OnWatch is a quarterly newsletter of the Fleet Reserve
January 14 , 2022
2022 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is part of the military compensation package that provides a service member with 95 percent of the average housing cost based on pay grade and geographic location. The Department of Defense (DoD) recently released the 2022 BAH rates that will increase, on average, to 5.1% - adjusting for the recent increase in the cost of living. The DoD estimates they will be paying about $25.6 billion to approximately 1 million service members. The FRA's April 2021 OnWatch reported on the inadequacy of BAH; DoD increased BAH rates for 56 areas at the end of 2021 due to the rising cost of living. The temporary BAH increase instituted in October expired on Dec. 31, 2021, and the DoD speculates the 2022 increase will solve the issue. The department believes the original estimate of the increases in rates in those areas were inflated, potentially setting a false expectation. The DoD came to this conclusion, based on the number of claims received accompanied by intense messaging campaigns.
According to a 2021 Government Accounting Office report released on BAH, of the 44% of the cases examined, the DOD did not collect enough data from locations and housing types to accurately represent costs in those areas. As a result, housing allowance rates may have been set inaccurately. The GAO recommended Congress to revise statutory language to ensure payments to privatized housing projects are consistent with BAH reductions. Also, they recommend the DoD review its sampling methodology by increasing the sample size.
The department states they are committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefits structure that provides service members with an adequate standard of living. This would sustain a trained, experienced and ready force for now and in the future.
The FRA will continue to oppose cuts to BAH payments and also to restore BAH to 100% of housing costs. The association will work to:
· Reform enlisted housing standards by allowing E-7s and above to reside in separate homes.
· Track BAH to ensure it is commensurate with actual housing costs.
· Ensure adequate housing inventory and that housing privatization programs are beneficial to service members and their families.
· Work to ensure service members and their families have safe, quality homes and communities.
· Increase the accountability of privatized housing companies by putting more oversight authority in the hands of local military leaders.
Service members can calculate their current BAH payment by using the calculator online. (http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm)
OnWatch is a quarterly news update for active duty and Reserve personnel, written by Theo Lawson. He served 8 years total reserve and active duty in the United States Marine Corps and has a personal interest in these matters. As the assistant director of Legislative Programs for the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), he’s also committed to FRA’s mission to maintain and improve the quality of life for Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel and their families. He looks forward to keeping you up to date on FRA’s legislative efforts to protect and enhance your earned military and veterans’ benefits.