Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

Regular Army: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

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Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is a United States (U.S.) based allowance that provides uniformed service members equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local housing markets when government quarters are not provided. A service member stationed outside the U.S., including U.S. territories and possessions, who does not have government housing available is eligible for Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA).

There are several types of BAH to satisfy various housing situations that occur among military members. In general, the amount of BAH you receive depends on your location, pay grade, and whether you have dependents. Under most circumstances, you receive BAH for the location where you are assigned, not where you live. Additionally, you may be entitled to some BAH amounts if you are residing separately from your dependents. This occurs in situations involving unaccompanied overseas tours or having a dependent child that resides with a former spouse. The rules regarding these situations can become quite complex. Consult your Finance Office if you are in one of these situations.

The BAH rates have increased an average of 5.4% effective January 1, 2024.


Army active duty Soldiers are eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing.

Benefit Highlights


3 houses in a neighborhood Basic Allowance for Housing rates are based on local area rental market data and vary by geographic duty station, pay grade and dependency status. The cost of utilities is also considered. BAH is based only on rental properties, not homeownership costs like mortgage payments and property taxes.

BAH also includes rate protection. This means, if a service member’s current BAH rate is less than the previous year, the member receives at least the same amount of BAH as the previous year, provided that the member’s duty location, rank and dependency status remain the same. If BAH rates go up, the member will receive the higher BAH rate as long as their eligibility is uninterrupted. This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area’s housing costs decrease.

For a complete listing of BAH rates, see BAH Rates for All Locations. Service members can calculate their individual BAH rates using the BAH Calculator:


BAH enables service members to live off-base at a comparable rate as their civilian counterparts. It is not designed to cover all housing costs for all members. Some members may have out-of-pocket expenses because the rates are based on the median cost of rent. A service member’s actual expense may be higher or lower depending on the service member’s choice of housing and where they live.

Service members are free to make housing choices that best suit their needs; therefore they may choose to use all their housing allowance to rent expensive housing close to their duty station or they may choose to have a longer commute by renting a larger home in a less expensive area/outlying area that is further from their duty station.

Different Types of BAH

BAH With Dependents and BAH Without Dependents

A service member with a permanent duty within the 50 United States, who is not furnished government housing, is eligible BAH, based on the service member's dependency status at the permanent duty ZIP Code. A service member stationed overseas, including U.S. protectorates, who is not furnished government housing, is eligible for Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) based on the service member's dependency status. If a service member is serving an UNACCOMPANIED overseas tour, the service member is eligible for BAH at the "with dependents" rate, based on the dependent's U.S. residence ZIP Code, plus OHA at the "without dependents" rate, if the service member is not furnished government housing overseas.

Partial BAH

A service member without dependents who is living in government quarters is entitled to a Partial BAH.

BAH Reserve Component/Transit (BAH RC/T)

BAH RC/T is a non-locality housing allowance for service members in particular circumstances, for example, Reservists on active duty for 30 or fewer days. It also applies when a service member is in transit from selected areas where no prior BAH rate exists (such as overseas). It does not vary by geographic location. BAH RC/T was set based on the old Basic Allowance for Quarters (BAQ), which was based on the national average for housing. BAH RC/T is published annually and is determined by increasing the previous year's rates by the national average percentage growth of housing costs.

BAH-Differential (BAH-Diff)

BAH-Diff is the housing allowance amount for a service member who is assigned to single-type quarters and who is authorized a basic allowance for housing solely by reason of the service member's payment of Child support. A service member is not entitled to BAH-Diff if the monthly rate of that Child support is less than the BAH-Diff. BAH-Diff is determined by the U.S. Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) and was equal to the difference between BAQ with dependents and BAQ without dependents in 1997 for the service member's grade. BAH-Diff is published annually and is determined by increasing the previous year's rates by the percentage growth of military basic pay. For more information contact your Finance Office.

Note: Beginning with the 2012 BAH rates, the Department is publishing the average percentage breakdown between rent and utilities for each Military Housing Area. This additional information will assist service members with making informed housing choices when relocating to a new area.

Additional Information
Document Review Date: 29 December 2023