When you enlist in the military, if you are married, you will have several options of where to live. You can choose to live off post where you will be responsible for the bills or you can choose to live on post where your BAH (housing allowance) is deducted from your paycheck monthly to cover the bills.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of living on post.
- Your BAH covers your rent and, in most cases, it covers at least some utilities.
- Housing is based on the size of your family. If you have a larger family, you may qualify for nicer housing on post than you can afford with your BAH off post.
- While not completely secure, there is generally a higher level of security living on post when you must pass through a guarded gate for access.
- You have easy access to on post activities and organizations as well as your own office or work space.
- Some feel if they live on post they never truly get to leave work. This was the case with my family so we also chose to live off post.
- The military rules about your kids sharing bedrooms may not jive with your own beliefs.
- Housing is generally divided in neighborhoods by rank. This means that as an E-6, you may be paying more for the same house as an E-4 simply because your BAH is higher.
- There are many rules and regulations to living on post including maintenance and long-term visitors.
When you receive orders for a certain post or base, you can contact the housing office to find out about any possible wait times. In some locations, the wait list for on post housing can be several months to well over a year. Many times, they will be able to provide housing within a few weeks if there is a wait at all.
If you want to live on post but housing is not available, inquire about a possible occupancy date. You can also ask the housing office for temporary housing resources or rentals in the area that offer short-term leases.