2017 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates have been released! As usual, there are some big winners and some big losers. And also as usual, the most important thing to remember is that you will receive the higher of your old rate or the new rate until you move to a new duty station. BAH rate protection rules, often called grandfathering, protects service members from seeing a drop in their BAH rates once they're settled at a new duty station (with a few tiny exceptions.)
2017 BAH is meant to cover 97% of the average costs of renting an apartment or house that fits the guidelines set out for each rank. Because individual families choose to live in different types of housing, it is not designed to cover the total costs of housing for every service member. Service members may choose to live in less expensive housing and use the remaining BAH for other purposes.
The big winners and losers? Locations with large drops in BAH include Washington DC, Fort Huachuca, and Minot, North Dakota. Locations with large increases include Athens, Georgia, and Seattle, Washington.
There have been lots of other rumors about changes to BAH, some of which have stemmed from proposed legislation and some of which appear to be just flat our rumors. In good news, no major changes to the overall BAH structure were included in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA.) That's not to say that changes won't occur in the future, but we are safe for this year.
You can look up your new BAH rates at the Department of Defense BAH Calculator. Simply enter the duty zip code, rank and year. It will pop open a new screen with the appropriate rates for both with dependent and without dependent service members.
Confused, concerned, or just want to vent? Let me know in the comments! Then hop over to SpouseBUZZ to take the BAH poll.