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    2024 BAH Updates and Changes

    As costs continue to rise, military families are stretching to meet their current living expenses—including one of the largest, housing. While the 2023 BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) allotment remained adequate for some, for others, the relief was short-lived and caused financial strain early in the year

    Even cutting down daily costs by reducing luxury-based items and services, military families are living paycheck to paycheck in California and other high-cost-of-living areas. Needless to say, the 2024 BAH changes couldn’t come fast enough for some.

    On to the question of the hour, how did BAH change from 2023 to 2024?

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    How BAH Changed from 2023 to 2024

    On average, BAH increased 5.4% from 2023, totaling $27.9 billion—a drastic drop from last year’s increase of 12.1%, and yet, because of the increased cost of living, the total budget exceeds 2023's $26.8 billion. There are already concerns with the 2024 BAH rates. Some areas did not change, some saw a decrease, and others, as many of us would hope, saw a little increase in their BAH. 

    To find your current 2024 BAH rate, use the DOD BAH calculator here

    How BAH Is Calculated

    The government focuses on the average cost of living in 300 Military Housing Areas (MHA), accounting for varying home sizes and types (i.e. apartment versus single family home) to accommodate differing ranks and family sizes. Factors like location, pay grade, and the number of dependents a service member has all plays a role in determining BAH.

    While the numbers might feel against you at times, remember that the BAH allowance isn’t designed to meet 100% of your housing expenses; it’s meant to cover 95%. But inflation has forced that 5% to balloon and feel far greater in recent years.

    However, COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) offers some leniency for some high-cost-of-living areas. 

    When applicable, COLA acts as a financial buffer to ease your budget and help you maintain a reasonable standard of living in higher-cost-of-living locations. Military members are often eligible to receive the OHA (Overseas Housing Allowance). While it’s usually not enough to rework your budget, you shouldn’t overlook it before finalizing your finances. Learn more from the Defense Travel Management Office.

    To see if you’re eligible and to find your rate, use the CONUS COLA Calculator here and the OCONUS COLA Calculator here

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    What Other Military Allowances Changed for 2024? 

    The Defense Defense Authorization Act,  awaiting the President’s signature but otherwise ready to roll out, increases pay for service members and civilian employees by 5.2% totaling $841.4 billion. 

    “Included is language that excludes basic allowance for housing from the calculation of gross household income used to determine eligibility for the Basic Needs Allowance. That allowance is provided to service members with dependents who have a gross household income less than or equal to 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.” — U.S. Department of Defense

    The bill is also expected to increase military separation allowance up to $400 a month.

    Basic Allowance for Subsistence 

    The 2024 Basic Allowance for Subsistence increased 1.6% from 2023:

    • Enlisted: $460.25 per month (a $7.69 increase from 2023)
    • Officer: $316.98 per month (a $5.30 increase from 2023)

    BAS is designed to offset the cost of meals for service members. Note that this allowance does not account for family members. 

    Though military families continue to feel the effects of the rising economy, 2023 brought more changes for the community than 2024. For a comprehensive list of long-lasting budget changes in 2023, visit the Department of Defense

    Cost of Living Adjustments 

    Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) are meant to offset increasing prices to help keep living expenses proportionate to income. Beneficiaries will see an 3.2% increase from 2023.  

    COLA affects:

    • Retired Military Veterans
    • Disabled Veterans 
    • Veterans’ Pension Benefits
    • Survivor Benefit Annuitants 
    • Surviving Families of Veterans 
    • Social Security Recipients
    • Federal Civilian Retirees
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
    • Eligibility for Medicare Extra Help and Medicaid
    • Federal & State Food and Housing Assistance Programs

    Armed with this information, you can set your budget for success wherever you're stationed. Stay updated with more information for your military life!

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    2024 BAH Updates and Changes

    Danielle Keech


    Danielle Keech

    Danielle Keech is a writer and content creator for MilitaryByOwner Advertising. She writes on military life topics, highlights clients’ open houses on social media, and manages the Military PCS Facebook group. She especially enjoys covering financial topics and helping military families exercise financial responsibility and plan for the future. Danielle has been a Marine Corps spouse for ten years (and counting!) and is a momma to four littles and one fur baby. She and her pilot spouse have lived in Virginia, Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, and, most recently, Okinawa, Japan. And yes, you guessed it, Hawaii is her favorite duty station to date! Find MilitaryByOwner's Millitary PCS group here.

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