There are three components to OHA - Rental Allowances, Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance, and Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA).
Rental allowances are computed using actual rent payments as reported through the local finance systems. The maximum rental allowances are set so that 80 percent of members with dependents have rents fully reimbursed. Some members are expected to pay some out-of-pocket amount. The housing costs of new arrivals are considered when adjusting rental allowances. Unaccompanied members or members without dependents are entitled to 90 percent of the with dependents rate. All members are reimbursed for rent up to the amount of the lease or the allowance, whichever is less.
Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance
The Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance is paid monthly to defray expenses paid directly to utility companies and expenses incurred from recurring maintenance and minor repairs for the leased residence. Expense data gathered from members receiving OHA and paying their own utility bills determines this allowance, set to cover the 80th percentile of reported costs. Members with utilities paid by the landlord do not receive this allowance; it is added to the rental allowance. Members without dependents and paying their own utilities, are entitled to 75 percent of the rate set for members with dependents.
Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA)
MIHA partially defrays move-in costs associated with occupying privately leased quarters. This allowance is composed of three components: MIHA/Miscellaneous, MIHA/Rent, and MIHA Security.
- MIHA/Miscellaneous is an up-front, lump sum payment that reflects average expenditures to make dwellings habitable (e.g., transformers, supplemental heating equipment, wardrobes, electricity connection). Members with and without dependents receive the full allowance with their first OHA rental payment. This allowance does not cover any moving-out costs.
- MIHA/Rent is an actual dollar-for-dollar reimbursement made in the field for customary or legally required up-front rent-related expenses, such as rental agents' fees.
- MIHA/Security is a dollar-for-dollar reimbursement made for security related enhancements to the physical dwelling when quarters must be modified to minimize exposure to terrorist or criminal threat. Locations must be designated MIHA Security locations for this payment to be authorized.
Updates based on New Cost Data
Allowances are reviewed and updated:
- Rental allowance: actual rents provided through local finance offices; consolidated data provided by duty station from the Defense Manpower Data Center. Rental allowances normally reviewed and adjusted every six months
- Utility/recurring maintenance allowance: updated annually through a survey provided to members receiving OHA and paying utilities separately from rent
- MIHA/Miscellaneous: updated once every three years through a survey provided to members overseas receiving OHA
- MIHA/Rent & MIHA/Security: actual, dollar-for-dollar payments made in the field
Updates based on Currency Fluctuations
Allowances paid in U.S dollars but rent, utilities, and move-in are items typically paid in local currency. The goal is to maintain purchasing power in local currency over time. Click here to view updates based on currency fluctuations.