HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — The Department of Defense has released the 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing rates and an increase across the board for Hill AFB Airmen should make everyone happy.
The BAH rates across the DOD, which took effect Jan. 1, 2018, increased an average of 0.7 percent. An estimated $21 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members.
For Hill AFB, service members with dependents rates show an average increase of 6.44 percent with E-1s through E-4s garnering almost 8.9 percent or $100 per month.
The smallest increase is E-6 and 0-2 who will see approximately a 3.17 percent increase.
The without dependent rates shows a 5.73 percent average increase.
Excluding warrant officers, O-2E is getting a 2.49 percent increase followed closely by E-1s through E-4s who show a 3.52 percent increase.
The largest increase belongs to 0-1s who will receive a 10.06 percent BAH increase.
Continuing to balance the growth in compensation costs, the 2018 BAH program expands the member cost-sharing element (i.e. out-of-pocket expense).
Based on the authority provided in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the cost-sharing element has increased to four percent for 2018, which means a typical member will absorb four percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade.
Even with the increase in cost sharing, on average, BAH rates will increase approximately $10 per month.
A typical mid-grade enlisted member with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $19 per month higher than last year, while a typical junior officer without dependents will find his/her BAH about $16 higher than last year.
Housing cost data are collected annually for over 300 military housing areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
An important part of the BAH process is the cooperation from the services and local military housing offices in the data collection effort.
Input from local commands is used to determine in what neighborhoods data is collected and to direct the data collection effort towards adequate apartment complexes and individual housing units.
Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military housing area and are included in the BAH computation.
Total housing costs are developed for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area.
The BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.
An integral part of the BAH program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members.
No matter what happens to measured housing costs – including the out-of-pocket cost-sharing adjustment, an individual member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see his/her BAH rate decrease.
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.
The DOD is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefits structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and in the future.
For more information on BAH, including the 2018 BAH rates and 2018 BBAH rate component breakdown, visit www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm.
Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the BAH calculator at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.
(75th Air Base Wing public affairs contributed to this article.)