Military members are often frustrated when they arrive at a base only to find that there are no government quarters available. Finding themselves in a new and unfamiliar city, they are forced to google apartment after apartment, all the while occupying a hotel room and eating out for meals. Fortunately, there are allowances that the military offers that can ease the burden of looking for temporary lodging. These allowances can be used for package deals on housing, such as corporate housing, that can create move-in ready homes for military members at a moment’s notice. These homes include kitchens, as well as pots and pans, dishes, and housewares, which minimize the impact of moving over and over again. Once you understand the allowances and how they are paid, a world of options opens up to you in regards to better off-base housing.
What is the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)?
The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is nontaxable money paid on a monthly basis to members of the military who do not occupy government quarters. If government quarters are not available, members will receive the housing allowance. BAH is determined by location, pay grade, and if the member has dependents or not. It is based on rental and utility data that has been systematically gathered across the 50 United States. Using a BAH to pay for corporate housing is ideal, because BAH typically folds utility and rental costs into the monthly payment.
“How much is the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)?”
The Basic Allowance for Housing varies by pay grade, geography, and if the member has dependents or not. Rates are released each year between December 15 and January 1. Congress has passed a law that honors individual rate protection for housing the military, so depending on the time of year that you move into housing you may be eligible for the previous year’s rates.
“Where do you find the best housing near base?”
A common complaint for those relocating to a new base is finding suitable housing in a good neighborhood. Many members of the military who do not occupy government quarters are forced to search online for housing, and few have time to search thoroughly for the best neighborhood for them. Furthermore, online photos can be deceiving and choosing a home without anyone having seen it first can be disastrous. It’s better to have a corporate housing company already familiar with the area to find suitable housing for you.
“What do you do if you are relocated suddenly?”
For those members of the military who find they need to move into new housing at a moment’s notice, corporate housing is an ideal solution. Corporate housing is an all-inclusive package that comes with not only your apartment and utilities, but also furniture, housewares, and linens. All you need is your suitcase and your personal items. Many members of the military have found that they were able to use their Basic Housing Allowance for corporate housing, which saves them money which would otherwise go to moving furniture across the country, or purchasing all-new housewares upon arrival.
“What is the Temporary Lodging Allowance?”
The Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) partially reimburses members of the military for above-normal expenses related to housing, and for meal expenses in cases where housing does not include a kitchen. If a member is waiting for government quarters on a short-term basis, the TLA will cover their furnished apartment rather that the BHA. Both allowances can be used for corporate housing. The TLA also covers meal expenses, but if corporate housing is used for temporary military lodging, it may not be necessary to allocate the allowance for meals. All corporate housing units come with a kitchen, which gives the member complete control over any dietary requirements they may be asked to maintain as part of their service, or any dietary restrictions they themselves may have as a person.
Finding military housing when government quarters are not available can lead to hours of aimlessly searching the internet for the “right” home. Oftentimes photos can be misleading, and a military member is forced to occupy an apartment that isn’t what they had been promised by the real estate broker. Furthermore, setting up utilities such as cable and WiFi can be incredibly time-consuming and frustrating. Utility rates and “deals” can often be confusing and even misleading, which adds to the frustration of moving. Fortunately, your corporate housing representative is able to do this for you. Using a furnished apartment when government quarters are not available frees you up to spend more time with your friends and family when off-duty, and to explore the new city and region that you have relocated to.