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Rumors About DOD’s Temporary BAH Increase are Circulating on Social Media. Here’s What We Know Now.

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A leaked memorandum requesting a temporary increase of troops’ basic allowance for housing (BAH) has not yet been approved, according to the Department of Defense. ...

A leaked memorandum requesting a temporary increase of troops’ basic allowance for housing (BAH) has not yet been approved, according to the Department of Defense.  The draft has been making the rounds on social media and some military news websites. 

“I understand a draft version was leaked out, but nothing’s been approved at all,” said Army Maj. Charlie Dietz, a DOD spokesman, adding that he doesn’t know when or if the proposal will be approved. 

But, DOD’s Defense Travel System posted the document with a pending approval date of Oct. 1. The Defense Travel System website, along with the United States Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Mission Support website also published a detailed list of expected BAH increases, which was also dated for Oct. 1.  (Editor’s note: the Coast Guard removed the list from its website after this article’s publication).

“The U.S. Coast Guard partners with the Department of Defense to determine all basic allowance for housing rates (BAH) and is working to finalize updates to existing BAH rates,” said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt. j.g.Sondra Kay-Kneed said regarding the document.

Dietz said he was not aware that the Defense Travel System or the Coast Guard had released the information on their official sites.

If or when the rate hike is approved, it would temporarily increase troops’ BAH stipends by 10%, 15%, or 20% for 56 military housing area locations until the end of the year. According to the list, the increases may be as much as $4,296 or as little as $816. 

Military members would be required to apply for the increased allowance and prove that they have incurred higher costs due to increasing housing prices. DOD said in the document that it doesn’t know how many service members would qualify, but estimates assume “maximum certification.” That means that all service members could qualify, at an expected cost of $158.9 million.

BAH is an untaxed allowance to cover housing costs for service members who live in communities surrounding military bases. But, the stipend hasn’t been sufficient to offset costs in some areas since the Covid-19 pandemic tipped the housing market in favor of sellers and landlords. Loosened restrictions on travel and PCS moves created an influx of military moves and increased demand for housing and soaring costs. increased cost. 

Military families are especially affected by the rental cost increases. About two-thirds of service members and their families live in communities surrounding military installations. More than 77% pay over $200 out-of-pocket each month for housing costs, according to the 2020 Military Family Lifestyle Survey.

Here are the military housing areas that would receive the proposed increases according to DOD’s listed – but not yet approved – memorandum:  

20% Increase

  • TWENTY NINE PALMS MCB, CA               
  • EGLIN AFB, FL                                             
  • BOISE, ID                                         
  • MOUNTAIN HOME AFB, ID                                   
  • SPOKANE, WA                                                 

15% Increase

  • LEMOORE NAS, CA                                     
  • BARSTOW/FORT IRWIN, CA                                     
  • BEALE AFB, CA                                                
  • SACRAMENTO, CA                                            
  • STOCKTON, CA                                              
  • RIVERSIDE, CA                                               
  • FORT PIERCE, FL                                            
  • HELENA, MT                                                   
  • LUBBOCK, TX                                              
  • HAMPTON/NEWPORT NEWS, VA                                                                                                                                                                                                      

10% Increase

  • PHOENIX, AZ                                                  
  • FORT HUACHUCA, AZ                                             
  • YUMA, AZ                                                      
  • FRESNO, CA                                            
  • SAN BERNARDINO, CA                                           
  • EL CENTRO, CA                                                
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, CO                                          
  • NEW LONDON, CT                                              
  • HARTFORD, CT                                               
  • TAMPA, FL                                                   
  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL                                        
  • OCALA, FL                                                    
  • FLORIDA KEYS, FL                                            
  • SAVANNAH, GA                                                 
  • SPRINGFIELD, MO                                         
  • MALMSTROM AFB/GREAT FLS, MT                                    
  • MOREHEAD/CHERRY PT MCAS, NC                                 
  • CAMP LEJEUNE, NC                                             
  • WILMINGTON, NC                                                 
  • ASHEVILLE, NC                                                
  • FORT MONMOUTH/EARLE NWS, NJ                                      
  • TRENTON, NJ                                                   
  • JB MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, NJ                                     
  • ALBUQUERQUE/KIRTLAND AFB, NM                                  
  • WHITE SANDS MR/LAS CRUCES, NM                                    
  • SANTA FE/LOS ALAMOS, NM                                         
  • NELLIS AFB/LAS VEGAS, NV                                      
  • RENO/CARSON CITY, NV                                           
  • PROVIDENCE, RI                                             
  • WACO,TX                                                                 
  • SALT LAKE CITY, UT                                          
  • QUANTICO/WOODBRIDGE, VA                                     
  • RICHMOND/FORT LEE, VA                                      
  • DAHLGREN/FORT AP HILL, VA                                   
  • BREMERTON, WA                                                   
  • PORT ANGELES, WA