General Military Questions

BAH Calculator 2021

Use our easy to use BAH Calculator below to calculate your basic allowance for housing for 2021.

The BAH number calculated works for all branches of the US military, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.

Frequently Asked BAH Questions

What exactly is the Basic Allowance For Housing (BAH)?

Pretty self-explanatory from the name.  The BAH is essentially an allowance to help reduce the financial burden for military members moving to different areas.

When you’re in the military, you move around a lot.

Depending on where you’re stationed, this can get expensive.

For example, if you’re stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, the cost of renting an apartment or owning a home can be way more substantial than say Topeka, Kansas.

As a result, the US military makes up the difference by offering a basic allowance for housing.

Using our BAH calculator above, here’s the Basic Allowance for Housing for an E-5 based in Honolulu County, Hawaii:

honolulu hawaii bah calculation

However, contrast that with the BAH for Sedgwick county, Kansas, and you’ll see a huge difference in allowance:

kansas bah

How is the BAH calculated?

4 factors are taken into account when calculating the basic allowance for housing (bah):

  • Marital status:  If you’re married, you will receive a larger BAH payment then if you’re single.
  • Rank: The higher the rank, the larger the BAH payment will be.
  • Dependents: You might not be married, but may have 2 small children at home.  This would qualify you to receive the larger BAH payment.
  • Location: As mentioned above, location is probably the biggest influence of how much you’ll receive.

Related Article: Will The National Guard Pay For College?

What qualifies as a dependent?

A dependent would be a child or children that you have legal, physical custody of.  You cannot claim children as dependents if you do not have legal, physical custody over them.

Additionally, a spouse would qualify as a dependent.  Keep in mind that you are not qualified to receive the BAH with dependents rate if you’re living in an assigned government housing.

What does not affect BAH calculations?

There are several factors that, regardless of the variables, will not change how much you receive.

Those include:

  • Number of dependents:  You could have 1 child or 10.  You will receive the same BAH payment regardless of how many dependents you have.
  • Your actual rent payment:  You will not receive a larger BAH payment just because you decided to rent a $4,000 a month condo on the beach. On the flip side, if you end up renting a really cheap apartment in a seedy side of town, you’ll also not get less of a BAH payment.
  • Number of years served: It doesn’t matter if you have served for 2 years, or 12 years.  The length of time you’re in whatever branch of the military you’re in will not affect BAH payments.
  • The size of the unit you’re serving in.

Am I eligible for BAH if I’m serving in the National Guard or Reserves?

Yes.  If you’re currently serving in the National Guard or Reserves and are called upon for active duty, you will be eligible for BAH payments.

The rationale behind this is, even if you’re being housed on a military base, you still have civilian obligations back home.

For example, those obligations may include rent or a mortgage.

Is my BAH payment taxed?

You’ll be glad to know that the IRS does not take a huge chunk of money out of your Basic Allowance For Housing.

In other words, it is totally 100% tax-free.

Related ArticleMilitary Child Care: 8 Great Options

How often will I receive my payments?

The US military calculates BAH payments monthly, but you’ll receive it in two payments bi-weekly. For a simplified example, say your BAH is $1,000.00 for the month. You’ll receive $500.00 on the 1st and $500.00 on the 15th. 

If you have any other questions regarding the Basic Allowance for Housing calculator, be sure to leave a comment below.

What states / locations have the highest BAH?

The highest BAH rates in the country would be the following 5 cities / states: New York City, NY, San Francisco, CA, Honolulu, HI, Boston, MA, and Washington, D.C..

How long does Basic Allowance For Housing last?

As long as you’re actively serving in the military, and are not living on base or stationed on a ship, you will continue to receive BAH payments.


Rob V.
BAH Calculator

BAH Calculator

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Use our handy BAH calculator to determine how much Basic Allowance for Housing payment you'll receive.
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