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DoD Releases 2020 Military Pay and Compensation Rates

Published Dec. 31, 2019

The Department of Defense has released the 2020 Rates for Basic Allowance for Housing, Basic Allowance for Subsistence, and Basic Pay.  These rates will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.  Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 2.8%, Basic Allowance for Subsistence rates will increase 0.9%, and Basic Pay will increase 3.1% over the entire force.

For Basic Allowance for Subsistence, enlisted members will now receive $372.71 per month (an increase of $3.32) and officers will receive $256.68 per month (an increase of $2.29).  Specific Basic Pay rates are expected to be released via Executive Order shortly.

Balancing the growth in compensation costs, the 2020 Basic Allowance for Housing program continues the member cost-sharing element (out-of-pocket expense).  An estimated $22 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members.  Based on the authority provided in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the cost-sharing element was increased to five percent for 2019.  For 2020, a typical member will continue to absorb five percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade.  The out-of-pocket amounts incorporated in the 2020 Basic Allowance for Housing rates vary by grade and dependency status, and range from $68 to $148 monthly.  This rate computation change balances the growth of certain military pay and benefits in a fair, responsible and sustainable way.  Even with these nominal changes, the overall military pay and benefits package remains robust and healthy.

Housing cost data are collected annually for over 300 military housing areas in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.  An important part of the Basic Allowance for Housing process is the cooperation from the services and local military housing offices in the data collection effort.  Input from local commands is used to determine in what neighborhoods data is collected, and to direct the data collection effort towards adequate apartment complexes and individual housing units.

Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military housing area and are included in the Basic Allowance for Housing computation.  Total housing costs are developed for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area.  Basic Allowance for Housing rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.

An integral part of the Basic Allowance for Housing program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members.  No matter what happens to measured housing costs – including the out-of-pocket adjustment, an individual member who maintains uninterrupted Basic Allowance for Housing eligibility in a given location will not see his/her Basic Allowance for Housing rate decrease.  This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area's housing costs decrease. 

The department is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced, and ready force now and in the future.

For more information on Basic Allowance for Housing, including the 2020 Basic Allowance for Housing rates and 2020 Basic Allowance for Housing rate component breakdown, visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm.  Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the Basic Allowance for Housing calculator at: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.