Housing allowances are available to service members and their families to help cover the cost of housing in the civilian community. Allowances vary by duty station and change each year. Be sure to find out exactly what is available to you before making a decision on the type of housing you believe you can afford and whether to live on or off the installation. Your Relocation Assistance Program (RAP) office can help you apply for housing allowances, as well as relocation allowances, in addition to other services offered. You can also visit the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Travel Management Office to find current allowance tables, per diem rates, and tools to help you plan.
Basic Allowance for Housing. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is paid to service members stationed in the United States who do not live in government-owned housing. It is intended to help service members cover the cost of housing in the private sector. The amount is based on the civilian housing market, your rank, and number of family members. Rates are based the local housing rental market and vary by area. Because BAH covers the average cost of housing in each location, you may end up paying more-or less-for your rent or mortgage. If you live in privatized housing on an installation, you may still receive your BAH and then pay it directly to the owner of the housing community.