2019 BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) Rates

Updated: April 14, 2022
In this Article

    The 2019 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) average rate increase is 2.55%. This increase is slightly below the proposed 2.9% in the Department of Defense’s FY2019 Defense Budget.

    The 2019 BAH increase will be effective on Jan. 1, 2019, and service members will see their first increase in their Jan. 15, 2019 pay. The actual BAH increase will vary by area.

    To determine your BAH, use this BAH calculator, or keep reading to learn more about BAH.

    See 2024 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates here.

    5% Out of Pocket

    The BAH program includes a plan to slow growth by implementing a 5% out-of-pocket cost for living expenses – meaning, for 2019, the rate will cover 95 percent of service members’ housing costs, a one percent drop from last year. 

    BAH previously covered 99% of housing expenses, but by 2019, service members will be paying 5% of their housing expenses out of pocket. The DoD expects the average out-of-pocket expense to range from $66 to $149.

    BAH Rate Increases by Area

    Not all locations will see an increase. The DoD bases BAH on the duty station zip code, or school zip code in the case of veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, and thus corresponds with the cost of living of that zip code. For instance, cities with a very high cost of living, such as Honolulu, Chicago or Los Angeles, have a higher BAH rate to help offset those costs.

    Smaller cities such as Tacoma or Colorado Springs have a lower cost of living and, therefore, a lower BAH. The new BAH rates will affect all members, including veterans using the GI Bill®.

    Keep in mind that individual rate protection keeps rates constant for those already receiving BAH for a specific area. Decreases only impact those moving into a new location.

    FY2012 – FY2019 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Comparison

    YearProposed Increase/DecreaseActual Increase

    BAH Changes Timeline

    Late 1990s

    Defense Department began increasing housing allowance rates to align with actual rental market housing costs across the country and reduce members’ out-of-pocket housing costs. Before this initiative, a military member’s housing allowance covered only about 80 percent of their full housing costs, leaving an out-of-pocket cost of up to 20 percent.

    By 2005

    Housing allowance rates increased enough so that the median out-of-pocket “off-base” housing cost was completely eliminated for members by pay grade, location, and dependency status. The Military Services also entered into numerous public-private ventures (PPVs) designed to eliminate inadequate government housing. Leveraging private sector financing, expertise, and innovation, the DoD could provide necessary housing faster and more efficiently than traditional Military Construction processes would allow.

    FY 2015

    The DoD authorized the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates to be 99% (vs. 100 percent) of the median rental housing costs. 99% of service members’ housing costs are covered.

    FY 2016

    The FY 2016 NDAA provided the authority to slow the growth rate in BAH by 1 percent per year until reaching 5 percent out-of-pocket. At this point, BAH covered 98% of service members’ housing costs. The actual implementation of the out-of-pocket adjustment is computed based on a percentage of the national median cost so that the actual out-of-pocket dollar amount will be the same by grade and dependency status in every military housing area.

    FY 2017

    BAH covers 97% of service members’ housing costs.

    FY 2018

    BAH covers 96% of service members’ housing costs.

    FY 2019

    BAH covers 95% of a service member’s housing costs. The full 5% out-of-pocket rate adjustment began on Jan. 1, 2019.

    Written by Veteran.com Team