The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) provides money to cover Massachusetts service members’ housing and related costs in the civilian market when government quarters are not provided. If you live in privatized military housing, you will receive BAH.
Your BAH rate is based on your pay grade, your dependency status and the location of your duty station. The rates change Jan. 1 of each year.
Learn more about BAH
The national average BAH rates for service members with and without dependents rose by 12.1% from 2022 to 2023. Because the Defense Department calculates the rates based on a combination of local costs of rent and utilities for various housing types, any fluctuation among those factors in a given location affects BAH rates for that location. The “significant increase” reflected “unique market conditions” in 2022, according to the Defense Department.
BAH rates have been directly tied to the costs of rental housing in local markets since 2008. While BAH rates fluctuate based on the previous year’s housing cost averages, individual rate protection prevents your BAH from going down as long as your situation stays the same. If the BAH rate for your location increases Jan. 1, you will receive the increase. If it decreases, you will not normally see any decrease.
Your BAH rate can decrease in only three ways:
- If you PCS to a new location, you will receive the BAH rate that is in effect at that duty station on your report date.
- If you are demoted, your BAH will change to the current rate for your lower paygrade, which may be lower than the BAH at your previous paygrade. Promotions won’t lower your BAH, even if the higher paygrade has a lower BAH rate than your old paygrade. You will receive whichever rate is higher.
- If your dependency status changes (from with dependent to without dependent or vice versa), your BAH will change to the rate effective on the date of your dependency change.
There are many military benefits that Massachusetts service members earn during your service in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force, Air Force or Coast Guard.
Although the basic housing allowance is considered non-taxable income for tax purposes, it is considered includable income when calculating child support or alimony during a Massachusetts divorce or paternity action.
Should you be in the midst of a military divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.