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Service members set to receive permanent increase in monthly housing payments

By Deborah Wilber - | Dec 20, 2021

Wayne Clark, Associated Press

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson provides testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington, D.C., March 7, 2019. The committee examined privatized military housing for service members and their families.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Basic allowance for housing is increasing at an average of 5.1% for U.S. service members starting Jan. 1, 2022. According to the Department of Defense, approximately 1 million service members will receive an increase in monthly BAH payments, totaling an estimated $25.6 billion.

The BAH increase comes in place of a temporary increase to 56 military housing areas nationwide expiring on Dec. 31. The Department of Defense authorized the temporary increase on Oct. 31 to all uniformed service members who experienced increased housing expenses above their current rate. Housing prices nationwide, including Utah, have risen sharply over the past few years.

“Rental housing market data collected by the Department of Defense from March-August 2021 indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on rental housing costs in the 56 affected markets,” the DOD said in September when announcing the temporary increase to housing payments. “Notably, low availability and turnover of rental housing stock during the spring and summer months led to rental cost increases in many locations.”

BAH rates are dependent on a service member’s pay grade and number of dependents, with 2022 rates ranging from $74 to $168 a month. Rental housing costs are accessed as part of a data collection process by the DOD.

Every year, the department collects data for approximately 300 military housing areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Median rent costs and utilities such as electricity, heat, water and sewer are calculated into the BAH rate.

All branches of the U.S. armed forces alongside local military housing offices participate in the BAH rate-setting process, with local commands providing input as to geographical locations where data should be collected.

The DOD “is committed to preserving compensation and benefits to provide service members with an adequate standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced and ready force,” according to a news release detailing the new payment increase.

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