2015 BAH Rates Announced
The Department of Defense has released the 2015 Basic Allowance for Housing rates. Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 0.5 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2015. An estimated $20 billion will be paid to approximately one million Service members. On average, Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase approximately $17 per month.
In an effort to slow the growth in compensation costs, the 2015 Basic Allowance for Housing program incorporates two changes to the computation of Basic Allowance for Housing rates. First, renter’s insurance, typically purchased to insure personal property, was eliminated from the 2015 Basic Allowance for Housing rate computation through procedural changes. Previously, renter’s insurance contributed an average of one percent to Basic Allowance for Housing rates. The 2015 Basic Allowance for Housing rates are now based only on the local costs of rent and household utilities in each military housing area. Second, based on authority provided in the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, a member cost-sharing element or out-of-pocket expense was reintroduced to the housing allowance rates. For 2015, a typical member will need to absorb one percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade. These rate computation changes were the most modest adjustments we could make while still slowing the growth of certain military pay and benefits in a fair, responsible, and sustainable way. Even with these nominal changes, the overall military pay and benefits package remains robust and healthy.
Housing cost data are collected annually for over 300 Military Housing Areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. An important part of the Basic Allowance for Housing process is the cooperation from the Services and local military housing offices in the data collection effort. Input from local commands is used to determine in what neighborhoods data is collected and to direct the data collection effort towards adequate apartment complexes and individual housing units.
Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military housing area and are included in the Basic Allowance for Housing computation. Total housing costs are developed for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. Basic Allowance for Housing rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.
An integral part of the Basic Allowance for Housing program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members. No matter what happens to measured housing costs – including the renter’s insurance and out-of-pocket cost sharing adjustments noted above, an individual member who maintains uninterrupted Basic Allowance for Housing eligibility in a given location will not see his/her Basic Allowance for Housing rate decrease. This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease.
The Department is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and in the future.
For more information on Basic Allowance for Housing, including the 2015 Basic Allowance for Housing rates and 2015 Basic Allowance for Housing rate component breakdown, visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm. Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the Basic Allowance for Housing calculator at: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.