2020 BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) Rates

Updated: March 17, 2020

Table of Contents

    2020 BAH Rates The 2020 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates will increase on average 2.8%. The increase is an average for all areas and actual rates will continue to be set by the individual location based on the current local rental housing market survey process.

    Update: President approves fix to protect GI Bill benefits due to schools shifting to online classes due to the pandemic.

    Here are the 2020 BAH Rate Tables or use the BAH Calculator.

    See the latest update on the proposed BAH Rate increase for 2021 based on the DOD Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal.

    The 2020 BAH increase will be effective on Jan. 1, 2020, and service members will see the increase in their pay on Jan. 15th, 2020. Actual BAH increases vary by location.

    BAH covers 95% of housing expenses with service members paying 5% of their housing expenses out of pocket.

    Not all locations will see an increase, as BAH is based 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, and Los Angeles have a very high BAH rate to help off-set 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®. However, “rate protection” ensures that members currently living in a location where the rate is set to decrease will continue to receive the old rate – the new, lower BAH rates will be applied when troops move into a new area or change dependency status or rank.

    2022 BAH Calculator

    Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)

    Enter Duty zip code and not residence zip code. BAH rates are based on duty zip code.


    * Enter Duty zip code and not residence zip code. BAH rates are based on duty zip code.

    ** Click here for the OHA calculator (Overseas Housing Allowance calculator)

    FY2012 – FY2019 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Comparison

    Year Proposed Increase/Decrease Actual Increase
    2020 2.90% 2.8%
    2019 2.90% 2.55%
    2018 2.90% 0.7%
    2017 2.90% 2.4%
    2016 1.30% 3.4%
    2015 -5.00% 0.5%
    2014 4.20% 5.00%
    2013 4.20% 3.80%
    2012 4.20% 2.0%

    2020 BAH Rates by The Numbers

    Areas with 10 Highest BAH Rates*

    1. San Francisco, CA
    2. Santa Clara County, CA
    3. Westchester County, NY
    4. New York City, NY
    5. Oaklan, CA
    6. Long Island, NY
    7. Nantucket, MA
    8. Monterey, CA
    9. Los Angeles, CA
    10. Boston, MA

    Areas with 10 Lowest BAH Rates*

    1. Johnstown, PA
    2. Youngstown, OH
    3. Springfield, MO
    4. Altus AFB, OK
    5. Saint Joseph, MO
    6. Fort Chaffee/Fort Smith, AR
    7. Fort Leonard Wood, MO
    8. Stevens Point, WI
    9. Sault Ste Marie, MI
    10. Anniston/Fort McClelland, AL

    *Average across pay grades. Individual pay grades by area may rank lower or higher.

    BAH Changes Timeline

    FY 2020
    No changes to BAH are currently planned.

    FY 2019
    95 percent of service members’ housing costs are set to be covered, the full 5 percent out-of-pocket rate adjustment begins on Jan. 1, 2019.

    FY 2018
    96 percent of service members’ housing costs are covered.

    FY 2017
    97 percent of service members’ housing costs are covered.

    FY 2016
    The FY 2016 NDAA provided the authority to slow the rate of growth in BAH by 1 percent per year until 5 percent out-of-pocket is reached. Phased in 1.0 percent increments per year over 4 years. 98 percent of service members’ housing costs are covered. 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 2015
    Authorized the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates to be set at 99 percent (vs. 100 percent) of the median rental housing costs. 99 percent of service members’ housing costs are covered.

    By 2005
    Housing allowance rates were 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 by leveraging private sector financing, expertise, and innovation to provide necessary housing faster and more efficiently than traditional Military Construction processes would allow.

    Late 1990s
    Defense Department began increasing housing allowance rates to bring them in line with actual rental market housing costs across the country and to reduce members’ out-of-pocket housing costs. Prior to 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.

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    Written by MilitaryBenefits