BAH allowances back on target

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- After the 2006 basic allowance for housing rates were released to the public, Hurlburt Field people received a large, but much needed, increase.

The Department of Defense reviewed the cost of living in the local military area and determined the 2005 BAH allowances weren’t enough to compensate for the growing housing market.

“The BAH rates were 15-20 percent below the housing economy,” said Maj. Lance Whitfill, 16th Comptroller Squadron commander. “With the new BAH rates, out-of-pocket costs for renting in the local area have been eliminated.”
In the past, the BAH rates have been determined by a market analysis provided by the base populous.

The responses were averaged, and the rates were set. However, because the process is laborious and, therefore, wasn’t completed the past couple of years, BAH rates dropped below the average cost of living.

The DOD federally contracted a company to analyze local and nation-wide housing costs.

“The company estimates what it would cost to buy and maintain a home to determine the amount of BAH to distribute to service members,” Major Whitfill said. “The result: BAH should remain steady with the local economy for the most part.”

Although BAH rose for local service members, the basic allowance for sustenance remained unchanged for all service members.

“BAS is a completely different ball game,” Major Whitfill said.

“It isn’t based on the local economy, but on the standard cost of living index or the national average cost of living.”