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Military Allowances Overview

Service member using an ATM.

A major component of your overall military compensation is your allowance package. Allowances are tax-free and are designed to compensate servicemembers for their living costs, if adequate services or facilities are not provided by the military.

For example: if no housing is available for a servicemember or their family, the military will pay the servicemember a housing allowance.

In addition, allowances are sometimes based on the servicemember's location, dependency status, and pay-grade.

Military Allowances Include:

Basic Allowance for Housing - Basic Allowance for Housing provides service members compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence - Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is a continuation of the military tradition of providing room and board (or rations) as part of a servicemember's pay. Although BAS is meant to offset the cost your meals, it's important to note that it isn't intended to cover the costs of meals for family members.

Cost of Living Allowance - Cost of Living Allowance is designed to compensate for being stationed in certain "high-cost" locations in the continental United States.

Overseas Cost of Living Allowance - The Overseas Cost of Living Allowance is a supplement designed to equalize purchasing power between members overseas and their CONUS-based counterparts.

Overseas Housing Allowances - Overseas Housing Allowance is paid to a permanent duty station outside the continental U.S., authorized to live in private housing.

Clothing Allowance - To help pay for a uniform and other clothing costs service members may be given a clothing allowance.

Family Separation Allowance - A servicemember with dependents who serves an unaccompanied tour of duty may be entitled to a family separation allowance

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