The Department of Defense has temporarily authorized increases in the 2021 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates for 56 housing markets (commonly referred to as Military Housing Areas, MHAs) across the U.S. Uniformed service members who have incurred increased housing costs above their current BAH may be eligible to apply and receive BAH at the temporarily higher rate. The increased BAH rates for affected active duty (and full-time National Guard duty) Service members in these MHAs will take effect October 1, 2021 and expire on December 31, 2021.
Rental housing market data collected by the Department of Defense from March-August 2021 indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on rental housing costs in the 56 affected markets. Notably, low availability and turnover of rental housing stock during the spring and summer months led to rental cost increases in many locations.
To help ease the financial burden of rising housing costs facing Service members moving to new duty stations or signing new leases, the Department moved quickly to assess market changes across the U.S., develop a list of the most affected markets, and evaluate and implement potential solutions.
Service members who are receiving BAH in one of the affected 56 MHAs and have verifiable housing cost increases may be eligible for the temporary BAH rate increase, subject to Service specific implementation guidelines and approval of individual applications. Members who may be eligible for the higher BAH rates will receive an email in the coming days with additional information on how to apply for the higher rates with their Service. Additionally, each Service will publish information related to how to apply in administrative messages and other media channels. These higher BAH rates will be replaced by 2022 BAH rates on January 1, 2022.
Because not all segments of a housing market increase or decrease at the same rate, the BAH rates for calendar year 2022 (effective as of the first of January) may differ from the temporarily increased 2021 rates. In some cases, 2022 BAH rates may be more than the temporarily increased 2021 BAH rates. In other cases, the 2022 BAH rates may be the same or may be less. BAH rate protection, which normally protects members from decreases in housing market costs, does not apply to temporary rate increases. Therefore, members should not assume these rate increases will continue into 2022.
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. The temporary BAH increase is a reflection of this commitment.
The temporary BAH rates that will be in effect October 1 through December 31, 2021 for active duty, and full-time National Guard duty, members are located at https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Docs/BAH_Temporary_Increase_Rates_Changes_Only.pdf. They are shown for members with and without dependents.
For more information on the Basic Allowance for Housing, visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm.