By Emily Brainard, Army Flier StaffJanuary 7, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- This year's Basic Allowance for Housing rates have been released, and local officials said many Fort Rucker Soldiers will see increases in their benefits.
Soldiers may obtain new BAH rates at the Department of Defense Per Diem, Travel and Transportation and Allowance Committee Web site, www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/bah.html,
according to Defense Military Pay Office Director Vanessa Gatlin.
If 2010 allotments are lower than last year, individuals continue to receive the higher amounts so long as servicemembers maintain their current eligibility statuses.
Three exceptions can change eligibility status, according to information listed on the Defense Department's Web site. BAH may decrease when Soldiers make permanent changes of station to areas with lower housing costs, experience changes in dependency status, such as divorces, or are demoted.
BAH also realigns for Soldiers changing to locations averaging higher expenses, causing increased allowances. Family member additions can also result in higher BAH and Soldiers must inform DMPO staff members of such changes, Gatlin noted.
"Soldiers are reminded of the necessity to submit documentation to update their BAH any time there is a change in status (such as) marriage, divorce, birth of a child," Gatlin said. "This not only aids DMPO in keeping accurate pay records, but also decreases the possibility of huge debts caused by the overpayment of BAH."
While those living off post are paid their housing allowances, Soldiers residing on post don't usually receive their BAH funds. Typically, allotments are automatically withdrawn from servicemembers' leave and earnings statements and are detailed in the bi-monthly paychecks, said Picerne Military Housing Communications Manager Amanda Filipowski.
Soldiers' entire BAH is deducted for on-post living, including any increases, by the Military Assistance Company, an Army contractor, she explained. The allowance acts as Soldiers' rent and includes payments for housing, utilities, lawn care, pest control and other community services.
National Guard members are the exception, Residential Communities Initiative Program Manager Van Danford said. These Soldiers receive BAH in their LESs, and must pay it in full to MAC themselves.
For more information on BAH changes, call Gatlin at 255-3900 or visit the DoD travel site.