    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/prevent

  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.

  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.

  61. 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…

  62. 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.

  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

  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. 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.

  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 :/

  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.

  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?

  76. Other companies don't move people every three years, and possibly to a very expensive areas..you 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.

  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

  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.

  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.

  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. http://www.budget.senate.gov/republican/public/in
    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.

  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 family.my 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?

  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. 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.

  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. 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. 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.

  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.

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