Military Family Basic Needs Allowance

Updated: October 25, 2022

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    The Department of Defense approved a new basic needs allowance (BNA) for military service members below a certain income threshold, according to a Sept. 22, 2022 memorandum from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.   

    In the memo, Austin instructed DOD to provide the basic needs allowance beginning Jan. 1, 2023, along with an immediate BAH increase for service members living in highly inflated housing markets.

    Who Receives a Basic Needs Allowance?

    The BNA is a taxable allowance designed to bolster some active-duty military members’ gross household income to 130% of the federal poverty level, according to DOD.

    Service members qualify for this allowance if their total household income – including their spouse’s – is less than 130% of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guideline.

    How Much Is the Basic Needs Allowance? 

    BNA is an income-based allowance, so there’s no single answer to this. A service member whose family earns $3,000 less than 130% of the HHS poverty threshold will receive a $3,000 BNA. A service member making $200 less will receive $200.

    Keep in mind, different HHS poverty thresholds apply for the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii.

    While HHS poverty guidelines for 2023 are not yet available, 2022 guidelines may offer some idea of next year’s BNA allowance thresholds.

    2022 Basic Needs Allowance Charts

    Federal Poverty Thresholds for the Continental United States

    Household SizeFederal Poverty Threshold130% of Federal Poverty Threshold
    One Person$13,590$17,667
    Two People$18,310$23,803
    Three People$23,030$29,939
    Four People$27,750$36,075
    Five People$32,470$42,211
    Six People$37,190$48,347
    Seven People$41,910$54,483
    Eight People$46,630$60,619
    Each Additional Person (Over Eight People)$4,720$6,136

    Federal Poverty Thresholds for Hawaii

    Household SizeFederal Poverty Threshold130% of Federal Poverty Threshold
    One Person $15,630 $20,319
    Two People $21,060 $27,378
    Three People $26,490 $34,437
    Four People $31,920 $41,496
    Five People $37,350 $48,555
    Six People $42,780 $55,614
    Seven People $48,210 $62,673
    Eight People $53,640 $69,732
    Each Additional Person (Over Eight People) $5,900 $7,670

    Federal Poverty Thresholds for Alaska

    Household SizeFederal Poverty Threshold130% of Federal Poverty Threshold
    One Person$16,990$22,087
    Two People$22,890$29,757
    Three People$28,790$37,427
    Four People$34,690$45,097
    Five People$40,590$52,767
    Six People$46,490$60,437
    Seven People$52,390$68,107
    Eight People$58,290$75,777
    Each Additional Person (Over Eight People)$5,900$7,670

    Addressing Financial Needs

    “The Department of Defense has a sacred obligation to take care of our Service members
    and families,” Austin said in his memorandum. “Doing so is a national security imperative. Our military families provide the strong foundation for our force, and we owe them our full support.”

    The basic needs allowance program, coupled with DOD-ordered commissary price reductions, will help fill the cracks to eliminate poverty and food insecurity among military members.

    Military pay and allowances like BAH and BAS count against military families’ eligibility for government assistance, including the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), according to the Department of Agriculture’s food and nutrition service.


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    Written by Brittany Crocker

    Brittany Crocker is Veteran.com’s managing editor and serves as the publication’s veteran review board president. She is a veteran with over 11 years of military service and equal time working in civilian journalism and media. Crocker received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and was a 2016-2017 White House Press Correspondents Association scholar. During her early journalism career, Crocker worked to expose organized crime, hate groups and deadly regulatory oversights in the childcare, aviation and tourism industries. Her award-winning columns, narrative features and investigations have spanned multiple coverage areas and influenced life-saving policy changes. Now she’s on a mission to serve her fellow veterans and service members digestible, researched and credible finance and benefit information.

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