Crowds watch a remembrance day ceremony at the ceramic poppy art installation by artist Paul Cummins entitled 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' in the dry moat of the Tower of London in London, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) is a monthly allowance paid to service members assigned to an OCONUS PDS (permanent duty station outside the continental U.S., not including Hawaii and Alaska) authorized to live in private housing. OHA defrays the member's housing costs and includes the following components:
- Utility/recurring maintenance expenses, and
- Move-in housing allowance (MIHA)
Even though your OHA is broken down into a rent and utility/recurring maintenance amount it will appear as one payment on your LES.
MIHA is paid upon moving in and helps to offset costs associated with initial occupancy including:
- Move-In Housing Allowance/Miscellaneous: This entitlement is paid in a lump-sum and no receipts are required. Examples of such necessities are sinks, toilets, light fixtures, kitchen cabinets, and a refrigerator and stove (which sometimes are not provided in overseas dwellings).
- Move-In Housing Allowance/Rent: This covers all rent related expenses; receipts are required. These expenses are fixed, one time, nonrefundable charges levied by the landlord, the landlord(s) agent or a foreign government which the member must pay before occupying a dwelling. Examples are real estate agent fees, redecoration fees, and one-time lease taxes.
- Move-In Housing Allowance/Security: These security related expenses are for members assigned to designated areas where dwellings must be modified to minimize exposure to a terrorist or criminal threat. Receipts are required. Expenditures which are not related to the physical dwelling, such as personal security guards or dogs, are not allowed under Move-In Housing Allowance. Move-In Housing Allowance security payments must be approved by the senior officer in the country.
Your OHA can change every month based on the exchange rate between the local currency and the U.S. Dollar.