The Department of Defense has released the 2012 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates. BAH rates will increase an average of 2 percent when the new rates take effect on January 1, 2012. For members with dependents, average increases in BAH are approximately $39 per month. A typical E-6 with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $35 per month higher than last year, while an O-3 with dependents will receive about $40 more than last year.
An integral part of the BAH program is the provision of individual rate protection for all members. No matter what happens to housing costs, an individual member will not see his/her BAH rate decrease as long as they do not have a reduction in pay grade, change in dependency status, or permanent change of station. 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.
Data are collected annually for over 350 Military Housing Areas (MHAs) in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The cooperation from the Services and local military housing offices in the data collection effort is an important part of the BAH process. Input from local commands is used to determine what neighborhood data are collected and to direct the data collection effort towards adequate apartment complexes and individual housing units.
Three components are included in the BAH computation: median current market rent, average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer), and average renter’s insurance. Total housing costs are developed for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each MHA. BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.
Beginning with the 2012 BAH rates, the Department is also publishing the average percentage each BAH component (rent, utilities, and insurance) provides to the total housing cost in each MHA. This additional information will assist Service members with making informed housing choices when relocating to a new area.
The Department remains committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living.
For more information on BAH, including the 2012 BAH rates and 2012 BAH component breakdown, visit www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm. Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the BAH calculator at: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.