Editor’s note: This article by Patricia Kime originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
Service members' Basic Allowance for Housing rates are set to rise an average 5.1% beginning in January, although a few may see their monthly benefit drop after the Pentagon temporarily boosted rates during the pandemic due to a meteoric housing market.
The Pentagon announced the 2022 BAH rates Dec. 15, giving many service members more money to cover the cost of their housing next year.
Due to unusual circumstances in 2021, some of those whose monthly allowance will drop from the temporarily boosted levels will technically still be getting a raise.
Some personnel with dependents living in 21 locations -- and single service members in some of those areas, as well as 11 additional locations who applied for a temporary increase in their BAH -- may see a slight decrease from year-end BAH levels that were temporarily boosted for residents of 56 military housing areas.
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But most of those members will see an overall increase in their monthly BAH rates in 2022 from their original, unboosted 2021 rates.
BAH rates are determined by the cost of housing in roughly 300 military communities across the U.S. and are based on data that includes the average market rental rates and average cost of utilities.
The rates vary by geographic location, paygrade and whether a service member has dependents; they change from year to year.
With the rates tied to the cost of rental housing and recalculated every year, service members usually are protected from decreases if they remain at their duty station and their circumstances don't change, such as through a demotion or divorce that changes dependency status.
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But because the increases announced in September were temporary, they are not part of that protection rule.
According to Military Times, of the 200,000 service members that the Defense Department believed would be eligible to apply for the temporary BAH increase, just 4,167 have been approved, with more than 3,000 of those from Air Force personnel.
Locations where personnel with dependents may see a decrease from temporarily elevated allowances include installations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
Single service members in those states, as well as Arizona and Georgia, also may see a drop, depending on paygrade.
But overall, those affected can expect their 2022 BAH rates to be the same or higher than they received in 2021 before the temporary bump.
The Defense Department estimates that it will pay $25.6 billion in BAH to one million service members, an increase of $2.6 billion from 2021.
The 5.1% average increase is the largest in years: The average rise this year was 2.9%, up from 2.8% in 2020.
BAH is not designed to cover 100% of the housing costs in an area. In calculating the rates, the DoD factors in a 5% out-of-pocket cost to completely cover rent and utilities.
Service members who live in privatized housing pay rent equal to their BAH.
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