All You Need to Know About Military BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing)

Table of contents

If you are associated with the military in any way, you’ve heard the acronym BAH. While you may know a few of the basics, this article will examine the military BAH in-depth, including types, benefits, and how to calculate rates.

Key takeaways

  • BAH stands for Basic Allowance for Housing and covers around 95% of home rental costs for active military members.
  • BAH allows service members to live off base without worrying about extra costs, and it increases with pay grade and years of service.
  • BAH programs include BAH with and without dependents, partial BAH, BAH-differential, and BAH reserve component/transit.
  • BAH rates are calculated using the BAH Calculator and depend on duty station, paygrade, and years of service, among other factors.
  • BAH payments are recognized by mortgage lenders as a source of income and can be used to qualify for military home loans. Contact Hero Home Programs™ for help with buying a home.

What is BAH?

BAH stands for Basic Allowance for Housing, and it refers to a stipend received by active military members to cover around 95% of the cost of home rental. BAH money is offered on top of your regular monthly payments. In addition to covering a home rental, it may also be counted and used toward utility payments.


What are the benefits of BAH?

BAH allows for service members to have the freedom to live off base without worrying about the extra cost that this entails. Single service members don’t have to be tied to the barracks and can find an apartment or house where they can live independently at a price they can afford. For those with a family, they can avoid having to wait for base housing availability and find a home that will be the right fit for them.


Different types of military BAH programs


BAH with and without dependents

The military BAH will be adjusted according to whether or not you have dependents. Those who have a spouse and/or children will receive a greater amount of BAH to accommodate a larger living space.


Partial BAH

This is given to a service member living in government quarters (such as barracks or base housing) in accordance with their location and rank.



Also known as a BAH Diff, this payment is reserved for those who live in government quarters and pay child support. However, if the amount of child support owed is less than the amount of BAH Diff the service member is eligible for, they will not receive the BAH Differential.


BAH reserve component/transit (BAH RC/T)

The BAH RC/T, also known as BAH Type II or BAH non-locality, is a non-locality housing payment for members that are in specific circumstances such as members overseas, or reservists who are serving active duty for 30 days or less. It is not calculated by location but is the same across the board and based on BAQ (Basic Allowance for Quarters).


Calculating BAH rates


Calculating military BAH rates

Calculating BAH rates is best done through the use of the BAH Calculator. The DTMO offers this service, and you may check what your payments will be at any location in the world by inputting your paygrade, location, and the number of dependents.

BAH rates are dependent upon several factors:

  • Duty station (the average rent for the location where you’re stationed)
  • Paygrade
  • Years of service

Your BAH will increase with an increase of pay grade and years of service, and the location will determine the average housing costs for the area. Payments will increase for those stationed in more expensive areas and vice-versa.


BAH payment variations

BAH payments will vary according to these factors, but the payment is calculated to cover roughly 95% of the home rental cost. This greatly reduces the cost and stress of renting for the service member. Military BAH rates in 2021 are now available and may be calculated through the BAH Calculator found at The military pay chart for 2021 reflects a 3% increase in military pay, and a 2.9% increase in BAH payments compared to 2020. Service members may not see a change, especially if there are rent increases in their area.

BAH payments do not vary between the branches of the military. Coast guard BAH rates are the same as Army BAH rates, and the Navy BAH scale is the same as the Air Force. So, how much does BAH pay? It is entirely dependent on your pay grade, years of service, dependents, and duty location. These are the only factors considered when calculating BAH.

The only ways you’ll see a change in your BAH payments are if the status of dependents changes, you are demoted, or if you change location. If you are being stationed in a different area, you may want to check the BAH Calculator to determine what your new BAH payment will be.

Basic Allowance for Housing is an excellent resource for military service members that can be used to greatly reduce the financial burden. In addition to the direct benefit, it is also important to know that mortgage lenders recognize a basic allowance for housing as a source of income the same way they would a W-2 income.

Those service members who are receiving a BAH payment may use this to qualify for a military home loan to actually purchase a home. In addition, the BAH payment will very likely cover the entire mortgage payment.


Contact us today!

If you are in the market for a new home and have a BAH, contact the team at Hero Home Programs™. They will work to save you thousands of dollars on your home purchase while also putting you in touch with local experts in your area for home inspections, insurance, and more.

Picture of Jacquelyn Sublett
Jacquelyn Sublett

I love teaching and writing on real estate, finance and mortgage topics. I find it fulfilling hearing stories of first time home buyers who we have helped with the home buying process. Writer for the Hero Homebuyer Programs™

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