By Master Sgt. Brian HamiltonOctober 5, 2017
In an effort to control wasteful payroll expenditures, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) issued a memorandum, titled: Recertification of and Supporting Documentation Required for the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Entitlement for Regular Army and Reserve Component Soldiers.
This memorandum requires all Soldiers, regardless of component or status, to provide missing documentation proving they are eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing at with-dependent rates.
As a follow-up to the ASA M&RA's memorandum, the release of an All-Army Activities memo, scheduled for later this calendar year, gives Soldiers 60 days to upload proof of the extra entitlements into their iPERMS file, or risk losing the extra cash. Qualifying documents include marriage and birth certificates, divorce decrees, and child support agreements.
Those who qualify for secondary dependency, such as a Soldier caring for his or her mother or father, should upload their approval letter from either DFAS or their Company level commander.
Dean Hiza, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Army Soldier Records Branch chief, says time is of the essence when providing qualifying documents to their home station HR professionals.
"Right now we are trying to process all of those documents in five days or less," he said. "But, if there were to be a sudden uptick in the number of Soldiers submitting documents it could take longer. The point is Soldiers shouldn't wait until the last minute."
"It's important for HR professionals to remember to put the Soldier's Social Security number on all supporting documents and type 'AUDIT' in the container field when uploading to iPERMS," he said. "This lets us know that these are BAH supporting documents and we will try to process those more quickly."
In addition, Soldiers will now have to recertify their BAH annually by completing a new DA Form 5960. The recertification process should take place during the Soldier's annual records review. Company level commanders can certify the DA Form 5960.
Soldiers who have a life changing event such as a marriage, divorce, or birth or adoption of a child, should also provide the proper documentation to their HR professionals immediately.
Hiza says those Soldiers who are currently deployed are exempt from the immediate 60-day requirement but will need to comply upon returning from post-deployment leave.
"If at the end of the 60-day grace period, Soldiers do not have the proper documentation loaded (into iPERMS), then their BAH rates will be reduced to the without-dependent rate until such time they provide the necessary documentation," Hiza said.