It’s the much-anticipated time of the year when proposed BAH rates and policies are under review within the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (Defense budget). As of this writing, the Senate has approved the budget with amendments and has passed the bill to the House for review and approval. Current proposed changes to the BAH program for 2018 include:
- Overall average increase of 2.9%. This overall average varies by installation/location, pay grade, and dependent status.
- Military member out-of-pocket increased to 4%, up 1% from 2017. In other words, the 2018 BAH is intended to cover 96% of the average housing cost in the installation rental market area. This increase is part of the gradual transition to 5% out of pocket in 2019.
- Dual military couples with children to both collect “without dependents” rate. Previously one member would collect the “with dependent” rate. As of this writing, the Senate added an amendment that would grandfather current military members collecting BAH:
Notwithstanding the amendment made by subsection (a), the monthly amount of basic allowance for housing payable to a member of the uniformed services under section 403 of title 37, United States Code, as of September 30, 2017, shall not be reduced by reason of the amendment so long as the member retains uninterrupted eligibility for such basic allowance for housing within an area of the United States or within an overseas location (as applicable).
Typically, the Defense budget is approved by the President in December, at which time the new BAH rates and policy changes become law and effective for 2018.