As the military travel allowance system evolves, including the use of the Government Travel Credit Card, some families are finding it difficult to pay for the security deposit on a new place to live, especially if they haven't gotten back the deposit on their old house or apartment. Thankfully, the Department of Defense has a solution to this cash flow problem: Advance Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).
Advance BAH is similar to a pay advance, except that the funds must be requested in conjunction with a move into a new house or apartment that is not government housing, and the funds must be used to pay advance rent, security deposits, or other initial expenses. Advance BAH can not be used by those purchasing a home; it is only available for expenses related to rental properties.
Advance BAH does not have to be requested in conjunction with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, but it must be requested within 30 days, before or after, of an eligible move. Other frequent uses include newly married service members moving from the barracks, or service members who have promoted and are no longer required to live on base.
Service members must demonstrate their ability to repay the loan within their regular pay, and may take no more than 3 months of the appropriate, local BAH rate for their rank and dependency status. Advance BAH is typically repaid over 12 month, though repayment may be extended up to 24 months or the projected end of the current tour. In addition, repayment may be deferred up to three months in special circumstances.
Many leadership and administrative staff members don't know that Advance BAH exists, so you may have to help them learn if you would like to use this option. If you need a little help, authority for Advance BAH can be found in the Joint Travel Regulations, Chapter 10, Part A, Section 10006. In addition to whatever form your branch wants you to use, you'll need to attach documentation to demonstrate your financial need, and probably a copy of your lease or prospective lease.
Ideally, we'd all have ample savings to handle unexpected changes in housing. In reality, many military families are already struggling, and coming up with a security deposit can be a challenge. Advance BAH can help make setting up your new home a little easier.